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Travelling overseas can involve jumping through a complex set of hoops, all dependent on your personal circumstances. 

The charity, Unlock*, has very comprehensive guides to travelling abroad on their website. We are therefore only going to touch on the main points below.

How travel might be affected

There is no link to your criminal record from your passport.  However, travel abroad is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act so you will need to disclose a conviction whether it is spent or unspent

Your responsibilities

If you are subject to conditions as a part of your sentence, often referred to as ‘on licence’ or ‘on parole’, it is likely that you will have to get permission to travel outside of the UK. 

If you are on the Sex Offenders Register, you will be required to notify the police of your intention to travel abroad. 

If the travel requires a visa, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are compliant with any international laws relating to travel within the destination country. 

How to navigate planning a holiday

The main factor to consider when travelling abroad is likely to be whether or not you require a visa to enter the destination country. 

Unlock* provides comprehensive guides to all popular holiday destinations.  Also, among their wide collection of personal stories, are examples of people’s experiences of applying for visas. 

A table with examples of appropriate language use

*Unlock is a charity based in England and Wales. Although much of the information on their website is applicable UK wide, some does not apply to Scotland.

They also provide a free helpline. However, if you do contact their helpline, it is important that you tell them that you live in Scotland, because many of the laws are different.

A table showing the notification periods for the various sentence types. Prison sentence of 30 months or more (including life), Indefinite. Order for lifelong restriction, Indefinite. Admission to a hospital subject to a restriction order, Indefinite. Prison sentence of more than 6 months but less than 30 months, 10 years. Prison sentence of 6 months or less, 7 years. Admission to a hospital without a restriction order, 7 years. Community payback order with an offender supervision requirement, The length of the offender supervision requirement. Any other sentence (e.g. a fine or admonition), 5 years.
Last updated:
February 24, 2024
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