Practical information

If you’re on licence you will normally need to get permission to travel outside the UK, but this is often given. Otherwise, there’s rarely anything stopping you from travelling abroad and you should be able to travel freely within the EU. Travelling to specific countries like America and Australia will usually require you to apply for a visa due to their specific process.

Taken from our top 10 things to know

Read our latest news posts about travelling abroad


Here you’ll find links to various parts of this site where we have information and useful resources relating to travelling abroad.

I’m looking to travel and have a criminal record. What are the consequences?

A lot will depend on the country you wish to travel to, the nature of your offence and the sentence/disposal you received.

I’m on the Sex Offenders’ Register, will this cause me any problems when travelling abroad?

If you’re on the SOR you will need to notify the police of your intention to leave the UK for any foreign travel. Once you’ve notified the police a ‘Green Notice’ may be issued and ‘flagged’ via your passport. This will alert overseas immigration that you are on the SOR.

Does my passport have a link to my criminal record?

No. Biometric passports include a microchip which stores a digitised image of your photograph as well as your biographical details which are printed in the passport.

Can I travel abroad if I’m on licence or on a community order?

Standard licence conditions usually state that you must not travel outside the UK without the permission of your supervising officer. There are no general exclusions from travelling abroad while serving a community order.

I’m looking to move abroad. How can I provide a formal record of my convictions to overseas immigration?

For people that wish to emigrate to certain countries, you can apply for a police certificate which will give a formal record of your convictions.

I’m worried that my criminal record will stop me travelling to the EU after Brexit

As a result of Brexit, UK citizens will need approval to travel to the EU via the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).

Frequently asked questions

Here you’ll find some specific questions that we regularly get about travelling abroad and the answers we generally provide. More detailed FAQ’s may be included in the information pages above.

This would normally only occur if you travelled without prior notification or in breach of a foreign travel order preventing you from travelling outside the UK – therefore, committing a further offence. In the event you had fulfilled your commitment to notify (and therefore travelled with implied permission) there should be no reason for UK police to disclose your conviction or communicate with foreign law enforcement. There is currently only limited routine sharing of criminal record information across states (based around risk assessments); primarily within the EU.
‘No Trace’ means that you have no convictions, reprimands, final warnings, or cautions held on the Police National Computer.

‘No Live Trace’ means that there is criminal record information held on the Police National Computer but it has been ‘stepped down’. Anyone who sees this, can see that you have a criminal record from your past, even if they can’t see details.

See more about how ‘No Live Trace’ might be used by agencies such as the US Embassy on our information on police certificates.

If the information is held abroad you would have to contact the embassy of the country concerned or that country’s data protection authority.

If your information is held in the UK, you are covered by the Data Protection Act, so you can apply for the information they hold on you from that country’s embassy.

All the time you are out of the UK you are considered to be ‘unlawfully at large’ and your licence will stop.

If you returned to the UK, your licence would start again and you would be liable for recall to prison for the length of time you have left on licence. See our section travelling abroad whilst on licence.

Here you’ll find links to useful organisations and websites related to travelling abroad that we refer to in our information and advice. Contact details for the organisations listed below can be found here.

  • ACRO Criminal Records Office
  • GOV.UK – The GOV.UK site has a comprehensive section on living/travelling abroad. You can check the entry requirements of a particular country to establish whether you’ll need to apply for a visa to travel.

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