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In this June 9, 2018, file photo, then-President Donald Trump speaks with world leaders during the G7 Leaders Summit in Quebec, Canada. (German Federal Government via AP) In this June 9, 2018, file photo, then-President Donald Trump speaks with world leaders during the G7 Leaders Summit in Quebec, Canada. (German Federal Government via AP)

In this June 9, 2018, file photo, then-President Donald Trump speaks with world leaders during the G7 Leaders Summit in Quebec, Canada. (German Federal Government via AP)

Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone June 4, 2024

Former President Donald Trump’s recent conviction on felony charges raised a host of other questions. 

Can Trump still run for president? Yes, he can. Can he vote in Florida? It’s likely.

But the answer to another question isn’t as clear: How will Trump’s felony conviction affect his ability to travel internationally? Social media users claimed there were dozens of countries that Trump can no longer enter because of his conviction.

Many countries have rules barring people convicted of felonies from entering. However, those rules vary widely and many leave room for exemptions. If Trump is again elected president and visits a country on official business, he would likely be granted entry, but it’s not guaranteed, experts said.

A Manhattan jury on May 30 found Trump guilty of all 34 counts of falsifying business records in a scheme to cover up a hush money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. Trump is scheduled to be sentenced July 11. Judge Juan Merchan has the power to impose travel restrictions at that time, limiting Trump’s travel outside the U.S.  

Countries have discretion about when and how to admit foreigners

Many countries singled out in the social media posts about Trump limit entry for foreigners who have been convicted of felonies. Factors considered in whether to grant entry include the type of crime, when it occurred and the sentence length.

For example, Australia’s visitor travel requirements stipulate that "you must not have any criminal convictions for which the sentences total 12 months or more, whether or not you have served the sentences." Because Trump hasn’t been sentenced, it’s unclear whether whatever sentence he receives would fall into this category. Many legal experts have said they doubt Trump will be sentenced to prison. 

Israel and the United Kingdom also can bar people convicted of felonies from visiting. The U.K. restrictions factor in the sentence length and conviction timing.

It’s unclear whether Trump's felony conviction will affect his ability to travel to Trump International Golf Links in Scotland, which is part of the United Kingdom. When asked about how a potential visit from Trump may be handled, the U.K.'s Home Office said it does not comment on individual cases.

Harold Hongju Koh, a Yale University international law professor, said Trump’s travel to other countries as a former, and potentially future, head of state "would depend on how that country chooses to administer its entry laws."

Even sitting heads of state, he said, don’t have "an affirmative right that entitles" them to enter a country, although Trump would have diplomatic immunity in other countries if he’s reelected.

"China, where President Xi Jinping has broad executive authority, could decide to admit him between now and November as a former U.S. president who also could be a future U.S. president," Koh said. "But that would be based on a discretionary act of the Chinese executive under Chinese law, not on any general rule of international law."

Evelyn Cruz, an Arizona State University law professor who directs the university’s immigration clinic, said all countries have admission rules and it’s possible Trump might need a waiver for any country he seeks to visit.

"Whether he needs to apply ahead or at the entry point will depend on the country’s policies," Cruz said. If Trump were to be reelected in November, "he would be traveling under the head of state diplomatic immunity, and therefore, the countries would let him in."

She noted the U.S. has a similar diplomatic policy and has let in people accused or convicted of war crimes to attend United Nations gatherings.

Diplomatic immunity holds that certain government officials are not subject to jurisdiction of local courts and other authorities for their official duties, a 2018 U.S. State Department guide said. In the U.S., a head of state automatically qualifies for an A1 visa, regardless of the visit’s purpose. 

Similar travel questions arose when former President George W. Bush ran for president in 2000. One news report said he was granted special permission to enter Canada because he acknowledged a 1976 misdemeanor DUI charge, for which he had pleaded guilty and paid a fine. A Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson told PolitiFact the agency doesn’t comment on individual cases.

To examine the travel challenges Trump might face, we also examined how the U.S.’ northern and southern neighbors handle convicted felons entering their countries.

Canada’s rules about admission for people convicted of felonies

Under Canadian law, a visitor with a criminal conviction can be barred from entering the country, a U.S. State Department webpage said.

Mario Bellissimo, a Canadian immigration lawyer, said Trump could be denied entry because of his conviction.

"He is inadmissible to Canada and would be eligible (to apply for a certificate of) rehabilitation five years after the completion of any sentence," Bellissimo said.

For certificates of rehabilitation, an immigration officer decides whether a foreign national poses a risk of reoffending, taking into account factors related to the crime and what the offender has done since to show he or she is not a risk, Bellissimo said.

However, there are exceptions to these procedures, Bellissimo said. Section 24 of  Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act affords immigration officers the leeway to grant a temporary resident permit.

"Someone like a former president or a Republican (presidential) nominee that might be coming here for official duties or official business, that would be a very strong factor that would weigh in his favor for entry to Canada," he said.

Luke Reimer, a Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson, said admission to Canada is decided case by case based on the information available at the time of entry about whether travelers meet entry requirements.

He said several factors determine whether a person can enter, including criminal history.

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act lists multiple reasons a person can be found inadmissible to Canada, including being convicted outside Canada of a crime that would be an indictable offense in Canada. Trump’s conviction on falsifying business records is also a crime in Canada.

Mexico’s rules about admitting people convicted of felonies

Mexican law also allows immigration authorities to deny foreigners entry if they were charged with or convicted of a serious crime in Mexico or elsewhere, the U.S. State Department said on its website

A frequently asked questions page from the Mexican Consulate in Miami about forms visitors to Mexico must fill out notes that a person with a criminal record could be denied entry for serious crimes. 

"There is no way to know about your case before you travel," the page said, recommending that travelers contact authorities in their own country to find out if they have shared information with other countries.

An Embassy of Mexico in Canada webpage about visiting Mexico with a criminal record says people could be denied entry for serious crimes. The crimes listed include "tax fraud and comparable crimes."

PolitiFact Researcher Caryn Baird, Staff Writers Loreben Tuquero, Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu and Sara Swann and Contributing Writer Sofia Ahmed contributed to this report.

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Our Sources

Government of Canada, Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Division 4: Inadmissibility, accessed May 31, 2024

Government of Canada, Criminal Code: Falsification of Books and Documents, accessed May 31, 2024

Government of Canada, Overcome criminal convictions, accessed May 31, 2024

Email interview, Luke Reimer, spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency, May 31 and June 4, 2024

Phone interview, Mario Bellissimo, Canadian immigration lawyer, May 31, 2024

Email interview, Evelyn Cruz, Arizona State law professor and director of the university’s Immigration Clinic, May 31, 2024

U.S. State Department, Mexico International Travel Information, accessed June 3, 2024

U.S. State Department, Canada International Travel Information, accessed June 3, 2024

U.S. State Department, Diplomatic and Consular Immunity: Guidance for Law Enforcement and Judicial Authorities, Aug. 2018

U.S. State Department, Visas for Diplomats and Foreign Government Officials, accessed June 3, 2024

Embassy of Mexico in Canada, Travelling to Mexico with a criminal record, accessed June 3, 2024

Mexico Consulate in Miami, Frequent questions and answers, accessed June 3, 2024

Government of Mexico, Digital Multiple Migration Form (FMMd), accessed May 2, 2023

Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, Electronic Travel Authority, accessed June 3, 2024

Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, Check visa details and conditions, accessed June 3, 2024

Israel Population and Immigration Authority, Reciprocal privileges for US citizens at border control, accessed June 3, 2024

Gov.UK, Immigration Rules Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation, accessed June 3, 2024

Gov.UK, Grounds for refusal: criminality (accessible), accessed June 3, 2024

Seattle Times, Canada can bar door for DUI, Aug. 19, 2002

ABC News, DUI Stops Bush From Freely Entering Canada, Nov. 3, 2000

Brennan Center for Justice, How Could Trump’s New York Hush Money Trial End?, May 14, 2024

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