If you’re a registered sex offender, you should know your state laws regarding your status very well. However, during the summer you may be traveling or on vacation. If you plan to travel out of state, make sure you’re not breaking any state laws by either leaving your current state or staying a few days in another.
If you plan to travel, make sure your registration date is not coming up. In Tennessee, sex offenders are required to register every year. Nonviolent sex offenders typically report 7 days before or after their birthday. If you plan to travel for your birthday, make sure you register before you go.
Violent sex offenders must report quarterly, meaning they have to watch the calendar more carefully. Usually, violent sex offenders must report in March, June, September, and December. If you were registered as a violent sex offender, make sure you register on time before leaving on a trip. Failing to register could lead to conviction for a Class E felony, which could result in 1–6 years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000.
Depending on your status, you might need to inform your registration office before leaving the state, even if you’re just going on vacation. Contact the office before making plans in order to verify the extent of the information they’ll need from you. Those on parole or probation may not be able to leave the state at all, so check with your parole or probation officer before committing to any travel.
If the law permits you to travel, decide which state (or states) you’d like to visit. Each state is different in how it handles visiting sex offenders. Some states, such as Wisconsin, don’t require appeals to visit. Other states require notification that you are visiting before you head out. States like Nebraska need you to register if you plan on staying longer than 5 days, while Michigan requires registration after 10 days. Since there are no federal guidelines for sex offender travel, check individual state laws.
Traveling internationally is a bit trickier, but it is possible. Sex offenders are not banned from international travel, but individual countries bar the entry of particular foreign criminal offenders. For example, Canada doesn’t allow people convicted of any felony from entering the country. Additionally, Congress passed H.R. 4573, or the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking. This law requires that foreign governments be notified when a U.S. citizen convicted of sexual offenses involving a minor plans to travel to their country. Any person whose sex crime history involved children is required to have a marker on their passport identifying them as a sex offender. Look online for the travel policies of the countries you wish to visit before making your plans. Research as much as you can, because if the country denies you entry, you’ll have to turn around and go back home.