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Traveling as a Registered Sex Offender

   
This Page was Last Updated on April 25, 2017 

April 24, 2017:
Child Safety at Sea: Freed and Stuart Talk Cruise Policies to Protect Kids, April 24, 2017
http://www.travelagentcentral.com/cruises/child-safety-at-sea-freed-and-stuart-talk-about-policies-to-protect-kids
Royal Caribbean initiates a process 30 days prior to sailing to help assure no registered sex offenders sail on the line

September 23, 2016:
US and Slovakia agree to share sex offender information

Judge dismisses lawsuit over sex offender passport marker

September 2, 2016:
Federal Registrar: State Department Final Action, IML

State Dept. restricts passports for sex offenders

July 27, 2016:
Sex Offenders Fight Passport 'Scarlet Letter'

July 26, 2016:
SMART Office: STATUTE IN REVIEW - International Megan’s Law - Public Law 114-119

(Jump to page 6) SMART Office: International Megan’s Law & International Travel Process & Notification

 

A little-known 2013 Federal Policy:
Border patrol agents have sweeping powers to search a person (including all their electronic devices) -- even without "reasonable suspicion" of any crime.   http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/21/media/wall-street-journal-reporter-phone-feds/index.html
 
June 25, 2016:
What Countries are Turning Away Registered Sex Offenders at Their Airports /Points of Entry? See RTAG’s International Travel Matrix for RSO’s  
 
On February 1, 2016………… the U.S. Congress passed HR515 AKA- International Megan’s Law to mark RSO’s Passports with “Sex Offender” and to guarantee they'll being denied entry into most countries no matter if they are traveling for work, school, vacation or a family funeral and as expected on February 8, 2016 President Obama signed it into law. 

ICE authorized to create Angel Watch Center to expand child protection efforts following passage of International Megan’s Law, February 9, 2016
Operation Angel Watch was created to stop the spread of child sex tourism

Obama Just Signed a Really Bad Criminal Justice Law, February 9, 2016
Is this really the best Congress can do?

Sex Offenders Fight Passport 'Scarlet Letter', February 9, 2016

Civil Rights Group Challenges New Law Requiring Marking on Sex Offender Passports, February 9, 2016

Obama Could Still Stop 'Megan's Law' From Making Sex Offenders Get Special Passports, February 2, 2016
For the first time in U.S. history, some citizens may be singled out for scarlet letters on their passports.

Congress Acts to Mark Passports of Sex Offenders, February 2, 2016
Target of legislation is sex-traffickers; critics call it a ‘scarlet letter.’

Bill Would Make It Harder for Sex Offenders to Travel Abroad, February 1, 2016

International Megan's Law heads to Obama's desk, February 1, 2016

Congressman Chris Smith’s International Megan’s Law bill will finally reach Obama’s desk, February 1, 2016
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Whether it’s traveling for school, work, family or fun, travel restriction inquires for Registered Sex Offenders is still the #1 inquiry that I have encountered over the 8 years of being a volunteer advocate for RSO’s and their family members.

The most popular post for this blog is August 17, 2013, What Are The Laws Restricting Registered Sex Offenders From Traveling Across the U.S. or Internationally?

So I created this page. 
 
Everything below applies to Virginia RSO’s who are NOT under VA-DOC or Federal Probation supervision.
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            -Mary D. Devoy
 
I- Domestic Travel for Virginia Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) 
 
In Virginia as an RSO you can vacation or stay the night other than at your registered address (with a parent, a grand-parent, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a sibling, a friend, at a vacation rental, at a motel, in a tent at a campground, etc) for up to 14 days in a calendar year. On the 15th day you must register that address with the Virginia State Police. If you are homeless then you must register your location on the 3rd day with the Virginia State Police. 
 
In Virginia as an RSO you can visit/camp at all State Parks. If you are homeless then you must register your location on the 3rd day with the Virginia State Police. 
 
In Virginia as an RSO you can visit/camp at all Federal/National Parks. 


As a Virginia RSO if you travel to one of the other 49 States it is up to you to know what that States legal requirements are otherwise you could be facing a felony. Some States are across-the-board and others are by City and County. In some States you could have 3, 5, 9 or 10 days before you must register the location you are staying at and in some locales it could be within the first 24 hours. In Las Vegas, NV you must register and give a DNA sample with 24 hours of arriving. 
Yes, I said you might need to register in another State depending on how long you are in it. Each State’s Public Registry posts a variety of information including ALL your phone numbers, e-mail addresses, instant message identifications, vehicle and license plate information, tattoo and scar descriptions and photos AND in Texas your shoe size (yes, shoe size). And in some State like Florida after you go back to your home State they do NOT remove your post on their Registry, it remains up even though you are no longer staying in the motel you registered. 
 
Just because you are not a resident doesn’t mean you are legally obligated to follow their laws as an out-of-state RSO.  
 
In many states there are restrictions that you can not attend, State Fairs, Carnivals, Amusement Parks, Water Parks, Public Pools, City Parks, State Parks, National Parks, Zoos, Beaches/Lakes, Movie Theaters (yes, I said movie theaters), Museums, Arcades, Toy Stores and Toy Departments, Gyms and Fitness Centers, Bowling Alleys, Ski Resorts, Golf Courses and the list could go on and on and on all depending on the State, City and County. 
 
In some states the playground ban also includes fast-food establishments and shopping malls that have a slide, a ball pit and a Jungle-Jim. So no McDonalds, Burger King or Wendy’s and no Macy’s, Pottery Barn or DSW if there are play areas on the property. 
 
Finally will a VSP certified re-registration letter be delivered or be due while you are away? Is your 2-year photograph coming due while you’re traveling? If the answer to any of these question is ‘yes’, you need to take care of that ahead of time.
 
II-International Travel for Virginia Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) 
 
Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) guidelines require that a registered sex offender (RSO) inform his or her residence jurisdiction of any intended travel outside of the United States at least 21 days prior to that travel.  Additionally, information about such intended travel is specifically required to be transmitted to the U.S. Marshals Service National Sex Offender Targeting Center (USMS-NSOTC). 
 
The law enforcement agency or probation and parole district office in the appropriate jurisdiction must collect the information listed on the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART Office) website  http://www.smart.gov/international_travel.htm 
 
The law enforcement agencies and probation and parole district offices within the jurisdictions are encouraged to make this notification to the USMS-NSOTC by way of the "Notification of International Travel Form" on the SORNA Exchange Portal (must be an approved user by the SMART Office), which is available, free of charge to all registration jurisdictions.  Another option for law enforcement and probation and parole is to directly submit the "Notification of International Travel Form" to the USMS-NSOTC at IOD.NSOTC@usdoj.gov, with a subject line of "Sex Offender Travel Notification."  A PDF version of the form that the registration jurisdiction will submit can be viewed on the following website: http://www.interstatecompact.org/Portals/0/library/misc/USMS_InternationalTravelForm.pdf 
 
Questions about this notification process may be directed to the USMS-NSOTC at (202) 616-1600. Once a notification is made, USMS-NSOTC will provide the information to INTERPOL Washington, who will communicate the information to law enforcement partners at the intended foreign destinations of travel.
 
As a Virginia RSO I suggest this is how you minimally handle International Travel- Mary
  1. Fill out the form (link above) make copies.
  2. Deliver one copy to the local VSP Barracks BEFORE the 21 Day deadline, note what date and time you submitted the paperwork and the name of the employee who took it.
  3. If it was NOT your VSP Trooper or Compliance Officer that received your form email a copy of that form to your VSP contact and let them know when and with whom you submitted the form and what your travel plans are including how long you will be gone.
  4. Will a VSP certified re-registration letter be delivered or be due while you are away? Is your 2-year photograph coming due while you’re traveling? If the answer to any of these question is ‘yes’, you need to take care of that ahead of time.
 
As an RSO traveling internationally the following groups will know about your travel plans, itinerary and traveling companions:
  1. U.S. Marshals Service's Criminal Intelligence Branch and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's (NCMEC) Sex Offender Tracking Team
  2. National Sex Offender Targeting Center (NSOTC)
  3. NSOTC, DSS, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) and INTERPOL "Angel Watch" program a notification system of U.S. Sex Offender travel
 
You could be questioned more extensively than other travelers, including every location you plan on staying and visiting and every person you plan on having contact with while in that country. It doesn’t matter your conviction might have been a misdemeanor and not a felony, it doesn’t matter that you’re classified as Non-Violent and not Violent. It doesn’t matter if your conviction was against an adult and not a minor. In states where the lower risk, misdemeanor and juvenile offenders are NOT posted online they too will encounter these issues when traveling abroad. 
 
Your possessions and electronic devices could be searched more extensively than other travelers or even seized.  
 
Your traveling companions could also be subjected to heightened scrutiny because of your status as an RSO. 
 
All of this could take extra time and could delay you making connecting flights, so pad your layover time. 
 
Finally any country you are entering could deny your entrance and turn you away no matter what your reason for visiting is: personal, business, recreation, family crisis. 
 
III-Federal or State Emergency/Disaster for Virginia Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) 
 
The USMS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)  have a program identifying and locating Sex Offenders displaced as a result of a major disaster.  
 
In Virginia if a disaster has been declared and the dedicated Emergency Shelters are on school property,  RSO’s are permitted to use the shelter, see August 11, 2014 post 
 
At the bottom of this page is a list of news articles on RSO’s who’ve encountered travel issues. 
 
I hope you are able to enjoy your time off and your travels.
 
Mary Devoy
 
In the News-Articles 
August 11, 2015Many sex offenders denied entry into Mexico. But others live here.
May 3, 2015 – “Catching American Sex Offenders Overseas: A proposal for a federal international mandated reporting law” http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2015/05/catching-american-sex-offenders-overseas-a-proposal-for-a-federal-international-mandated-reporting-l.html
January 5, 2015- CBSA [Canada] Stop More than 150 US Sex Offenders from Entering their Country http://goo.gl/TnKyae 
October 2014- Over at California RSOL someone posted the change in their business and vacation travel as of July 2014 due to ICE and Interpol notifications to China and Thailand, http://goo.gl/tjJr9D 
October 20, 2014- Australia: Should sex offenders be allowed to fly? http://goo.gl/qgKPfj 
September 19, 2014-  V.I. [Virgin Islands] sex offender registry council in danger of fines, lawsuits, suspension for understaffing, http://goo.gl/X1VU3c 
June 5, 2014- Immigration bureau: Registered sex offenders barred from entering PHL
Foreigners who are registered sex offenders in their home countries will be denied entry to the Philippines as they are deemed a threat to public safety, the Bureau of Immigration said Thursday
On the other hand, registered sex offenders who managed to enter the Philippines will be "ordered to leave within 15 days," and their names will be included on the Immigration blacklist.
April 7, 2014- Former Syracuse ER doc won't be registered sex offender after judge questions Asian child sex conviction
Federal law governing sex offender registries nationwide states that a foreign conviction is not a sex offense if it was not obtained with safeguards for fundamental fairness and due process.
April 4, 2014- DHS Official: US Not ‘Routinely’ Notified When Sex Offenders Enter the Country
A Homeland Security Department official testified Friday before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security that U.S. authorities are not “routinely” notified when foreign sex offenders enter the United States.
The hearing was called to examine the issue of passport security in light of the recent revelation that two Iranians boarded missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 using stolen passports.
Sex Offender Laws Expanding Internationally
Sex offender registries have thus far been adopted in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Japan, Ireland, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom. The European Union, New Zealand, and Singapore have also been reported as having expressed interest in adopting registries, but have yet to do so. One scholar observed that in comparison to U.S. practices, many of these registries are far smaller, target fewer types of sex crimes, and are less burdensome on registrants. Community notification, in turn, is much less common outside of the United States, having only been adopted in a manner approaching U.S. practices by six provinces in Canada and the Republic of Korea.
Not all foreign sex offender laws are applied retroactively. Although not as extreme as the nearly-perpetual retroactive applicability adopted by the United States with the Adam Walsh Act, sex offender laws in Canada and the United Kingdom are somewhat retrospective (ranging back to 2001 and 1997, respectively, while also covering all sex offenders that were under some form of correctional supervision when the registries were adopted).
Australia's and Ireland's schemes apply retroactively only to sex offenders who were still under some form of correctional supervision at the time their respective registration laws went into effect. Kenya's law is too vague to determine whether it applies retroactively. Additionally, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, and the United Kingdom require reporting of international travel (although the requirement is not often expressly phrased as such). However, none expressly provide for information sharing with other nations. An interesting development in the United Kingdom is that magistrate judges have the power to issue foreign travel orders to prevent sex offenders (even non-citizens) from traveling outside of the United Kingdom, "for the purpose of protecting children generally or any child from serious sexual harm from the defendant outside the United Kingdom."
November 12, 2013- Traveling painter convicted of sex offender violation
September 16, 2013- Draft law banning pedophiles from entering Russia submitted to Duma
http://rapsinews.com/legislation_news/20130916/268842585.html
 
September 16, 2013- Sex Offenders Will Need To Notify Before Leaving Canada
September 6, 2013- Child molester in Macomb County stopped from leaving country
Reese was formally charged Friday in 46th District Court in Southfield with failure to provide the registry of his plan to leave the country at least 21 days prior to departure and failure to provide a copy of his passport. The felonies are punishable by up to four years in prison.
March 5, 2012- Sex offenders forced to ask permission to go on foreign holiday
Sex offenders will have to ask permission to go on a foreign holiday and tell police if they are living with a child, under new plans.
July 13, 2010- Should Sex Offenders Have The Right To Travel?