I am a Mexican national. I served a 3 year sentence in jail in USA and was then deported to Mexico (drug offense) 2016-2018 (2 years 8 months).

I currently traveled to the Dominican Republic. In transit through Panama they told me I cannot have a layover there again because of my criminal record and their policy on not allowing felons through there. They gave me a courtesy one time at their discretion permission to board the plane heading to the Dominican Republic but not to return through Panama sgain.

I am now traveling via Colombia (to get back to Mexico City) to avoid a Panama layover.

I plan to go to Greece in mid June since it’s one of the few European countries open for travel. Some help or insight on whether I will run into trouble at port of entry.

I’m very excited for this trip but would like to know if they ask about past convictions, does my passport have a flag because of my past criminal history?

It’s a bummer some countries will still punish a felon after serving his full time for mistakes.

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    It is unfortunately close to impossible to answer your question, because there are no fixed set of rules in this situation and much will eventually depend on the subjective assesment of the immigration officer handling your case. Chances are high that you will pass through Greek immigration without anyone being aware of your criminal record, but if something triggers a more thorough immigration check, Greek police will have means to find out about your sentence. If they do, it is at least not unlikely that a recent drug related offence is considered serious enough to deny entry. Commented May 19, 2021 at 13:17
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo it should be possible to answer - there are probably thousands of people with a US criminal record traveling to Europe every year. If some of them report zero issues at the border it would be a strong datapoint towards it being a no big deal.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 19:44
  • @JonathanReez As I already wrote: Chances are high, that noone will notice. Not only some, but most persons with a US criminal record who are travelling to Europe will therefore face no issues at the border, not because the criminal record itself is of no issue, but because the country the person is landing in will have no online and immediate exchange with the US of criminal records and therefore not be aware of it. And then again, if the criminal past for some reason should be uncovered, the outcome will depend in an individual assesment of this particular case. Commented May 21, 2021 at 11:09
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    I'm wondering, how did Panama know you had a criminal record in the US? Did you fill a landing card that had a related question? Did they ask the question? Did your transit involve getting through passport control (landslide transit)?
    – jcaron
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 11:24
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    @AussieJoe note that the site you linked to is not an official site.
    – jcaron
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


AFAIK, countries don't maintain criminal records internationally with the exception for high prolific individuals who are on Interpol's watchlist.

Criminal records are generally shared in intranational regions (i.e. US/Canada/Mexico, Australia/NZ, EU member states).

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    This doesn't address the OP's question on whether Greek authorities ask foreigners about criminal history and/or what their policy is if a record is discovered. Presumably the OP intends to be honest but not disclose information nor asked. Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 16:57

In Europe, Rehabilitation (penology) - Wikipedia is the primary goal of the penal policy.

In general, once the sentence has been served, you are again considered a member of society (i.e. you are not considered a criminal until the Kingdom comes).

The general criteria is whether the foreigner 'endangers public safety' or not.

Short term stays will be treated differently than long term stays (residence).

In German law §54 Interest in expulsion - AufthG, will give you an idea what is understood under the general term 'endangers public safety'. Assume this will differ slightly depending on the jurasdiction.

For short term stays, in your case a visa free entry, a border guard may see what is on record and make a determination if you are presently considered a person that 'endangers public safety'.

Just because this may have been the case in the past, does not necessarily mean that it is presently.

The overall circumstances will be the base on any final decision.

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    Based on the penalty, the OP's does sound like a pretty serious crime that's also quite recent. It would show up in background checks in most countries, even in Europe. You're right about the general principle obviously but it would be useful to have more insight into how it's applied in practice, what data is available to borger guards, what question would they ask and what's the threshold for a negative decision. I also suspect it's much lower for admission in the country than it is for expulsion, as expulsion means turning someone's life upside down.
    – Relaxed
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 8:28
  • @Relaxed The interesting question would be in how far US entries are entered into the ECRIS system at all. Supposedly only European convictions are entered. If US convictions are entered, are they vetted to insure that only what is considered in Europe as a crime is entered? Are the entries flagged so that a border guards needs to only react to that? It would seem to me unlikly that they would be realisticly capable of dealing of such a matter in a responsible mannor. Commented May 19, 2021 at 9:01
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    @MarkJohnson It is publicly documented what is contained in ECRIS and what not, so there is no point for you to disagree with me here. ECRIS only contains sentences against EU citizens. If a non-EU citizen is sentenced in an EU country, the sentence is not entered into ECRIS. My point is that you, this time again, show an absolute lack of knowledge on the subject you are pretending to give educated advice on. Sentences against non-EU citizens will eventually be recorded in a new register, ECRIS-TCN, which is not yet implemented and operable. Commented May 19, 2021 at 10:45
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    @Rodo16 yes, you're considered a drugs dealer, which is a quite serious crime indeed. Not only because most are violent, but also because it leads to more crime from the addicts they supply and often create.
    – jwenting
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 8:12
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    @jwenting whether Rodo16 may be considered a drug dealer does not determine whether Rodo16 is a threat to public safety. That can only be determined by a case-specific factual analysis of the threat that Rodo16 actually poses, considering the facts behind the conviction, the possibility of rehabilitation, and, ultimately, the likelihood of involvement in illegal activities during the visit.
    – phoog
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 21:15

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