Im on probation and want to leave the UK

By Sasha - 31 Jan 12 10:54 AM


Id just like to know what your experiences are (good AND bad) of travelling abroad whilst on license and dealing with probation??

Also does anyone know if information is linked to your that your involved with probation??

By Christopher Stacey - 18 Jun 08 1:26 PM

Sasha - might be worth explaining your situation a bit more, so that others can provide some input.

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By frenchy - 18 Feb 12 7:10 PM

I am currently on probation, and have an 18 month licence which expires in Oct 2013. you have probably read my post on here, but I am trying to get my licence lifted so that I can go back and work in France doing my old job and living with my wife and children. So far I have just been rejected by probation, but have a meeting with them on Thursday regarding this. This morning I have just received a letter from my MP saying that they have passed my request to the Home Secretary, and the PPO have open a case yesterday. If you really believe that you have a case and depending on what you were originally sentenced for, then I would go down this route. I am not holding any hopes up on my case as I dont want to come crashing down, but I hope it is very carefully considered. I have no intention of giving up as I truly am a reformed offender.
I don't know how long you are on licence for, but I would not risk being recalled by just going anyway.
By archie - 19 Apr 11 8:30 AM

hello Sasha

Please do not give up on wanting to travel for work. I myself have submitted to treads on this issue. I have been on license whilst I navigated through the mine field of probation in order to achieve my goal.

I was knocked back several times by job's worth's but I just refused to go away. I was successful in the end, but I must admit that I did have the support of my PO and other folk along the way. However it was by no means easy but it is achievable, keep at it. You must fit into the category of 'exceptional circumstances' your PO will give you the criteria, also recruit a good solicitor who will put your case forward under these rules, he will out line your case and the reasons for this and for that, also consider contacting the minister for justice and sentencing who determines your license conditions etc, and also your local MP who may support your request. The emphasis is on that you are a reformed offender who wishes to contribute to society and support your family etc..

Of course if permission is granted your PO will require that you provide evidence that you have informed your prospective employer that you are on license and that certain conditions must be met i.e PO visits every calendar moth and the nature of your offense? I see from this an automatic problem! Another issue is-is your prospective employer residing in the EU or further away? are they bound within the ROA ? to disclose or not to disclose ?

IanC has an interesting take on disclosure, I find him a sensible soul and absolutely invaluable, I have followed his advice and thoughts often, I do not want to be a victim of what I did I need to move on, life can be difficult enough so I do what I feel is best for me, I would rather be employed than not. From my experience and information your passport chip only contains information that you submitted on your passport application, I have traveled often and far since I was allowed to travel, and I have never had a problem, I have filled in visa forms by the bucketful without problems and I have even been searched for as a matter of course for a visa application by Interpol without any issues. However, I think being granted permission to travle is dependent upon your offence and persistence, I myself are a low key offender or was classed as by my PO, I have traveled the world for over 7 months without issue (not USA) I have had meetings with my PO via, skype and telephone and e-mail. I am now free from license 2 weeks.

Please don't travel without authority, I know it is tempting (will they catch you- will they know etc) it is up to you but if you get caught ?? back you go to the big house immediately. You must not be treat with a blanket ban, you are an individual and must request that you be dealt as such.

Good luck

Archie :-)
By archie - 19 Apr 11 8:30 AM

an apology for the spelling mistakes , my key board is a bit stiff (like me )

Archie rolleyes
By @DisgracedBanker - 9 Feb 12 10:13 PM


Does it not leave you having to continually explain when you return to the UK Border Desk why someone on probation is allowed to travel overseas ?
By archie - 19 Apr 11 8:30 AM

No it doesn't I have never had a question asked of me regarding border control despite being on parole and license etc. I have been a bit nervous at times I must say especially going through Heathrow they are not a friendly airport and our UK border control always give you the eye so to speak, but I put that down to the fact that they are aggressive and un helpful at the best of times.

I expect it all depends upon your conviction? and if you are on a 'list' of some sort such as SOR? but no I have had no issues in my travels and I go through several border checks as I move around. I also know that there is nothing in my passport either held on file. I am now off license which is better yet I traveled for 7 months whilst on license and probation quite freely. So please don't worry about this stuff, just concentrate on getting permission to travel it can be done obviously but it is difficult but never give up. I am a reformed offender, I pose no risk to any person, and I want to work and to provide for my family. I travel for work in order to do this.


By @DisgracedBanker - 9 Feb 12 10:13 PM

Fair play to you Archie,

It shows perservering pays off in the end. I guess its like prison, where the screws don't always know the rules and what is allowed, such that they just say no, very often. It is up to us then to prove otherwise. I have just begun the process of applying for permission. I've discussed it with the PO, she was unaware that such accomodation existed and gave me the blanket ban discussion, I made her aware of the Probation Circular and have now written to the Senior PO in my area. The hardest bit I find pinning down is getting some kind of indication from the probation service, what they deem to be 'exceptional' and how I can show that I would fall in that category.

As for lists, I don't know that I would be. Only a list of individuals on probation that the Border Agents would get - if they do. I am categorised as a low risk, non mappa, non sor, financial offences. Short sentence etc.

By archie - 19 Apr 11 8:30 AM

Hi Banker

I would expect that you are not on any list at all. Just go for it and don't take no for an answer, I found it difficult to be honest but they just got my bile up most of the time and I just went for it full steam. I got my local MP involved, and he wrote to the minister of justice for sentencing and license conditions. He in turn wrote to my head of probation. I had a solicitor involved who was quite good and he submitted the reasons as to why I should be allowed to work and travel abroad in as legal aspect. I must say it did all fall deaf ears but I appealed and the head of probation reviewed the case after a jobs worth declined me. There is a bit on this in the section working and travel have a look.

However, the head of the probation allowed me to travel and work abroad but set some harsh conditions for me to achieve it. As undeterred as I was I just bashed at it again and met them. I choose to be my own man and I refuse to be beaten down by these job's worth's. All I can say is just keep at it and get as much help as you can, I even got my GP to help me by wording a letter of how beneficial it would be for me to start again etc. The more ammunition you throw at them the more they crumble. The crux is that you have to meet the criteria set before before you, Just ensure that you do, dot the I's and cross the T's as it were. It is helpful if you have a good relationship with your PO. I also enlisted the help of the SOVA the organisation that the probation use to get 'you/us' back into employment- i.e. sustainable employment. I must sat that they were superb very helpful.

Don't allow yourself to be blanket covered, the rules don't apply to all and you have to be treat as an individual, each case in its own merits and you have to enforce this any way that you can. Look carefully at your circumstances and if you can work in this country or that the PS can find you employment then you may have a hard time, speak to the employment service at your Probation office when you go, explain your case to them and see what they come up with. Are you looking for work in the same profession? or something different all together? Is it that you are just wanting to travel for leisure? A lot depends upon your answers to this really.

The criteria is quite explicit for exceptional circumstances just ensure that you meet them, if you do then they can't really ignore the fact, and I met the criteria and so there is a precedent I suppose and therefore they can't say that it does not happen because it most certainly does-I am living proof.

Keep at it and good luck.

Archie :-)
By release2succeed - 12 Oct 11 5:07 AM

Hi Archie

It does seem ridiculous that you and others even have to worry about such things. I find it somehow pointless that the authorities are so concerned with ex-offenders international travel unless their original offences had some kind of international dimension (i.e. smuggling, crimes abroad, etc). It is simple because it is administratively possible and has the appearance of efficiency, if not the reality, that they bother at all.

I mean, what relevance is the travel arrangements of someone convicted previously of burglary or car theft?

Seems like a waste of everyone's time and effort but then irrational bureaucracy is nothing new to anyone on this forum.

Let's hope some common sense gets applied in the future

By @DisgracedBanker - 9 Feb 12 10:13 PM


do you have the explicit exceptional circumstances statement at hand. I have had a reply from my own Probation office which talks ambiguiously only and says that even when exceptional cases exist, they will only allow travel in a small number of circumstances. The last bit seems ridiculous, I'm sure they aren't limited by the number of applications they can allow. As you say, each case on their merits.

However, I still haven't been given an explicit statement as to what would entail business related exceptional circumstances.

By archie - 19 Apr 11 8:30 AM

Hi Banker

I don't have it at hand sorry, I am as we speak out of country.

As a memory it went something like this, I appealed against the decision of my refusal because I could not find work in the UK within my profession. I had worked in this profession for over 35 yrs and as such due to my conviction I was unable to gain employment in my specialist area. I had worked over seas previously and I could gain employment there, indeed I was offered several job's I just had to keep turning them down, not due to my conviction but because the Probation refused to allow it. They played a merry old game of cat and mouse for a while which drove me to the brink at times. However, after getting on board the employment specialists that the PS use they argued that it was pointless re-training me because I was offered jobs, something that they could not do for me, in effect I was employable but could not get to the work due to restrictions.

The moot point of the exceptional case was that I could not gain employment in the UK in my field, I was of an age where re-training was out of the question, My family where suffering due to my circumstances, I was offered work abroad within my field. The employment specialists stood up for me as did my local MP. The decision was that I was allowed to travel for work, only if I could prove that I met these points, which I did, I had to notify my employer of my conviction and of being on license restrictions and attend PO appointments per calendar month.

I shall try to get the letters and post them here to Chris so that they can be looked at etc.

Do you intend to continue the same line of work? If you worked say on the oil rigs prior to conviction, then you would probably be allowed to continue whilst on probation because this was your main line career or line of work, if you worked on the oil rigs and changed to deep sea fisher man than they would object, it is about the continuation of the life style of employment that had prior to conviction, and the impact upon your family also of your personal circumstances. The exceptional circumstances rule is a pretty grey area from what I was told, the decision rests with a job's worth, despite my PO agreeing to it a jobs worth decided that 'in her opinion' I initially did not meet the criteria. I appealed immediately within the hour by telephoning the head of my probation services and discussing the case and the decision with her. She agreed that she would hold a review, I then sent mail to the minister for probation and license and also my MP, who intervened my letters where explicit out lining my family circumstances and the benefit to the economy etc of having me paying taxes etc and not being a burden on the state, I just went for it big time. I also argued as did my solicitor of not being blanket covered and outlining the job of the probation services as in re-habilitation and getting the ex- offender back into society etc.

I hope that this helps.

Archie :-)
By Anonymous - 5 Sep 10 3:02 AM

Just a thought, but might it not be better to wait until the probation period ends? They’re not usually too long, a year or two and then you really are free to come and go as you please. The problem with trying to emigrate whilst on probation is that everyone knows who you are, what you’ve done and where you’re going. It doesn’t need much for someone here to whisper into someone’s ear there and you’re back on a plane still scratching your head and wondering what went wrong!

Holidays are one thing, but being on a license and having to inform whatever country you’re trying to emigrate to, (not EU), that you’re still classed as an offender from the country of origin might not produce the required result. Also being on probation would mean you’d have to declare and I can’t think of anyone that would let you in to settle and/or work whilst declaring.

Once the probation period is over you can come and go as you please, unless of course you are insistent on declaring and then you’re always going to have problems. The new Passports haven’t got the chip, but instead a page with ‘This page is reserved for official observations’ written on it. Underneath that is written, ‘There are no official observations’. (I’ve used that, amongst other things before now, to prove I’ve no criminal record in the UK)! The problems start in the UK and if you can get out without a fanfare and everybody knowing where you’re going it gets so much easier, as spent/unspent meaning nothing in many other countries and it’s really left to you to start afresh so to speak.      

With all due respect


By archie - 19 Apr 11 8:30 AM

Hi IanC

A valid and interesting point.

I personally would not tempt fate until off probation if seeking emigration, have you ever watched the people trying to enter Australia? . Even now although I am free from probation I am very much aware of 'chinese whispers etc' . however, the up side to this is that my past is in the past with my so called colleagues and friends and I don't ever see or hear from them, which in respect is quite sad.

It is a much more reassuring experience traveling without the confinements of probation, but at the time it was a necessary evil to support my family and I had to deal with whatever came along, thankfully nothing did. However I have moved on since then and I choose to live a reformed and free existence, I keep my head down, I do not draw attention to myself, I plant ideas in others heads that may make a significant difference and let them take the praise as it where, my high flying days are over, that life is in the past, I was also unaware that the passports have changed again no chip? I think also and I have said this before, this web site is a god send, I have found it useful beyond words, and IanC I always look for your comments on these pages I have followed your advice and guidance from the begining it has certainly helped me.


Archie :-)