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Can I Travel While on Parole in Texas?

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Can I Travel While on Parole in Texas?

If you are on parole in Texas, traveling gets a bit tricky, but, in general, you can do it if you follow the process. 

In some cases, you can travel to multiple counties within a region or the state without the need for permission. In others, your probation officer can give consent. However, everything depends on you obeying all your parole restrictions.

Here’s a breakdown of travel procedures for individuals on parole.

Who Gives Permission?

If you are on federal parole, a probation officer can give permission to travel outside a federal parole district without the approval of the US Parole Commission for certain types and lengths of trips, including:

  • Vacation trips of 30 days or less
  • Trips to consider specific employment opportunities of 30 days or less
  • Repeated travel across a district boundary no more than 50 miles outside the district for a job, shopping, or recreation

Suppose you want to travel out of the country or repeatedly travel for a job more than 50 miles outside your federal parole district. In that case, you need the Parole Commission’s advance permission in writing and show a substantial need for the travel.

You also need written permission from the Parole Commission for vacation travel outside the district for more than 30 days.

For state parole, you meet a different set of rules. Your ability to travel depends on which Federal District of Texas you live in. Texas is split into four Federal Judicial Districts comprised of certain counties. In general, a parolee can freely travel to any county within their home district without needing permission from a probation officer.

Schedule a consultation with parole attorney Greg Tsioros »

In-State Travel

Federal parolees must first determine which Federal Judicial District of Texas they reside in. Each district follows the same general rules, but the counties parolees can travel to are limited to those inside the district. 

The Northern District of Texas contains 100 counties, including Dallas and Tarrant counties. The Western District contains 68 counties, including all those bordering Mexico. The Eastern District comprises 43 counties, including Collin and Denton counties, while the Southern District, also 43 counties, contains Harris County, where Houston lies. 

You are free to travel within the district without needing written permission from a probation officer. However, to go outside the district, you must receive advance approval from your probation officer unless you have advance permission from the judge in your case.

If you are a state parolee, you must follow all the restrictions of your parole at all times, including working at least 30 hours a week and living in an approved habitation. You must also allow the probation officer to visit anytime and take any prohibited items. 

In-state travel restrictions also depend on when you were released. If you were released when the release rules were in effect before mid-July 1987, you need written permission from your parole officer before you can travel outside the counties adjoining your residence county. If you were released after mid-July 1987, you have no travel restrictions in the state of Texas. 

There are special rules for sex offenders and those in the Super-Intensive Supervision Program (SISP), who must comply with guidelines in the Parole Division policies specific to supervising such clients. 

Out-of-State Travel

Your parole officer must submit a travel permit request to the Offender Information Management System and receive approval from the unit supervisor for you to travel out of the state of Texas. Also, you must prove the travel is necessary. The probation officer cannot issue a permit solely to allow you to go to another state to seek residence or employment.

Before you can leave, your probation officer will run a criminal history and a full Texas Department of Public Safety Record of Arrest and Prosecution to ensure you have no further arrests or outstanding warrants before submitting your travel permit. You must have a negative urinalysis for the previous three consecutive tests and be current on all your probation fees. If you have not kept up with your fees and payments, the probation officer cannot request or approve out-of-state travel.

State travel permits can be temporary or provisional

A temporary permit allows travel up to 30 days but not during an ongoing interstate transfer investigation. The Parole Supervisor must submit a Request for Reporting Instructions (RFRI) to the receiving state for review and approval unless emergency reporting instructions are provided, according to the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS).

A temporary permit can be expanded to more than one month if you are required to travel interstate frequently for employment.

A provisional permit allows you to proceed to another state on an emergency basis. The permit is issued in conjunction with an expedited RFRI or formal approval by the receiving state to accept you for supervision.

Otherwise, the distribution of a provisional permit is identical to a temporary permit.

Contact parole lawyer Greg Tsioros today»

Traveling Out of the Country

Where and how you can travel to other countries depends on whether the country you wish to visit is a signatory of the ICAOS. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the US Territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are signatories of the compact. You can gain permission to travel to any of these locations just as you would for out-of-state travel.

However, to travel to locations that are not signatories of the compact, meaning every other country in the world, you need approval from the Board of Pardons and Paroles and meet specific criteria.

Speak with a Parole Attorney

Speak with Greg Tsioros if you have any questions about traveling as a federal or state parolee in Texas. The rules and regulations differ between the jurisdictions and sometimes seem contradictory or riddled with red tape. 

The Office of Greg Tsioros stands ready to help you travel about the state and country when you have to make a necessary trip or need assistance getting to work opportunities. Contact our office today.

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