Can my friend travel to Germany with a "criminal" record?

Got a quick question. My friend and I are planning on taking a two week vacation to Germany in March 2005. We are both U.S. citizens. I have been to Europe before, my companion has been as well, although 20 years ago.

My companion is concerned that he may not be admitted to Germany because of a blemish on his “record”. He was arrested for “disturbing the peace” about two years ago. He didn’t have to go to jail, he paid a fine and that was it. However, it is on his record. Will German authorities view this record when we arrive in Munich? Will they not allow him entrance into Germany because of this?

Last year, my companion was scheduled to go to Canada for a conference, but ended up not going because he heard from reliable sources that Canadian authorities are very strict about who enters their country.

Will something as minor as disturbing the peace hinder his entry into Germany? I was under the impression that European authorities were more concerned with drug offenses, etc. We certainly don’t want to fly all the way to Germany only to be turned back.

Any insight appreciated.

AFAIK, if your friend can get a valid passport, he can travel. I have a friend who was convicted of a felony and he says he can’t get a passport, but I’m not sure that’s even true. Maybe if you had an outstanding felony warrant you might have difficulty getting a passport.

I don’t think Germany has casual access to our citizens’ criminal records.

According to this (official) list

you don’t need a visa for entering Germany, just a valid passport (limited to 3 months, doesn’t include work permit…)
So nobody will find out or even care.

A felony doesn’t stop you getting a passport.

Sure, he can travel. That’s not the question. It’s whether he’ll have a problem at immigration.
And kellner suggests that he won’t.

But my friend has a valid passport. He had it prior to the arrest.

Last time I went, the guy in the spiffy uniform looked at my passport, looked at me, swilled some coffee and stamped it. On the way back, the really cute guy in the spiffy uniform flirted with me and said that if he was my boyfriend that i had been visiting he wouldn’t let me get on the plane…then he stamped the passport and i went on my way.

I love german guys, they know how to make a pudgy 43 year old hausfrau feel warm and fuzzy=)

Immigration wants to see your passport, not a copy of your criminal record. Perhaps my answer was vague. I should have said, if your companion can get a valid passport, he can travel unmolested through German customs because if you’re really wondering whether Germany requires a visa don’t worry about it because they don’t, so if he has a valid passport, that’s all he needs because Germany just wants to see your passport not a visa, because Germany doesn’t require you to have a visa for a two-week tourist trip, and even if they did require a visa you’d have to apply for it and have it approved before you showed up at German customs so you’d definitely know whether Germany wanted you there or not well before you actually got off the plane & tried to go through customs so I’m not really going to go into visa requirements because your companion doesn’t need a visa, he just needs a valid passport.

rostfrei, your companion just needs his passport. Germany doesn’t get interested in your criminal record unless you’re applying for a residence permit or change of citizenship, and you have to do something, or be suspected of doing something pretty heinous to get on an international “watch list.”

A country’s immigration service may deny entry for any reason. For example, people with DUI convictions may be barred from entering Canada. I know of a Canadian guy who was caught with a joint 20 years ago, and he still can’t get into the U.S (although he is a developer who spends millions of dollars on his projects in the U.S.).

Maybe you should call the German consulate?

And I think it’s reasonable to assume that different countries will have different sensitivities to certain activities. A long-ago pot bust might be enough to keep a foreigner out of the U.S., but, on the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if being the notorious publisher of neo-Nazi screeds (an activity that would be perfectly legal in America) would make someone persona non grata at the German border.

If the OP’s friend’s “disturbing the peace” charge actually did involve goose-stepping and swastikas, then I guess I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if he had a problem getting into Germany. Other than that, though, I doubt if he’ll have any problems.

Do you think he needs a Visa in addition to his passport or will just a passport do for a short stay? I am still unclear on this.

Ohh…I didn’t know that was an “ever” thing. I know someone who was arrested on a DUI charge in June right after his 21st birthday who had to be convinced to call his lawyer to see if he could go Canada, and he said the office told him no before the trial, which is this month. Guess he won’t be going to Canada now! Makes me glad I don’t drink.

I don’t know if it’s “for ever”, or if it’s a rule. I most often hear about DUI offenders being turned back at the border when the U.S. and Canada are having some sort of squabble (like over salmon fishing or lumber).

Germany is part of the visa waiver program (here are the US rules, which are likely to be completely reciprocal), which means for a short stay, especially for tourism, he doesn’t need a visa.

As for the criminal record: how on earth would the German immigration service know? If there were an Interpol warrant out for his arrest, maybe, or he were a known terror suspect or drug smuggler, but there’s no way German immigration would have access to US criminal records.

I believe that most arrests are a matter of public record in the U.S. If you call up the local police station and ask for details of an arrest, you’ll usually get them–and I doubt if you’ll be asked if you’re a representative of a foreign immigration service.

Of course I would be shocked if the Germans did this as a matter of routine, but suppose they happened to see a picture of a guy who looked like this posted on the Internet. In that case, I guess it’s conceivable that someone in German immigration might call up the Stanislaus County sheriff’s office to get further details so Mr. Milam couldn’t slip into the country while wearing a muffler…