Can I Take a Cruise If I Have an Arrest Warrant?

Thinking of taking a cruise? Have a warrant out for your arrest? Then you should get that cleared up before you decide to take a step on the ship.

Now, we’re not here to cast judgement on anyone. Yes, sometimes people who have committed serious crimes board cruise ships. But many people who have warrants may not even know it, or they may be for less-serious crimes such as unpaid speeding tickets.

But no matter what the reason, it’s not a good idea to cruise with a warrant. There’s a good chance that you will be arrested.

Here’s the deal. When you take a cruise, the ship completes a manifest — a list of the name and details of each person on board — that it presents to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. While you are out cruising, law enforcement then scans that list looking for anyone with outstanding warrants.

Usually the passengers is apprehended when the cruise returns to port. In other words, a person might think they have gotten off free, but are nabbed right when they return home.

And these scans for warrants seem to be successful. According to a director at the Port of Galveston, passengers are taken in on warrants on a regular basis — usually one or two every trip. In fact, one recent cruise from Galveston made headlines when five people were arrested for various charges.

Another man was caught for a warrant over an alleged kidnapping when he returned to Miami from a cruise to Jamaica.

Remember: When you leave on a cruise, you departing the United States and have to return and go through immigration, just as you would if you were taking a flight. Your chances of getting through this checkpoint with a warrant are slim.

That’s why it’s important to take care of any outstanding warrants you have before you step onto the ship. It’s much better than having to look over your shoulder while trying to enjoy your vacation.

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