Treaty Transfers

Treaty Transfers


The International Prisoner Transfer Program (IPTP) began in 1977, when the United States negotiated the first in a series of treaties that would permit the transfer of prisoners from the countries in which they had been convicted to their home countries, where the home country becomes responsible for enforcing or administering the transferred sentences. 

Almost 80 countries and nationalities are now parties to either bilateral transfer treaties or multilateral prisoner transfer conventions with the United State Prisoner transfers under the various treaties are available to U.S. citizens incarcerated abroad as well as to foreign nationals incarcerated in the United States. 

Currently the United States transfers more foreign nationals from the United States than it receives U.S. citizens from other countries. Although most inmates who are transferred out of the United States under these treaties are federal prisoners, some U.S. states also actively participate in the IPTP.
What is IPTP?

International Prisoner Transfer Program. The International Prisoner Transfer Program began in 1977 when the U.S. government negotiated the first in a series of treaties to permit the transfer of prisoners from countries in which they had been convicted of crimes to their home countries.

treaty transfers
treaty transfers
treaty transfers
Read more About Treaty Transfer Cases

The treaties and implementing legislation are intended to:
(1) Enable the United States to bring back U.S. citizen prisoners incarcerated abroad, often under particularly harsh conditions; 

 (2) Enable the United States to transfer foreign national prisoners incarcerated in the United States back to their home countries to serve their remaining sentences;

(3) Relieve the special hardships that fall upon offenders incarcerated in foreign countries, far from home;

 4) Allow U.S. citizen prisoners' spouses, parents and other family members to visit the prisoners on a more regular basis;

(5) Facilitate the rehabilitation of these offenders; and 

(6) Ameliorate the diplomatic and law enforcement tensions that may arise between nations when one country’s nationals are incarcerated in another country’s prisons.

In order to make an informed decision as to whether or not to apply for transfer, the prisoner should write directly to:

Chief, Defender Services Division 
Administrative Offices of the United States Courts
 Washington DC 20544 
ATTN :Prisoner Transfer Treaty Matters .

The prisoner’s letter should contain as much of the following information as possible:

(1) Full name, including maiden name, and any aliases;

(2) Date and place of birth;

(3) Date of offense; 

(4) Precise offense for which convicted and any statutory cites;

(5) Sentence imposed or expected, including any fines or restitution;
(6) Any labor credits or prisoner work credits the prisoner earned.

(a)  Any prior sentences received; (b) Prior time actually served;  (c) Whether under probation, parole, or criminal justice supervision at the time of the offense; and (d) Whether there are any outstanding warrants.

 b.  The Defender Services Division will assign the prisoner’s letter to a Federal Public Defender (FPD) for review and response. b. Once the case has been assigned, it usually takes an FPD four to eight weeks to respond.  c. Assuming the prisoner has provided all the necessary information, the FPD will provide the prisoner with a reasonably-informed estimate of how the foreign sentence will be administered in the United States if the prisoner is transferred.
While a prisoner is free to write to the Defender Services Division at any time, as a practical matter FPDs cannot provide specific information or opinions unless the prisoner has a final sentence, that is, he/she has been convicted, sentenced and all appeals have been completed.

c.  The prisoner should complete and sign the Prisoner Transfer Application Questionnaire. This document is part of the “Transfer Packet” that the Department of Justice (DOJ) sends once it is aware that a prisoner is eligible for transfer. The consular section may already have a set of transfer forms and information sheets as the Justice Department sends this material to posts when each country becomes a party to the treaties. 

International Prisoner Transfer Unit (IPTU) and Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Responsibilities

 a. Upon receipt of the signed verification of consent form, the IPTU contacts the Central Office of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and requests they provide escorts and transport for whatever numbers of prisoners have been certified eligible for transfer.

c. The Correctional Programs Division works with the IPTU to ensure that all paperwork is complete, the verification hearing has taken place, and each prisoner has been tested for TB.

e. The BOP will provide the names and bio information of escorts, and itinerary to CA/OCS/ACS. 

1. The prisoner, sentencing country, and receiving country must consent to the transfer;

2. Dual criminality must exist (the crime of conviction must also be a crime in the receiving country). Although the basic requirements are sometimes easy to meet, the fact that several other issues are analyzed in the process of determining a person’s eligibility makes it important to have the most expert representation working on your behalf. 

What are the benefits of transferring to one's home country?

The benefits include:

1. being able to have regular visits from family and friends that help in the rehabilitation process; 

2.medical issues may also be alleviated by transferring to one's home country to complete their sentence, where they can receive the care they cannot get while incarcerated; and/or

3. reduced time served behind bars, as no other country in the world has mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines with no parole as the U.S. has.

What can one do to be a better candidate for transfer?=

trety transfers

How long might my request for transfer take?

This is a difficult question to answer as there are so many variables. Getting an idea of one's particular case and other details will give a better basis upon which to give a educated estimate. Please contact us with your details.

What is dual Criminality?

Double criminality, or dual criminality, is a requirement in the extradition law of many countries. It states that a suspect can be extradited from one country to stand trial for breaking a second country's laws only if a similar law exists in the extraditing country.

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Which countries currently have transfer treaties with the United States?

Bilateral Treaties and Transfer Agreements are in effect with the following countries:


2. Canada

3. France

4. Hong Kong 

5.Marshall Islands

6. Mexico 



9.Peru Republic of Palau



Countries with which Prisoner Transfer Treaties are in effect:

Countries with which Prisoner Transfer Treaties are in effect:

Albania; Andorra; Armenia; Australia; Austria; Azerbaijan

Bahamas; Belgium; Belize; Bermuda; Bolivia; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Brazil; Bulgaria

Canada; Chile; Costa Rica; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic 


 Ecuador; El Salvador; Estonia 

Finland; France

Georgia; Germany; Greece; Guatemala 

Honduras; Hong Kong; Hungary 

Iceland; Ireland; Israel; Italy 

Japan, Korea

Republic of Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxemburg

Macedonia, Republic of (The former Yugoslavia); Malta; Marshall Islands; Mauritius

Mexico; Micronesia; Moldova; Montenegro 

Netherlands, including Netherlands Antilles & Aruba; Nicaragua; Norway

Palau; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Poland; Portugal 

Romania; Russia 

San Marino; Saudi Arabia; Serbia; Slovakia; South Korea; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland

Thailand; Tonga; Trinidad/Tobago; Turkey 

Ukraine; United Kingdom and Territories*; Uruguay


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