The Best Non Extradition Countries to Become Invisible

Written by Andrew Henderson
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Dateline: Nogales, Mexico

I have just finished the movie Snowden and the topic of privacy, surveillance, and being an international spy is on my mind. The story, of course, is a political thriller which follows the 2013 leaking by Edward Snowden of top-secret information from the NSA and what happens to him in the wake of this major security scandal.

Let’s have a little fun today: Imagine you’re being pursued by government agents, angry creditors, a vindictive ex-spouse, or a hitman with a bounty on your head. You need to find somewhere to hide out under the radar until things blow over… or possibly forever.

Where would you go if the world was your oyster and you had to escape?

Your first inclination may well be to look for one of the world’s non-extradition countries. You ought to be careful, however, because they are not all created equal.

Of course, I’m not advocating that you flee the law. But think about: if the government upped the ante on one of their spying programs, or changed the laws that made your business criminal, or you owed a violent casino boss millions… where would you go to escape?

Would you change your appearance, get a tattoo, or even go so far as Johnny Depp in the critically panned movie The Tourist and implant a voice chip to disguise your speech?

Just look at Julian Assange or Edward Snowden. US Secretary of State John Kerry took to the airwaves to denounce Snowden, saying he should absolutely return to US soil and “face justice”. Snowden was long public enemy number one because he exposed the government’s secrets and has spent years seeking asylum outside of Russia.

Of course, the US government is going to put a lot more effort into tracking down Edward Snowden than it will for many others. After all, Snowden left a lot of egg on their face. And he actually woke a few people up — including the German government — and helped them realize the reality of the huge US surveillance state.

However, if the need to disappear may ever arise, it’s important to consider the following…

GOVERNMENTS DON’T ALWAYS RECOGNIZE NON-EXTRADITION RULES

You should beware that sometimes practice is different than what is stated in a nation’s law. In other words, some countries have extradition treaties but do not follow them, or some countries do not have extradition treaties, but extradite ad hoc. This makes this already murky topic even more complicated.

For example, in 2012, some 900 people were sent back to the United States. Most of them were sent from Canada, Mexico, and Colombia. About half of them were drug traffickers, but others were involved in fraud, homicide, and pornography.

However, countries like Spain — and even Yemen in the Middle East — have been known to return fugitives, even without an extradition treaty. They make it very easy for friendly governments to nab people on their soil.

However, there are times when countries that have extradition agreements refuse to play ball. The main one is Cuba, where close to one hundred alleged criminals are hiding out. The United States and Cuba do have a treaty, but chilly diplomatic relations have meant it is rarely used. It is unclear what the recent reconciliation between the two countries will mean for extradition.

Moreover, the following countries have been known to refuse U.S. extradition requests, despite having treaties: Bolivia, Ecuador, Iceland, Nicaragua, Switzerland, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. We will continue to explore this by looking at countries without extradition treaties on the books as well.

COUNTRIES WITHOUT EXTRADITION TO THE U.S.

First, straight to the point: ’The United States has bilateral extradition agreements with 107 nations (PDF). Moreover, the United States maintains diplomatic relations but, according to the above- mentioned list, does not have extradition treaties with the following full list of countries. Instead of repeating this full list, we will focus on several that are of interest to nomads or people who fit this bill and are looking for a good lifestyle abroad.

The general impression is that anyone wanting to hide out in one of these non-extradition countries has to go to some hellhole in the ends of the earth. But that’s not necessarily true.

I’ve always wondered why people who fled the law ended up somewhere like Spain. Do they think some go-along-to-get-along European country is going to protect them? If you’re not a Spanish citizen, you might as well have just stayed home.

Governments — especially Uncle Sam — are notorious for trumping up charges that will make most Western governments give you up in two seconds flat. It’s not like anyone would think to look for you in a tourist hangout, anyway… ha ha.

BRUNEI

non extradition countries Brunei

The Sultan of Brunei takes orders from no one, so an extradition treaty was never something he was
interested in.

While Brunei is no constitutionalist’s picnic, it’s one of the wealthiest countries to have no extradition treaty with the US. The Sultan of Brunei doesn’t want anyone meddling in his affairs. If you played it cool there and didn’t make out with your new girlfriend in public, you’d probably be quite fine.

RUSSIA AND CHINA

non extradition countries Russia

Neither China nor Russia are a part of extradition treaty with the US, so they’re great places to go to and
have any kind of lifestyle that you’re comfortable with.

I’m a bigger fan of countries like Russia and China than some people might suspect based on my free-market view. Big countries like that don’t want to be pushed around by the US government the same way smaller countries often suffer. China is rarely mentioned as a country without extradition, but it doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the United States, either.

Before you balk at the idea of living in China, consider that the country is as large as The Land of the Free and provides any kind of lifestyle you could desire for your time on the lam — from five-star ultra-chic to backpacker cheap.

THE GULF STATES

non extradition countries Qatar Kuwait United Arab Emirates

The Gulf states won’t extradite you to the US, but they frown upon the idea of using their country as a place to escape, so tread carefully.

Other wealthy countries with no extradition treaty include the wealthy Gulf states of Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates don’t have one either, although their governments have made it clear they want nothing to do with being a safe haven for “criminals”.

Nevertheless, Dubai plays home to the deposed prime minister of Thailand. I doubt you’d be welcomed with open arms into the local cultures of these Middle Eastern countries, but living in a country with more air-conditioned shopping malls and Rolls Royces than any other doesn’t sound like a terrible punishment.

Deeper in the Middle East, Jordan and Lebanon are also countries with no extradition treaty; just don’t use your Israeli second passport to seek entry.

MONTENEGRO

non extradition countries Serbia Montenegro Croatia

Montenegro doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the US and more importantly, each country is beautiful and unique.

Looking at Europe, a major lifestyle goal of many nomads and travelers, the former-Yugoslav country and now Republic of  Montenegro, is on this list as it offers excellent lifestyle and investment opportunities.

In addition, not being a part of the EU, Montenegro may offer certain privacies (as well as beautiful people and views).

If you have been reading our posts about this tiny Balkan country, you are probably aware I found it dead charming that I made it my summer residence and European base where I own a home now.

But recent research shows that it would fit the criteria we are looking for in this article- country that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the US, unlike its neighbors- Serbia and Croatia.

UKRAINE AND MOLDOVA

non extradition countries Ukraine Moldova

Though Ukraine and Moldova might not be at the top of your list, they’re a good candidate as any to
avoid extradition back to the US.

Other countries in the region that one might look at are Ukraine and Moldova. These Eastern European countries have struggled with their share of development or financial challenges, but are potential frontier markets that appeal to many nomads. We recently wrote on the topic of banking in Ukraine and Moldova has certain interesting characteristics such as high yields for property rentals. Go to Asia and you’ll find any number of places that don’t play ball with the US government.

VIETNAM, CAMBODIA, AND MONGOLIA

non extradition countries Vietnam Cambodia Mongolia

These countries are already an attractive destination for tourists and businessmen alike, so laying low in
Vietnam or Cambodia isn’t the worst thing.

Meanwhile, Vietnam, Cambodia, and rapidly-growing Mongolia are also countries without extradition. I’d even argue that you could improve your business success by living in any of those countries — whether you were hiding out or not.

Perhaps someone should start “no extradition tours” and force people to start businesses in fast- growing boom markets as “punishment”! Seeing as there is currently a lot of interest already for people to expand their freedoms and lifestyles abroad in these destinations, their openness to all without extradition treaty is an interesting facet to explore. Any takers?

GOING TO THE BEACH – MALDIVES, VANUATU, AND TUNISIA

non extradition countries Tunisia

With low taxes, amazing nature, and growing investment opportunities, non-extradition countries like
Tunisia and Indonesia could be an excellent safe haven.

The Maldives, Vanuatu, and Tunisia are all non-extradition countries. Vanuatu is a tax-free nation and has an interesting citizenship by investment program. The Maldives are of increasing interest for real estate developers in the tourism space. Tunisia is an up and coming North African destination that may appeal to those who love the Mediterranean weather, culture, and history.

So is Indonesia, where the economy has grown so fast a real estate bubble is developing at warp speed. That said, Jakarta is perhaps the cheapest city in the region. And, of course, Indonesia is home to Bali, a favorite of many nomads, as well.

WHEN IN AFRICA – ETHIOPIA, BOTSWANA, AND UGANDA

non extradition countries Botswana Uganda

If Africa is more appealing to you than the rest of the world, then going to countries like Uganda or Ethiopia is a good idea because they don’t have an obligation to turn you over to the US government.

In Africa, Ethiopia and Botswana, two of the continent’s star economies, don’t have many extradition treaties. Uganda is also in this boat. Those looking to venture into frontier markets can use this goal as an impetus for exploring opportunities on the continent.

Where should someone from the United Kingdom on the run flee to? Well, many on the list above share a lack of extradition treaties with the UK as well. Also worth noting are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cameroon, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, and Venezuela. For citizens of other countries, the same concept applies: do your research on what countries do have extradition
treaties, and then for those nations omitted from the list, you can double-check if any cases have been brought forward.

NON-EXTRADITION COUNTRIES VS. COUNTRIES WITH NO DIPLOMATIC TIES

non extradition countries Venezuela

From Bhutan to Venezuela, there are plenty of countries with no diplomatic ties to the US to consider.
However, not all of them are very accommodating for Westerners and that must be taken into account.

Of course, there are true hideouts you wouldn’t want to hide out in. Beyond just having no extradition treaty, they are the places with no diplomatic relations with your home country.

I don’t think Mogadishu would suit too many peoples’ taste… even this time of year.

Although I’m sure it is more livable than the Western media would have you believe. Heck, there is a Free Somalia Project encouraging people to move there. Or what about North Korea… anyone?

Likewise, I could argue most parts of Iran aren’t as bad as Western propaganda want you to think they are, but I still doubt it would have many takers. If you’re a US citizen, Cuba and the isolated Asian nation of Bhutan — home to all of zero traffic lights — are the only non-war zones on the list of countries with no diplomatic ties.

Countries the United States has sworn off as enemies may be among your best bets, especially since the CIA could always come in and grab you, non-extradition country or not.

As for other nations, they include African countries like Western Sahara, which one journalist called a perfect anarchist state “fit for a Bond villain”.

There is little to no infrastructure in such countries and it is doubtful you would even be discovered there. Of course, you might attract a little attention if you show up as a white guy with a diamond Rolex.

If you prefer Latin culture, while Venezuela does have one of the original extradition treaties with the United States, Hugo Chavez rarely complied. I doubt the new government would, either. To guys like this, laws are meant to be interpreted at their whimsical discretion. Although that really goes for all governments.

Maybe such a place is the perfect place to hide out. After all, the fact that you’re reading this site indicates you’re a bit of a contrarian and don’t buy into all the hype about everyone getting shot the minute they step out of the United States.

In an era of government over-cooperation that has led to crackdowns on some pretty stupid “crimes”, it’s nice to see not everyone is willing to play ball with the global statist mindset. You just have to realize that your own government breaks the rules, too; you may recall talk of the CIA executing “unfavorable individuals” in the jungles of Ecuador. Who needs an extradition treaty when you’ve got the law of the jungle?

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAVING NO EXTRADITION TREATY AND NOTEXTRADITING

Now, just because a country has no extradition treaty doesn’t mean it never turns criminals over. It simply means there is no hard-and-fast mechanism for doing it in a diplomatic way.

Again, some larger, all-powerful governments (cough, cough) have been known to simply walk onto foreign soil and grab whomever it is they want. In other cases, they ask — or bully — first and get the non-extradition country to hand the suspect over.

This is where having dual citizenship can be helpful. Some countries simply don’t extradite their citizens, no matter what. Brazil is on that list, as is Venezuela. (Just don’t buy into the “quick” way to get a gray market passport in Venezuela, which costs thousands of dollars and can end up with you in a holding cell.)

FAMOUS CASES OF (NON) EXTRADITION

A discussion on extradition treaties isn’t complete without reviewing some of the most famous cases in recent history. As we mentioned in our intro, the story of Edward Snowden is perhaps one of the most newsworthy in the past decade that has gotten people thinking about the concept of extradition. So much so that there is even a discussion on what flights he could take without facing the risk of extradition. While his story originally began in Hong Kong, his search for asylum has taken him to Russia and other places.

El Chapo, the infamous Mexican drug lord ( and inspiration for the new Netflix show with the same name), was famously extradited to the United States facing numerous indictments. Another involved in the drug trade that is a well-known name is Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, who was head of the Medellin cartel. Roman Polanski, a filmmaker accused of having sex with a minor, has avoided
extradition in numerous countries.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is fighting from being extradited to both Sweden and the United States for allegations of rape and leak of confidential information. Garry McKinnon, a computer hacker of NASA and the Pentagon, fought US extradition for over a decade. Many of the most high- profile cases involve security and information in an age where access to it can change lives and
governments forever.

So.., if you’re waiting for a knock on the door from Terry Benedict’s guys — or the Gestapo — there are global hide-outs where you could live out your days and, judging by the looks of some of these places, things could be worse.

Now, go out and fly right. I don’t want anyone knocking on MY door looking for one of you!

Andrew Henderson
Last updated: Jan 10, 2020 at 4:32PM

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22 Comments

  1. Liberty Luke

    As always, Informative

    • anarchobuddy

      Yes, quite informative.

      I’m curious, though, about what exactly I’d have to be accused of for the US government to want to try to extradite me.

      • James

        They’ll chase you down for for a $100 dont you doubt it. With the economy the way it is the US tries to get every penny it can from us. Im being charged with a class d felony for “The sale of marijuana” i only smoked half a gram with a friend there was no exchange of anything. The worst part is that the court is trying to tell me what friends i can and cant have. this country is fucked up…

        • Andrew Henderson

          Just like with extradition (as we’ll soon see with Edward Snowden), governments trump up charges to make their case more palatable to other governments and the public. That’s why it’s called “politicking” – it’s all about getting what they want.

        • nomadcapitalist

          Thanks everyone for the comments.

      • nomadcapitalist

        You never know.

  2. Force Meow

    And I would imagine some of those places would have other problems, like muslims (indonesia) and kidnapping for profit.

    • nomadcapitalist

      Perhaps those things exist everywhere. Just like US police admitted to drumming up kidnapping stats to increase their gestapo budget, propagandists disseminate fear about “other” places. If I had a nickel for every place tourist guides say is unsafe, yet I walked home at midnight without incident, I’d be retired.

      • Force Meow

        Well, the fact that you have not been kidnapped or mugged (yet) is obviously proof that I’m wrong and there are no problems. Anywhere.

        Heck, it proves that kidnapping is a big urban legend, a myth like sharknadoes or unicorns.

        Doofus.

        • nomadcapitalist

          Yes, but there is kidnapping for profit in the United States as well. Yes, you could get kidnapped anywhere. However, I’ve yet to run into anyone out of hundreds of people who are afraid of this sort of thing. When you ask them if they’re afraid of things like kidnapping they often don’t even understand what you mean. If it were so pervasive, people would be scared to leave their homes, the way people in small pockets of Mexico are afraid to go out after dark.

  3. Brasstacks

    OK..I enjoyed the article. But if you are discovered no matter where you are located, that country can deport you back. There are only a few countries now which do not play ball with the bad guys. Chile now extradites as well as Costa Rica. Most people who flea and who are apprehended are deported, it saves the government money. Political Asylum? What a joke that is now. Unless you can buy your way like Robert Vesco, have something to offer, Ed Snowden, Play chess, Bobby Fischer you are just out of luck. Even Cuba will not give you the time of day. I guess you could make it if you want to live like the unibomber, but I like my single malt scotch and ice cubes are for drinks!! Last note, Isreal..Only if you are a jew living in Isreal will you be left alone!

  4. Kcir Iccupper

    So if someone from Brazil comes to the US and guns a bunch of people down and goes back to Brazil, they’re safe?

    • Andrew Henderson

      The CIA could always come and gun them down in the Amazon somewhere. Been known to happen.

    • Leo

      Yes and No. This Brazilian citizen will not be extradited from Brazil. But this person may be prosecuted in Brazil or at the International Criminal Court (Treaty of Rome).

      The Brazil’s constitutional ban to extraditate its citizens is only valid for natural-born Brazilian. If the person acquired Brazilian citizenship through naturalization and the crime happened before it, bye, bye
      You can find
      http://leonardomalves.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/is-brazil-a-safe-haven-from-extradition/

  5. amkq

    In Jordan, contrary to what you’ve indicated, extradition treaties are signed with most most countries!
    I don’t know where did you research your info, hope not Hollywood!

  6. Parker

    Hello Andrew,
    Great read and very informative, thank you!
    As a fellow traveler I do have some questions. For example, were one to ” flee ” to many of these safe haven countries, you must have a relatively new passport with many pages available for exit/ entry stamps, as most countries have a max stay of 90 days on a tourist visa or far less such as in China. Unless one were to invest in the country, such as buying property or a business where this opens some other doors, but also adds more hurdles to clear and then you really are hiding in plain sight. Many, such as China, will not permit entry to persons with criminal histories-period. Once inside one of these safe havens, the only way to really disappear would be to hide within that countries borders and thereby breaking that countries duration of stay regulations. Border jumping every 90 days or less quickly maxes out the pages in ones passport with entry/exit stamps. Going to ones embassy for a new passport, even if said country has one, is obviously not an option for most. Any thoughts people?
    Thanks again…

  7. Orson Kane

    Hi,

    I am facing possible jail time for a judge that awarded my wife alimony without even hearing one word from me in what was only to be a hearing. My wife lied and cried and the corrupt judge ate it up without hearing one word from me or listening to my useless lawyer which I fired. The main issue is I am ordered to pay a ridiculous amount of money that I am left with nothing to support myself after. It will literally render me homeless because it’s more than half of my take home pay after taxes. My wife lied and got away with it. Thank God we have no children but in a never fair system towards men I fear I may have to leave America, my home, my birthplace and everything I own. My own government is placing me into more debt and hardship than I can possibly handle and I see the inevitable outcome doesn’t look good for me. I have a lawyer handling this situation but and it looks like this can be settled out of court but as a precaution I want to have an option to just disappear at a whim with the right planning. It’s totally unfair for men with or without children when it comes to the corrupt court system but the news lately surrounding all these cops killing unarmed civilians, murdering people and getting away with it, domestic spying, our government’s rendition of suspected “terrorists” who are not terrorists and using other methods of intimidation and torture gets me thinking that America is not a bastion of freedom but just an illusion. Don’t get me wrong I love my home and culture but don’t love my government. It’s too corrupt to live up to its ideals.

    Anyone have any ideas?

    • TA

      If you ever decide to flee the U.S., the government will easily find you. For one, you used your computer (presumably) to post a question concerning extradition on this site. Your I.P. address and email address are easily obtainable from your internet service provider. Not smart.

      • laptopleon

        They probably will confiscate your bank account and such as well. Then again, people usually don’t flee for the adventure of it, I reckon. On the other hand, it may still be quite hard to find you, without the foreign country and their ISP cooperating. Even if they know exactly what your IP is and where that IP belongs to, US cops can’t just barge in and take you away. They have no jurisdiction. It would be like an African policeman giving you a ticket in Chicago.

  8. fishface

    does Taiwan deport folk?

  9. Stan

    If someone has been commited to trial in New Zealand and fled to their homecountry. Say South Africa. Now 2 years later they want to holiday for a week in let’s say UAE. what is the chances of them be uorehended in that week?

  10. jim

    as a UKrainian living in Uk if I Moved to SIberia could the Uk gov demand my return for offence