Extradition is as a process by which one state surrenders a convicted criminal or suspect to another state. This issue is regulated by treaties between countries.

Extradition Treaties

States determine the terms and conditions under which an extradition request can be accepted or denied. Most countries will not extradite individuals who are suspected of political crimes. Some countries will refuse to extradite a person if he or she may be subject to capital punishment if extradited. An extradition request may also be denied if a country is asked to extradite its own citizen.

Extradition treaties generally fall into one of two categories: list treaties and dual criminality treaties. List treaties are the older form of extradition treaty, from a more libertarian age. In a list treaty, the offenses for which a person may be extradited are listed in the treaty. In most cases, only major offenses are listed. Notably, most list treaties do not list tax offenses as legitimate causes for extradition.

Dual criminality treaties are more common now. In a dual criminality treaty, a person may be extradited for any crime which is an criminal offense in both nations. A common prosecutorial trick when a person has not committed an offense for which they can legally be extradited is to also charge them with an offense for which they can be extradited, even if there is no evidence or justification to support the additional charge. For example, if the treaty does not allow a person to be extradited for tax evasion, the government may also accuse them of mail fraud — because they filed their tax returns through the mail.

Many nations refuse to extradite citizens, even new citizens. Obtaining citizenship can be an effective tool for preventing extradition in many cases. On the other hand, if you are generally an undesirable person you may simply be deported in lieu of extradition. In addition, a nation may have no formal extradition treaty with the United States and still deport a person to the United States in response to a diplomatic request.

Non-Extradition Countries

The United States does not have extradition treaties with the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chad, China (People’s Republic of China), the Union of the Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, the Maldives, Mali, the Marshall Islands, Mauritania, the Federated States of Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, São Tomé & Príncipe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. Of those nations, some are far better places to live than others.

Some of the best nations with no extradition to the US include Andorra, Montenegro, Serbia, Taiwan, and Ukraine.

Detailed information regarding the extradition process can be found in the U.S. Department of Justice document 9-15.000: International Extradition and Related Matters.