Can A Felon Get A Passport?

Your past convictions can have a direct or indirect impact on your passport application. Certain felons are not eligible to obtain a United States passport however certain narrow pathways enable them to get one.

can felon get passport

You can get your passport if you fit into that pathway. If you are a felon and you fear rejection, the best thing would be to ask an expert to assist you.

Grounds On Which Passports Are Rejected For Felons

In the earlier days, a felony was a crime of moral turpitude. Today, that a felon is tried as a criminal and can spend more than a year in prison.

Sometimes, felonies vary from something as small as theft to something as grave as murder. You should know that just because you are a felon, this is no reason to reject your application.

can felon get the passport

When applying for a passport, you should also remember that procuring a passport does not give you the right to fly to any part of the world.

It is just an identification you need when you step out of the country. Every country has different rules with regards to who can and cannot enter the country and the same applies to the United States as well.

If you have committed a felon related to international drug trafficking then the chances of getting a passport are bleak. This rule applies only if you traveled with the drugs and were arrested and convicted for the crime.

The passport authorities have the right to reject a passport application if the applicant has a state or federal drug charge. You should know that passport authorities are slightly biased towards first-time offenders.

Reasons For Passport Rejection

1 Outstanding Warrant

While a felon has every right to apply for a passport and even get one, if they have an arrest warrant against them, they will not receive a passport. Applicants that are on parole will also be denied a passport.

2 Child Support

If you owe $2500 or more in child support, you will not be issued a passport. Once you clear the outstanding amount, you can apply for a passport.

3 Outstanding Loans

If certain loans are outstanding and the passport authorities notice this, your passport application is denied.

Background Check For Passport

Obtaining a passport may seem like a simple task where you fill out a few forms, submit a photograph and wait for your passport to arrive, right?

Not exactly. Issuing a passport depends on the state department. The state department looks into various aspects of your life including financial fraud and outstanding child support.

Federal Law Supersedes State Government

Certain felonies are at a federal level. While the state may approve your passport application, the federal law will supersede and reject your application.

Overseas Citizens

If the applicant is overseas and does not have the money to fly back to the United States of America, the government may pay for their trip, depending on the circumstances. The authorities will hold back the passport as a security deposit and the applicant will get it back only once they repay the fare amount.

can felon get a passport

Similarly, people that are liable to pay child support and already have a passport have to submit their passport to the secretary of Human and Health Services. Not doing so will get them in trouble with the law.

In this situation, the passport is given back only after they have cleared their child support dues.

Discretionary Refusal

The state department has a right to refuse issuance of a passport to an individual who has an arrest warrant pending, even if the trial has not come to fruition. The department also has the authority to confiscate their current passport to prevent them from leaving the country.

Mental Institution

If an individual is not of sane mental health and requires constant medical help, they will not be issued a passport. Such people will be committed to a mental institution and will be declared incompetent.

Passport Checklist

When applying for a passport, you should have your checklist ready. This includes:

  • Duly filled passport form
  • All documents to support the application
  • Latest photographs

When the application is ready, you can then go in and submit it. The passport office then conducts a background check to determine whether you are eligible for a passport or not.

If you get lucky, this step may be skipped completely. This is dependent on the passport authorities. Some applications are skipped in case there are too many applications and the backlog is increasing.

In such cases, the authorities run a federal background check on the government website. If there is a federal case against you, it will come forward.

Travelling Post Felony

It is not easy to cover up or expunge your felony charges easily. If it has been a while since you have committed a felony, you can travel abroad.

In this case, it is important to check the permissions not only from the originating country but the country that you intend to travel to. It is also important to hold a valid visa.

Getting A Passport With A Criminal History

Just because you had a brush with the law in the past doesn’t mean you cannot get a passport or travel internationally. Let’s take a look at how you can travel to different parts of the world:

1 Traveling With An Outstanding Warrant

Although traveling to different parts of the country after release is not difficult, traveling with an outstanding warrant can be tricky. If you think that you can hide from law enforcement and travel then you should know that you will be arrested based on trying to flee the country.

can a felon get a passport

It is important to acknowledge your warrant and then inform the authorities about your travel plans. Not only does this hold you in good stead, but it also helps you to build trust with the authorities especially in cases where your passport needs to be renewed in the future or a visa needs issuance.

2 Permission To Travel To Other Countries

The sole purpose of getting a passport is so you can travel to different parts of the world. Once you get your passport, you need to make travel plans based on your eligibility criteria along with your reason for travel.

If you are traveling for the sole purpose of work then you will get a visa even for countries that have strict felony laws. If you are traveling for leisure, it may be tricky to gain entry into certain countries such as Canada.

Canada has a simple law. If you commit a crime in the United States, you cannot enter Canada.

Miscellaneous Reason For Rejection

Try getting a list of countries that allow felons to visit and plan your holidays accordingly. There are a few reasons you could be denied entry to other countries. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  • Financial reasons – If you don’t have sufficient money in your account to travel back home, your entry could be rejected.
  • Certain crimes – Certain crimes fall under the Federal Fugitive Felon Act and in such situations, extradition countries will not allow entry.
  • Age – Any individual under the age of 16 is may not get a passport. Elderly or ailing people will be denied entry to certain countries.

If you plan to travel, you need to ensure your passport application has been submitted well in advance. This will help you get a passport even if something has gone wrong with the application because you will have time to rectify it.

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