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Can I Obtain a U.S. Passport with a Felony Record?

Posted By Ryan Albaugh || 18-Mar-2020

Many, if not most Americans end up traveling abroad at some point in their lives. After all, it’s very common for people to travel overseas to visit family, for their jobs, or for vacation. If you were previously convicted of a crime, as a term of your probation or parole, you may have been prohibited by the court to leave Florida, let alone the country.

Now, you have completed your sentence and you wish to travel abroad. Is there anything legally stopping you from obtaining a U.S. passport? For starters, most people with felonies on their records do not have any issue obtaining a U.S. passport.

Why? Because U.S. passports are merely identification documents that show citizenship; they do not contain people’s criminal record information. Convicted felons should not run into trouble obtaining U.S. passports unless there is an active warrant for their arrest or they’re facing felony charges.

Reasons a U.S. Passport Can Be Denied

While most of the time felons won’t have any issues obtaining a passport, that’s not guaranteed. There are circumstances where a felon may be denied a U.S. passport. Under Federal law, a U.S. citizen will be prohibited from obtaining a passport if:

  • The induvial has been convicted of drug trafficking and they entered another country to commit the crime.
  • The individual owes $2,500 or more in child support arrears.
  • The individual is prohibited from leaving the country under a court order, probation, or parole.
  • The individual is presently serving time under a supervised release program or in prison for felons who’ve been convicted of possessing or distributing a controlled substance – this is covered under state and federal law.

If you’re a convicted felon and none of the above apply, you may not have any issues obtaining a U.S. passport, however, not all countries let people in with criminal records. Canada, for example, doesn’t let people with DUIs, even misdemeanor DUIs enter the country. So, our advice is to do your research first and make sure the country you want to visit won’t prohibit you from entering because of your criminal record.

Categories: Criminal Procedure