U.S. Passport Requirements for Convicted Felons

“Can a felon get a passport?” is a question U.S. citizen may have if they were incarcerated. Often, individuals who have been convicted of felonies or who have relatives in these situations wonder about passport eligibility. While residents may believe their past crimes can stop them from obtaining passports, this is not always true. It is possible for individuals to obtain a passport for felons. However, there is some important information that applicants need to learn about first. For example, the crimes they were convicted of can affect whether or not they can receive passports.

It is important that applicants remember that passport requirements are the same for all individuals. Therefore, all residents, regardless of their convictions, need to submit the same forms and undergo the same application processes as all other applicants. The U.S. Department of State runs a background check on every applicant. This, along with other criteria, is what determines if felons can receive their passports. The sections below provide more information for individuals who were convicted of felonies and who want to apply for a passport.

Can a convicted felon get a passport?

When convicted felons submit their US passport application, they should know that they may be prohibited from receiving their documents. In fact, there are certain circumstances that can exclude convicted felons from receiving passport books or cards, including:

  • Being convicted of certain crimes.
  • Committing treason against the United States.
  • Having a court-issued mandate that prohibits international travel.

Generally, a passport for felons is available to applicants who do not fall into these categories. However, individuals with additional questions about their circumstances should contact the State Department.

Can you get a passport with a felony related to drug charges?

You may want to know, “Can you get a passport if you have a felony for drug-related charges?” The answer to this question is likely no. If you have a conviction related to drug crimes, the federal government will usually not approve your passport application. Furthermore, remember that if you are convicted for drug charges, the government may take away your current passport. Likewise, know that you cannot have your US passport application form accepted if you are currently incarcerated or are on probation.

What other circumstances can stop me from receiving a passport?

After you submit your request at a federal US passport office, the government must approve or deny your application. However, keep in mind that there are situations besides felonies that can stop you from receiving a passport. If you are currently in one of the following situations, the Department of State may reject your application:

  • Child support. If you owe a certain amount in child support, the US passport application authorities may reject your submission.
  • Federal loans. If you accept a loan from the federal government to help return you to the United States from abroad, you must repay this money. In fact, you are responsible for paying off this debt before you can apply for a passport again.
  • Unpaid taxes. In some instances, you may have your passport application denied if you have a large amount of unpaid taxes. Check with the federal government to see if this could apply to you.

If I have a US passport card or book, can I travel anywhere?

A US passport is a federal ID that countries recognize around the world. However, individuals need to remember it is not a license to travel. This is true for convicted felons, as well as residents with no past criminal charges against them. As a result, travelers need to keep in mind that it is up to foreign countries’ policies to determine who can pass through their borders.

Therefore, just because US passports for felons are available does not mean these passport holders can travel wherever they want. Individual countries may have certain regulations regarding who can visit them. Therefore, felons should confirm with nations’ own governments as to whether or not they can visit with their past convictions.