IN THE NEWS

can a felon get a passport

Can a Felon Get a Passport?

You need a passport to travel outside of the United States. However, the government can deny your application for a variety of reasons. Remember, having a passport is not a right, it’s a privilege.

It’s a well-known fact that a criminal history can negatively impact your life. The government can cancel your current passport or if you apply for a passport, they can deny your application, because of your conviction.  Not every criminal conviction is grounds for an automatic passport denial, though. Before making plans to travel out of the country, be sure you know the laws and how they apply to your situation. For example, lower-level felonies, such as Class 6, may not restrict your travel. Speak with a Class 6 felony lawyer in Phoenix to learn more.

If you’ve been charged with or convicted of a crime, talk to a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer at Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group to find out if your future ability to travel is impacted.

Getting a Passport as a Felon

Getting a passport is not a problem for most people with a felony conviction. That’s if the individual is not currently awaiting trial, on probation or parole, or otherwise prohibited from leaving the country. Also, there are some convictions that may revoke your right to travel outside of the country and situations that prevent a person from obtaining a passport.

Drug Trafficking Charges and Passports

Can a felon get a passport if they’ve gotten in trouble for drug trafficking? If a person is convicted of drug trafficking across international borders, he or she will be denied a passport.

Back Child Support Owed

Can a felon get a passport if they owe back child support?

Anyone who owes more than $2,500 in unpaid child support (this applies to all U.S. citizens) or certain government loans also cannot get this document.

How to Get a Passport with Back Child Support Owed

You must pay your child support arrears in order to get a U.S. passport. To do so, contact your state’s child support enforcement agency and make arrangements to pay your back child support. After you pay, your payment will be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by the child support agency. Then HHS takes your name off its list and lets the Department of State know. The Department of State confirms with HHS that your name has been removed from the list and processes your application. 

Additional Felony Passport Restrictions

A convicted felon may also be denied a U.S. passport if: 

  • They are the subject of a felony subpoena
  • The federal government detains them
  • Probation, parole, or a court order prohibit them from leaving the United States  
  • He or she is incarcerated or on supervised release for felony narcotics charges including the distribution of a controlled substance
  • The person has committed treason or is being investigated for treason

Can You Get a Passport on Probation?

If you are on probation, can a felon get a passport? Once you complete your sentence for any jail, prison, halfway house, or probation and parole, you can apply for a passport. Keep in mind that even if you complete all of the other requirements, a court order prohibiting you from traveling internationally must be lifted before you can receive a passport.

Can Felons Leave the Country?

If they wish to travel outside the U.S., can a felon get a passport? The first step to travel outside the country is getting a passport. In general, convicted felons who successfully complete their probation or parole should not have difficulty getting a U.S. passport. That’s because passports do not carry information about people’s criminal past – they only serve as identification documents.

Passport Restrictions for Felons

The valid passport of a person implicated in a criminal case can be confiscated by the court, even if it was obtained before the offense happened. To stop a felon from escaping to a country that does not have extradition agreements with the U.S., the Secretary of State can cancel a passport, even if it has not been taken away from the owner. Can a felon get a passport if this happens? If this happens, you won’t be able to apply for a new passport until the criminal process is completed.

Felony Travel Restrictions

Although there is no question about a criminal past on the passport application, it is important to remember that a passport is only a form of international identification. Can a felon get a passport to enter another country? A passport does not permit entry into a foreign country. It does, however, allow a person to come back into the U.S.

Most nations accept your passport as proof of identity for brief visits. A visa is required if a person plans to stay for a longer period of time or visit certain countries. A criminal background check is required to get a visa, and a felony conviction restricts a person from traveling to some countries.

It’s a fun adventure to travel outside the U.S. Can a felon get a passport to travel wherever they want? No, you can’t just go wherever you want, because people with criminal convictions are often subject to different restrictions in other nations. Some countries restrict those with criminal convictions from entering at all. For example, a misdemeanor like a DUI can keep you out of Canada. If you want to visit Belgium and have a criminal conviction, you must have plenty of funds for the trip and a ticket back home.

Countries Felons Can Visit

Can a felon get a passport and enter into every country? You may not have trouble getting a U.S. passport, but that doesn’t guarantee that the country you want to visit will welcome you. You need to do some research before you book a flight. Double-check with the U.S. State Department to see if the country you want to visit will grant you a visa if you’ve been convicted of a crime. A visa document is typically stamped in a person’s passport and grants them official authorization to enter another country. The procedure for getting a visa differs from country to country. 

On the other hand, there are plenty of countries that don’t ask for a visa. As a result, anyone with a legitimate United States passport, including convicted felons, can enter without difficulty. Many countries, however, refuse entrance to anyone convicted of a criminal offense. Keep in mind that a felony in the U.S. is not always the same as what another country considers a felony. The country that issues the visa decides whether criminal offenses would result in a visa denial.

Can I Travel Outside the U.S. if My Criminal Record is Expunged?

This is a common question. However, the Arizona expungement, or sealing of a person’s criminal record, doesn’t keep a government agency from seeing it. An expungement keeps it from the view of employers and the broader public, but it does show up when the person travels outside the U.S. If your expungement is related to Arizona Prop 207, it may not affect your travel.

Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer Helping Fight Felony Charges

A criminal conviction can disrupt many aspects of your life, including your plans to travel or work abroad. Get legal help right away if you or a loved one are charged with a crime in Phoenix.

For a free legal consultation with a Phoenix drug crime lawyer or a Phoenix drug possession lawyer, call the offices of Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group today at 602-910-4040 or complete our online intake form. 

Share this post

es_MXEspañol de México