In order to travel out of your home country, you need a passport. Life happens and choices are made that can affect your ability to travel. But, can a felon get a passport? The short answer, is yes, but it does depend on what’s on your record. There are some regulations and restrictions related to a felon obtaining a passport that we’ll discuss here.
What is a Passport?
A passport is a form of ID used to travel internationally. However, a passport is not a license to travel. In addition to a passport, travelers may need to obtain the proper Visa for their visit to certain countries. The Visa is issued by the country you are visiting, and their regulations may be different than our own.
A passport shows your country of origin, and what other countries you’ve traveled in. It’s considered internationally accepted identification.
There are several reasons a passport may be denied, and not all of them have to do with convictions. Others are financial in nature and others are temporary restrictions that can be removed with time.
Felony or misdemeanor convictions could prevent you from getting your passport. If the crime you’ve been charged with involved a previous passport you won’t see a successful renewal. If the crime involved transport or distribution of controlled substances across the state or international borders you’ll be denied.
Convicted of a Treasonable Offense
There are few crimes as severe or universally looked down on as treason. In some countries, treason is still a crime punishable by death. If you’re convicted of a treasonable crime, you will not be able to get your passport. Along with other lost rights and privileges, your travel is greatly restricted.
Parole or Probation Restrictions
Parole or probation are factors of a felony conviction, regardless of the actual crime. During these periods of supervision, there are usually travel restrictions. While the passport application doesn’t specifically ask about criminal history, a background check is processed.
Excessive Child Support Debt
If you owe more than $2500 in back child support, your passport can be denied if you haven’t made arrangements to pay that debt back. If you can prove with your application that you’ve arranged a payment plan, you may be approved.
Unpaid Government Loans
The US government can be petitioned to help you evacuate from a foreign country, or bail out of a foreign jail if you’re put in that position. You are taking out a loan from the US government to pay for your safety. If you owe money on a past loan, your application will be denied until you’ve repaid your debt.
Other Specific Legal Debts
If you’ve used a Bail Bonds service and owe them for your release, you’ll be denied a passport. Not only because you owe money, but because while you’re awaiting trials, your travel is restricted.
For more details about Bail Bonds, and how they work, check out the Szar Bail Bonds blog, or contact us.