A passport is required for travel outside of the United States. If a person has a felony conviction in the US, it may affect his or her ability to obtain a passport, which is required to leave the country. It is crucial to note, however, that a felony record does not disqualify everyone from obtaining a passport. So, before booking a vacation to a foreign country, one should study the rules.
How a Felony Charge Affects Obtaining Passport
Everyone who intends to travel overseas must have a passport. To travel, you must apply for a passport in advance, and in some situations, depending on the country, your passport must be valid for at least six months before you are granted access.
Passport applications usually proceed smoothly, especially if the applicant does not have a criminal past. People facing felony charges, on the other hand, will have a more difficult time acquiring a passport.
Having felony charges does not preclude you from obtaining a passport, but it is dependent on the criminals. You may be unable to obtain a US passport if you have a felony record.
Still, as long as you have no felonies that will expressly preclude you from receiving the travel document, you should be able to apply for the passport.
Felony Offenses That Can Prevent You From Obtaining a Passport
Being convicted of a crime is an awful scenario. Not only would having felonies on your record jeopardize your reputation, but it may also jeopardize your passport application.
Certain types of offenses may make a person ineligible to receive a passport. Following a felony conviction, you will be unable to obtain a passport.
#1. Convictions for Felony Drug Possession
According to federal law 22, U.S.C. 2714, the United States government will not provide a passport to anyone who has been convicted of a federal, state, or felony drug offense. This is true if the felony drug conviction occurred while the person was crossing international borders or using a passport at the time of the offense.
If the offender already has a passport when convicted of the felony, it may be canceled in specific circumstances. The disqualification applies when you are in a halfway home, on parole, or in prison.
Other Drug Convictions in Particular
You may not take drugs, but you may be involved in dealing and distributing them, which could lead to you being convicted as a felon.
When it comes to drug distribution and acquiring a passport after a conviction, the legislation is unclear, but your prospects of obtaining a passport are slim to none. Furthermore, if you want to travel overseas, you may be unable to do so since your passport may be denied.
If you are convicted of misdemeanor federal or drug crimes, the US Secretary of State may disqualify you. An exception will be made solely in cases of misdemeanor drug charges involving first-time possession of any controlled substance. Only the Secretary of State can grant exceptions in humanitarian situations.
#2. Child Support Cases in Court
Parents required to pay child support must ensure that they fulfill this commitment, as failure to do so may jeopardize their passport application.
If you wish to get a passport but owe more than $5,000 in overdue child support, you won’t be able to receive one. As a result, it is your responsibility to either set up a payment plan or pay the full amount. After all, you want to ensure that you not only support your child but that you also have the right to travel overseas.
Once you have paid the child support, you can go to the US Department of Health and Human Services and have your name removed from the list of people who owe money. To determine who owes child support, an updated copy of the information is often given to the United States Department of State.
#3. Loans and unpaid federal taxes
If you work in the United States, you are probably aware that you must pay taxes to the government. This is something that all legal professionals must deal with. One of the repercussions of failing to pay your taxes is that you will be unable to obtain a passport.
If you refused to pay your taxes or were unable to file your taxes for some reason, you will be denied a passport. Furthermore, if you received federal student loans to pay for your study and did not repay the amount, you may be denied a passport.
Removing the denial is doable, but only if you follow a precise procedure. You must pay off any outstanding obligations owed to the IRS or your loan providers. This can be accomplished by either paying it off all at once or by establishing a payment plan.
How to Obtain a Passport as a Convicted Felon
Are you a convicted felon who wishes to obtain a passport? If you are a first-time applicant, you must fill out Form DS-11: Application for a United States Passport in person or online. Typically, the form is intended for persons whose passports expired more than 15 years ago.
Form DS-82 must be completed for passports that expired less than 15 years ago and need to be renewed. Meanwhile, Form DS-64 should be completed for a stolen or lost passport.
When completing the application, it is critical to be completely honest. You should also complete the form completely to avoid any delays.
How Long Does It Take for a Felon to Get a Passport?
There is no time limit for a felon to obtain a passport.
You cannot, however, have any outstanding arrests or be on probation. If you are on probation, you must wait until the end of your probationary period before applying.
Where Can You Get a Passport?
While the State Department is the only federal department authorized to issue passports, there are several options for applying. You can normally apply by submitting your application and supporting documentation to the State Department, but it may take several weeks to receive your passport.
Many USPS mail offices, public libraries, and county clerks accept passport applications and can process them for you in person. The State Department website lists passport acceptance facilities near you. In addition, each state has a passport office where you can apply in person.
Passport agencies are often only for persons with urgent travel plans, and you may need to make an appointment ahead of time. Passport agencies can print your passport the same day or within a few hours.
However, due to unforeseen events such as national emergencies, many passport agencies may have no appointments available unless you are in a life-or-death scenario with highly critical emergency travel demands.
Making an Application for a Passport
If you have not been convicted of international drug smuggling, are not regarded as a potential flight risk, or pose a risk to yourself or others abroad, you can apply for a passport by first completing Form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport. This procedure can be completed in person at a Passport Acceptance Facility or at a Passport Agency.
You can also fill out the form online. You can use the United States Department of State website to find out where you can get the application in your area. The website provides access to the nearest passport application facility.
Post offices, public libraries, clerks of court, and other governmental institutions accept applications on behalf of the State Department through the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Passport Services.
You must input the Zip Code or City and State or State to retrieve the information. You can also get information on establishments that provide on-site picture identification. Once you begin filling out the form, be as truthful as possible. This will streamline the procedure and eliminate any delays.
You will also need to include a citizen document. This document can be a copy of your birth certificate, citizenship certificate, naturalization certificate, or a consular report proving you were born abroad. Include a photo identification, such as a recent school ID, military ID, or driver’s license.
Proving Your Citizenship in the United States
You must produce proof that you are a U.S. citizen to verify your citizenship. As a result, evidence of citizenship is an important criterion.
If you demonstrate proof of your citizenship with a verified birth certificate issued by a city, state, or country in the United States, the document must include your full name, place of birth, and birth date.
It should also include both parents’ complete names. The date the form was filed must be displayed on the paperwork, which must be within one year of the birth date. The paperwork must also be signed by a registrar and bear the registrar’s multi-colored, embossed, or impressed seal.
Current passport holders who use a passport to establish their citizenship must use a passport that is still valid or has not expired. The document should not be destroyed or otherwise rendered ineffective. Passports are valid for five years for children and minors and ten years for adults.
Other Forms of Identification Acceptable
If you do not have a birth certificate, alternative acceptable proofs of U.S. citizenship include a state-issued letter of record with your full name and birth date.
The letter must state the number of years you searched for a birth certificate but discovered no such documentation.
Furthermore, you must produce public records that were created, preferably, within the last five years of your birth date. The following recordings are acceptable:
- Early childhood education records
- Reports of agreement
- Medical records or doctor’s notes
- A hospital-issued birth certificate
- A certificate of baptism
#1. A Postponed Birth Certificate
If your birth certificate was delayed or not filed within a year of your birth date, it will still be accepted if it includes a signed affidavit by your biological parents and a summary of the papers used to make it.
A birth attendant’s signature may also be included on the paperwork.
If filed alongside early public records, a delayed birth certificate without these signatures may still be accepted.
#2. A Birth Certificate
A birth affidavit notarized by someone with firsthand knowledge of your birth may also be accepted. The signer should preferably be an elder relative who claims to know about the birth. Submit the affidavit along with the first public records.
#3. Passport Photographs
You will need to have two passport photos taken of yourself with a white background. Each photograph must be current within six months of the passport application and clearly show your face. Passport photos should be at least two inches wide on all sides. The images and application should be delivered to the nearest passport acceptance agency in your area.
#4. Include any official court documents.
You will also need to gather your formal court documents to demonstrate that you have completed the court’s demands and are no longer on parole or probation.
While you do not need to present the documents, it is much easier to do so when you visit the passport agent to save time and hassle.
Use the given information to apply for a passport and ensure that the identification will be accepted where you intend to travel. If a Visa is necessary, make sure that document is also acceptable. If you wish to travel any distance anyplace, do your homework first; otherwise, you may wind up being trapped!
Can a Convicted Felon Travel To Other Countries?
Convicted felons can generally travel to most nations.
However, certain countries may refuse you access – check the list below for nations that restrict convicted felons’ entry. Whether or whether you are a citizen of the country to which you are traveling can also be a consideration. Countries do not automatically exchange their criminal histories. Typically, such history is shared only by countries that share borders or are close allies.
So, if you’re traveling from the United States to Canada, chances are Canadian immigration will be aware of your criminal history. Some nations, however, require you to apply for a visa before you may enter. The visa application form may inquire if you have ever been convicted of a felony, which may reduce your chances of approval.
Furthermore, just because you can travel to another country as a convicted felon does not mean you can apply for residency or citizenship there.
Many nations require you to obtain a police report from your home country attesting to a clean criminal record when applying for residency, which can complicate matters and cause the immigration office in the foreign country to deny your residency.
Is a Felony Record Relevant Once You’re in the Country?
As I previously stated, if you are a US citizen, you may usually obtain a passport even if you have been convicted of a felony in the past. It probably won’t matter once you’ve been permitted entrance into a foreign country.
If you are a green card holder in the United States and commit an aggravated felony, drug offenses, sex offenses, or other felonies, your renewal application may be denied. You can also be unable to seek citizenship. If you committed a crime as a non-citizen in the United States, your best choice would be to contact an immigration attorney who can assist you.
Which Countries Have a Felony Record Ban?
Only a few countries have laws governing the immigration of convicted felons.
They are as follows:
- The United Kingdom (UK)
- New Zealand’s
However, this does not imply that all criminals are prohibited in those countries.
For example, Australia only allows convicts with a prison term of 12 months or more to enter the country.
People who have received a four-year or longer jail sentence for a single offense are not eligible in the United Kingdom. If you received a term of fewer than four years, you may be entitled to enter the UK when five or ten years have elapsed.
Foreign citizens sentenced to five years or more in jail are permanently barred from entering New Zealand. Anyone sentenced to twelve months in prison is temporarily barred for ten years. Because each country has its own immigration rules, and because those rules might change, it’s a good idea to research the immigration laws of the country you’re visiting before boarding a plane.
Being convicted of a felony does not mean the end of travel. You can still apply for and acquire a passport unless you committed international drug trafficking, are still on probation or were declared a flight risk. You will also be able to travel to a variety of nations.
Have you ever sought to get a passport and been denied? What was the issue?