The reasons for denying a U.S. passport are addressed under state and federal laws. Most convicted felons will not have any issues obtaining a U.S. passport because passports do not contain information about criminal records, nor do they provide information about people’s characters. Passports simply identify a person’s citizenship to a particular nation.
As a general rule, every U.S. citizen has the right to apply for a passport, and the vast majority of people, including convicted felons, will have no trouble obtaining one. But, there are exceptions to the rule. Federal law does prohibit certain classes of U.S. citizens from obtaining a passport under the following circumstances:
- The individual has been convicted of drug trafficking and he or she entered another country to commit the crime.
- The individual is facing federal charges.
- The offender has been forbidden from obtaining a passport because of probation, parole, or another court order.
- The individual is a “flight risk” and has been forbidden to leave the U.S.
- The offender is in a supervised release program after being convicted of drug possession or drug distribution. This can be found under state and federal laws.
Other Notable Exceptions
There are other circumstances where a federal agency has the power and discretion to forbid someone from obtaining a passport, including when:
- The person has been officially declared incompetent.
- The individual owes $2,500 or more in back child support.
- The individual is a minor (under 18) and does not have their legal guardian’s consent.
- The individual is considered a serious threat to national security.
“What if the person already has a passport?” If the person already holds a U.S. passport and they are later convicted of a felony, their passport can be revoked if one of the above situations applies or they can have travel restrictions placed upon them.
Obtaining a passport with a felony DUI is usually a non-issue unless a judge prohibits the person from traveling while on probation or parole. A bigger problem is getting into countries as a convicted felon, even if it was merely a “DUI.” Canada and Mexico are two countries that do not take kindly to people who’ve been convicted of felony DUI.