Federal law specifies reasons a US citizen must be denied and could be denied a passport. Most, if not all convicted felons will have no issues getting a US passport. A person’s passport holds no information about the person’s criminal record and does not provide a person any statement of character. One’s passport simply identities the person stating that this person is a citizenship to a particular country. Again, every US citizen is eligible to apply for and to obtain a passport. Unless the person is an enemy of the US or preached sedition and treason, save a few federal caveats:
Mandated Denial of a Person’s Passport Application
Federal law prohibits a US citizen from obtaining a passport if …
- The person is a convicted drug trafficker, having gone into another country to commit the crime.
- The person is under federal arrest or a felony-related subpoena.
- The person is forbidden to get a passport by a court order, probation, or parole;
- The person is forbidden to leave the United States.
- The person is in arrears on loans incurred as a prisoner abroad.
- The person is serving time in prison or in a supervised release program for felons convicted of possession or distribution of a controlled substance. This is under federal or state law.
Discretionary Passport Application Denial
Federal Agencies have the power and discretion to prohibit obtaining a passport if …
- The person is in arrears on a federal loan that allowed repatriation to the United States
- The person is formally declared incompetent.
- The person is a minor who has no legal guardian’s consent
- The person is in arrears over $5,000 in child support.
The person can be denied a passport by the U.S. Secretary of State if the person is identified as a serious threat to national security or to U.S. foreign policy, in the states or out of the country.
If the person is a convicted felon that already holds a U.S. passport, that passport can be revoked or have limited travel restrictions put upon it if the person is in one of above bulleted situations. If the person lied to get the passport originally or if the passport has been altered, or use under false pretense, meaning fraud the passport can be revoke or taken from the person’s possession.
Use of a passport can be invalidated for travel through countries with who the United States has formally declared war. Also if there is a severe danger to any US citizen. The Secretary of State has this power over passports. One can check the Federal Register for applicable information.
A bigger problem than a passport is finding a country that will accept a convicted US felon, even if it is “only” a DUI. Canada will refuse a US DUI misdemeanor, never mind a felon, Mexico, likewise, will refuse. If a US felon travels to Canada or Mexico by ship, the US felon will not be allowed to disembark onto foreign soil. So, a passport can be obtained but one may have nowhere to go.