Can A Felon Get A Passport?

If you’re a convicted felon, there are certain restrictions on crossing borders and obtaining a passport. 

A Felon can get a passport, but it takes a lot of processes and requirements.


You may be able to apply for a passport if you’ve completed your sentence. 

However, this often depends on the type of conviction, sentencing guidelines enforced by each State’s court system, or even unpaid fines or restitution obligations. 

Read as we reveal the possibility of a felon getting a passport. 

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Policy Guiding Felon Getting A Passport

The US State Department policy is to deny passports to convicted felons who are currently incarcerated, on probation, or parole.

This policy was not new, but it has received more attention recently because of the number of cases where felons have been accused of committing sex crimes while in prison.

The law requires that you complete all terms of your punishment before you can apply for a passport or travel abroad with it.

In addition, if you must register as a felon under the category of a sex offense, the US State Department policy will also review your application on a case-by-case basis.


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Eligibility For A Felon To Get A Passport

It is not impossible for convicted felons to apply for or receive a US passport. However, to get a passport, they must meet the following conditions:

  • You can apply for a passport if you are not in prison or on parole.
  • You can apply for a passport if you have completed your sentence.

  • If your criminal case is still pending, but you’ve been released from jail and are complying with all probation and parole conditions, then this may qualify as “completed” under the law. Many people who were found guilty during their trial receive probation without actually being sentenced to jail time (and therefore cannot be required to register as sex offenders). This is why any convicted felon looking at applying for travel documents must understand what this means before making an application!

  • You have been off of supervised release for at least five years. 
  • You must have been released from all terms and conditions of your sentence, such as probation or parole.

  • You must have completed all court-appointed payments related to your conviction. These include fines and restitution payments (if applicable), court costs (if applicable), restitution fees that are owed, and any other fines or fees associated with filing an application under this law. For example, suppose you have outstanding court costs or restitution owed. In that case, you will need to pay those off for your application for a passport renewal process to smoothly proceed through its completion stages without interruption from any hindrances caused by these debts. Again, this can include court costs, and fees related to the crime. Fines are not related to how long a person served a sentence but  what type of offense they were convicted for and how severe it was (e.g., murder vs. robbery).

  • You must also have completed all of the terms of your punishment for the conviction.

If your conviction was for an offense before July 26th, 2008 (and therefore does not require fingerprinting), then you can apply for both a driver’s license and passport at once at no cost to either one.

However, if your sentence has been completed and your case is closed (the last court date has passed), then there are no restrictions on traveling abroad.

Processes For A Felon To Get A Passport 

The federal government will review your passport application on a case-by-case basis, meaning that if you have been convicted of a crime and it is related to the passing of information, such as identity theft or fraud, your application may be denied. 

If you are applying for an adult or child version of the same type of document (such as an ID card), then there is no reason why you cannot get one after having served time in prison or jail.

In fact, some states even allow felons who have paid their debt to society by serving time behind bars to get their hands on these documents without any issues whatsoever!

However, suppose you have been convicted for another type of crime, such as murder or sexual assault.

In that case, things will be different: these types of convictions require additional screening before permanent residency can be approved by local authorities abroad, where passports are often needed—and sometimes, even before traveling outside US borders, due diligence requirements must be met first!

You will also have to provide proof of registration. This can be in the form of a copy of your sex offender registration certificate or an affidavit from the court that you are currently registered as a sex offender and pay all fees related to your conviction.

You must also ensure that there are no outstanding warrants for your arrest, which means that federal and local law enforcement officers cannot issue warrants against you until after the US Department has approved the passport application of State.

How Can A Felon Get A Passport

After meeting up the criteria listed above to get a passport as a Felony, you must also do the following:

  • You must complete Form DS-11 at a Passport Agency or Passport Acceptance Facility. This form is used if you have a passport that expired more than five years ago. To renew a passport that is less than 15 years old, complete Form DS-82. In the case of a lost or stolen passport, complete the DS-64 form. Be as honest as you can. Complete the entire form to avoid delays.
  • Take two passport photos of yourself in front of a white background. You should also personally take the photos, documents, and application form to your nearest passport agent. Photos should be recent, within six months of the passport application, clearly show your face, and be about 2 inches in size.
  • You must possess proof of citizenship, which can be a certified copy of your birth certificate, previous passport, naturalization certificate, and citizenship certificate or consular report of birth abroad. You must also have a copy of your photo ID, such as a driver’s license and current school or military ID.
  • You must have your official court documents to show you are no longer on probation or parole. You may not need to show these documents, but you can save yourself quite a bit of time and trouble if you need to present them.


If you have a record of being convicted of a crime classified as a felony in the US, you will not be able to obtain a US passport.

However, you can apply for one once your case has been resolved, and if your situation has changed enough, you do not pose any risk to national security. We hope this article helps make you realize how a felon can get a passport. 


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