Can Felons Get a Passport?

Can Felons Get a Passport? – A friend of mine asked if her relative, who is a convicted felon, can get a passport or not. Being a convicted felon means that some aspects of life won’t go as easy as for normal people. The same thing can be said when it comes to going abroad and getting the necessary documents such as a passport.

That being said, although getting a passport and going outside the country is harder, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is impossible. First, let’s talk about the people who are not eligible for getting a passport:

  • Felons who are related to drug convictions
  • People with unpaid federal loans
  • People with cases related to child support
  • Minors without parental consent for the passport

So as you can see, the only thing that stands between a felon and his or her passport is the type of felony he or she committed. Drug offenses at the federal or state level will also revoke the person’s passport until the jail time is over and it will still stay revoked during parole.

That said, the U.S. Secretary of State may also grant exceptions for some convicted felons under humanitarian cases, but usually, this exception is only available for people with first-offense possession of a controlled substance.


How to Get a Passport for Felons

There are several papers you need to prepare beforehand, including certified copy of birth certificate and other citizenship documents, driver’s license or other identification documents, two 2×2-inch photos with white background, and the important Form DS-11, which is the application for U.S. Passport.

There are several things to remember so that the process will not be delayed. First you need to fulfill all necessary information on the DS-11 form honestly and leave the signature blank, and the photos should be recent.

Preferably, all the necessary copy of documents should be certified. The copy of your id documents should be on an 8.5-by-11-inch white paper stock, showing both front and back of the ID.

It is also helpful to prepare the official court documents that can help you proof that you are no longer on a probation or parole. This last tip is optional, because it is often that you’re not required to show them. However, it is still nice to prepare everything beforehand just in case if there’s somebody need to look at them.

Now that everything is ready, the only thing left is to submit all the documents in person to a passport agency or an acceptance facility. Alternatively, you can also visit your local post office. Do remember that there will be a processing fee for the passport application.

You may now wonder how long a felon will get their passport after submitting the paperwork. That depends on whether your application is approved or not. That said, the waiting time for felons who apply for a passport is similar to those non-felons. Typically the process is about 3 to 6 weeks.

Last but not least, understand that even though the United States government approves your passport application, other countries may not approve your passport. There are also some cases where the person movement is limited by that destination country.