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Obtaining a US Passport with a Felony

If you’re facing felony charges or if you’ve been convicted of a felony in Texas, you may be wondering if a felony conviction can bar you from obtaining a US passport – a reasonable question. Under federal law, there are specific reasons why US citizens can be denied a US passport, so is having a felony conviction one of them?

In most cases, convicted felons are not barred from obtaining US passports. It’s not as if a felony conviction automatically prevents someone from getting a US passport. In many situations, a convicted felon won’t run into any trouble obtaining a US passport. After all, passports do not contain any information about criminal records and they are not a statement of a person’s character. Instead, passports identify people’s citizenship to a specific country.

When Federal Law Prohibits the Issuance of US Passports

All US citizens have the right to apply for a US passport, however, federal law does prohibit US citizens from obtaining US passports under specific circumstances, including:

  • The person was convicted of drug trafficking and he or she went into another country while committing the crime.
  • The individual is under felony arrest.
  • The individual has a felony-related subpoena.
  • The individual has been forbidden from getting a passport through probation, parole, or court order.
  • The individual has been forbidden from leaving the United States.
  • The individual is incarcerated in prison.
  • The individual is on a supervised release program for felons who have been convicted of drug possession or distributing a controlled substance.

Other Reasons for Passport Denial

In addition to the above, there are other non-criminal reasons why someone might be denied a US passport, such as the person is a minor and they don’t have their parents’ consent, or they are in arrears on a federal loan, or they owe more than $2,500 in child support arrears.

While a convicted felon may have no trouble obtaining a US passport, sometimes the real problem is finding a foreign country that will allow the convicted felon to enter. Canada, for example, is one country that won’t let a US citizen in with a recent misdemeanor DWI, never mind a felony DUI! So, a convicted felon may have no trouble obtaining a US passport, but they may not find a country that will let them in.

Facing felony charges and you’re worried how it may impact international travel? Contact Alband, Lane & Balderama for a hard-hitting defense!