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Can a Felon Get a U.S. Passport in NJ?


Who Is Ineligible for a Passport?

Certain felons may be ineligible for a passport because of the type of offense they committed. Specifically, under 22 U.S. Code § 2714, a person convicted of a federal drug offense, or a state felony drug offense can be denied issuance of a U.S. passport when they are imprisoned or on parole or supervised release as a result of their conviction.

In some cases, a conviction for a misdemeanor drug offense can also disqualify a person from receiving a passport if the Secretary of State decides that this law should apply to their case. If you already have a passport, your passport can also be revoked after a drug offense conviction.

In emergent situations, the Secretary of State can issue a felon, who was previously deemed ineligible, a passport. However, the reasons for issuance must be related to emergency circumstances or humanitarian reasons.

Other things that disqualify you from getting a passport are:

  • Having child support arrears. If you owe back child support, action can be taken to prohibit you from getting your passport. Your passport can also be revoked in some cases. To apply for a passport after having arrears, you will need to set up a payment plan or pay the owed amount entirely.
  • Having unpaid loans or federal taxes. If you do not file or pay your taxes or fail to pay for your federal loans, you cannot get a passport unless you pay the IRS or lender your outstanding balance or set up a payment plan.
  • Being a minor. If you are under the age of 16, you cannot obtain a passport yourself. You will need the consent of your parents or guardians as the application will require both parties’ signatures and supporting documents from them.
  • Being prohibited from travel. In some cases, a convicted felony may be subject to a court order that forbids them from traveling abroad.
  • Serving time for a federal or state crime. After being convicted of a crime, the court may take away your passport, cancel a pending application, or prohibit you from applying for a passport until your case concludes or your sentence is completed.

Getting a Passport as a Convicted Felon

If you are not ineligible to obtain a passport, you can file for a passport (or file to renew your passport) as everyone else does (i.e. by applying in-person or online at a passport office). You will need the following documents to complete your application:

  • Two passport photos (that adhere to the government requirements)
  • Court documents showing you are not on probation or parole
  • Naturalization or citizenship certificate (or a consular report of birth abroad)
  • Documents that prove your identity (i.e. a birth certificate)

Can Felons Travel Internationally?

Not all people convicted of a felony are restricted from obtaining a passport to travel abroad. However, some countries do not allow felons to enter their country, including but not limited to:

  • The United Kingdom. Convicted felons can enter the U.K. if their sentence is “spent,” meaning they occurred over 10 years ago, and the prison sentence didn’t exceed 30 months.
  • Canada. If you are a convicted felon, you have to apply for special permission to enter the country even if the conviction occurred years ago. After submitting a request, you may be allowed to enter if you are deemed rehabilitated, which means you are not involved in any criminal activity currently.
  • Australia. A convicted felon may not be granted a visa if they served a prison sentence for over 12 months, who was convicted of two or more convictions whose combined sentences equate to more than 12 months, or anyone with a suspended sentence.
  • Countries in the European Union. Travelers can move freely between EU countries, so these countries do allow persons with felony convictions into the country unless the sentence was three years. However, if the conviction was for a drug crime, the sentence cannot exceed two years.

Get Legal Help

While not every convicted felon is prohibited from getting a passport, felony and misdemeanor convictions can have other life-long consequences, such as struggling to find gainful employment, qualifying for certain educational opportunities, and being prevented from owning or possessing a gun. If you have been charged with or are under investigation for a crime, our attorneys are equipped to help you protect your rights and freedoms.

We handle a variety of criminal defense cases including:

  • Sex crimes
  • Theft crimes
  • Weapons violations
  • Violent crimes
  • DUI/DWI-related offenses
  • Probation/parole violations
  • Domestic violence
  • Juvenile crimes

Schedule a case consultation with the Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC online or via telephone (201) 574-7919 today.

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