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Getting a Passport as a Convicted Felon

Updated on March 3, 2017

US Passport

Your previous convictions will not forbid you to explore the world

So you made some mistakes in your past and you served some time in prison. Now you’ve got a criminal record as a convicted felon and you and a passport. We all make mistakes in life. While some are bigger than others, not all of them have to follow you around forever. By and large most convicted felons can still get passports. There are certain circumstances though that may bar a felon from getting a passport though.

For example, your application could be compulsory denied or discretionally denied if you were convicted of international drug trafficking in the past. If you have a federal arrest warrant you’ll also be denied. For that matter, you might be crazy to try and apply for passport if you have a felony warrant to begin with.

If you were imprisoned abroad and took out loans to finance your release, or you have loans relating to reparations that you still haven’t paid-off, you’ll be denied a passport. Also, you don’t necessarily have to be a felon for this but if you owe child support beyond $5,000 you won’t receive a passport.

Barring any of those circumstances, it may be easier to get a passport as a convicted felon than it is to be allowed to vote again.

If it’s your first passport you’ll go through the same process as everyone else. Fill out form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport (but don’t sign it until you’re told to), bring whatever proof of citizenship is allowed—that may be a certified birth certificate, or a certificate of citizenship or a consular report of birth abroad—also carry your government issued ID (and a front and back color copy of it) then have a passport style photo. If you don’t know where to get a passport photo, check with whatever agency is issuing your passport. The Post Office, for example, can usually shoot one for you.

Expect to hear back from the government in four to six weeks, or two to three if you have it expedited. But don’t stress, you can still get a passport as a convicted felon.

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