Having a felony conviction does not automatically disqualify you from obtaining a passport. However, certain types of convictions may lead to disqualification. The rules surrounding felonies are not clearly defined, which means obtaining a passport may be possible.

Therefore, if you plan to travel abroad and require a passport, you can follow the standard passport application process.

What Disqualifies You From a Passport?

In the United States, individuals convicted of drug trafficking across borders as a felony are generally ineligible to obtain a passport. However, it is important to note that other felonies may not necessarily disqualify someone from obtaining a passport.

Felonies are classified as crimes with a penalty of more than one year in prison.

Therefore, individuals who have committed offenses such as murder, treason, or financial crimes, typically with lengthy sentences, may still be eligible to obtain a passport.

Remember, a passport is merely a document that allows you to enter the country. Getting one does not mean you can travel to another country. Each country has its laws, and having a passport will serve no purpose if they don’t allow a felon to enter.

So, the State Department will likely not disqualify anyone, except for a drug trafficking conviction across borders, from getting a passport.

Can You Get An American Passport if You Owe Child Support?

There are other reasons apart from a criminal conviction that will disqualify you from getting a passport. Even if you have a clean slate from any criminal activities but fall into one of these categories, your chance of getting a passport is slim.

Here are some reasons that will disqualify you from getting a U.S. passport:

  • You owe $2,500 or more in back child support
  •  Owe the government because of a loan

Other reasons for getting denied are:

  • You are currently charged with a felony, or a felony arrest warrant is outstanding.
  • You are currently in prison
  • On parole for felony drug charges
  • You have a court order, a probation order, or a parole order status that you cannot leave the count.   

How can you find out if you are on the passport denial list?

To find out if you are on the passport denial list, contact the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs at 1-877-487-2778 or email them at travel@state.gov. Additionally, you can visit the U.S. Department of State’s website to learn about the types of passport denials and how to appeal them if needed.


In conclusion, while a felon can apply for and obtain a passport depending on the severity of their conviction, it is key to remember that if granted a passport, the individual may be subjected to further screening at ports of entry or leaving a country.