If my husband has been convicted of a felony, can he get a passport?

I am an Italian citizen; my husband is a US citizen. On his record, he has a felony conviction from many years ago for transportation of marijuana or ale (before it was decriminalized in the state in question). We want to move to Italy. Will he have a problem getting his US passport and going to Italy with me, given that he is my husband and thus does not require a visa?

Asked on July 7, 2014 under Immigration Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A person who has been convicted of a felony is not barred from obtaining a passport and may travel freely either inside or outside the US (assuming that this does not run contrary to a condition imposed during sentencing or that differs from a term of any probation/parole that they may still be subject to).

When traveling outside the US or US territory however, a convicted criminal may have trouble gaining entry into their destination country.  When entering other countries, in addition to producing their passport, foreign travelers must typically also obtain a visa.  If the destination country runs a background check as part of their visa issuing process, a criminal record may prevent someone from being granted entry. 

According to you, however, since you are an Italian citizen and your husband will be traveling with you, he need not obtain a visa. Then, in this case he should not be denied entry to Italy. However, you should confirm all of this with the Italian consulate.

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