If Ihave a felony conviction, willI be able to get a passport?

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If Ihave a felony conviction, willI be able to get a passport?

Credit card theft from 2000.

Asked on November 6, 2010 under Criminal Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A criminal conviction doesn't prevent someone from obtaining a passport. Basically all that a passport is, is an identity document that certifies a person's citizenship, nothing more. In fact, the application form for a passport doesn't even ask the applicant about their criminal history. Consequently convicted criminals, including felons, can receive a passport unless the terms of sentencing, probation, or parole prohibit the person from obtaining one. The only 2 exceptions to this rule. A passport may be denied if: (1) a person has been convicted of a treasonable offense; and (2) a person was convicted of a federal or state drug felony, and used their passport to cross an international border or in some other way used it to further the offense; they will not be issued a passport (note: this prohibition only lasts while they are imprisoned or while they are on probation/parole).

You should be aware that while you may obtain a passport to leave the US, you may have trouble gaining entry to the country of your destination. This reason is that typically when you travel internationally, a visa to enter a country must be obtained. If the destination country runs a background check as part of their visa issuing process, it may prohibit you from entering due to your criminal record. The safest thing to do in a situation such as this is to find out just how the country that you are planning on traveling to treats such a case.


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