Who is eligible for a U.S. Passport?

To be eligible for a U.S. passport, you must:[204]

    Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national;
    Provide a Social Security Number, proof of citizenship, and proof of identity;
    NOT be currently “under sentence” (incarcerated, on probation, or on parole) for any federal or state drug felony committed while using a passport or crossing international borders (drug trafficking);[205]
    NOT have a conviction for sex trafficking;[206]
    NOT be under a court order or sentence condition forbidding you from leaving the country — for example, if your conditions of parole, probation, or some other type of supervision forbid you from leaving the U.S.,[207] you need to ask your supervising officer or the court for permission to get a U.S. passport or to change the conditions;
    Get permission from your supervising officer if you are under any form of supervision but are allowed to leave the country (see the IMPORTANT NOTE below about getting permission from a supervising officer);
    NOT have any state or federal warrants out for your arrest;[208]
    NOT owe $2,500 or more in child support.[209] For more information about paying off your child support debt, go to the COURT-ORDERED DEBT CHAPTER, beginning on PG. 654.

IMPORTANT! GET PERMISSION FROM YOUR PAROLE OR PROBATION OFFICER TO APPLY FOR A PASSPORT OR TRAVEL: If you are on supervision (like parole or probation), you MUST get permission from your parole or probation officer if you want to apply for a Passport (even if you are legally allowed to leave the country).[210] The officer can write a letter on your behalf giving the passport agency permission to issue you a U.S. Passport. You must submit this letter with your passport application. This is required even if you only want to use the Passport as photo ID, and don’t plan to travel outside of the country. If you submit an application for a U.S. Passport without first getting written approval from your supervising officer, you could face legal consequences, including your probation being revoked or a warrant being issued for your arrest.[211]


  1. 204

    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/apply.html.

  2. 205

    22 U.S.C. § 2714; see also 22 C.F.R. § 51.61. There are also a few misdemeanor offenses, such as federal and state drug offenses, that would make someone ineligible for a U.S. passport. See 22 U.S.C. § 2714.

  3. 206

    22 U.S.C. § 212a.

  4. 207

    22 C.F.R. § 51.70(a)(2).

  5. 208

    22 C.F.R. § 51.60.

  6. 209

    42 U.S.C. § 652(k).

  7. 210

    E-mail from National Passport Information Center Agent 2019 (Jan. 21, 2015, 0:15 p.m.) (on file with author).

  8. 211

    Telephone call with agent at the U.S. Department of State Office of Legal Affairs (Jan. 21, 2015).