In the United States
, a convicted felon has restricted privileges. There are restrictions on everything from the types of jobs a felon can obtain to the place he may live. These restrictions are handed down by the judge when the felon is convicted. Obtaining a passport is another privilege that may be hindered or prohibited by the court. Although there is no law that says felons can't have passports, the country in which you plan to visit can deny you passage.
Getting a Passport
Check with your probation officer, your attorney or the court clerk where you were sentenced to determine whether you are allowed to obtain a passport. Getting one despite courts orders can result in even more legal trouble. If this is your first time applying, bring proof of U.S. citizenship, two passport photos, valid photo identification and a copy of the DS-11 application, which can be downloaded from the Internet. Fill out and submit your application and all of the supporting documents at a U.S. post office.
Processing the Application
The application is reviewed by the U.S. State Department, which can approve or deny it. If you are a felon, your application might be denied because it violates a condition of parole or probation that prohibits you from leaving the United States. A federal warrant for arrest, a state or federal criminal court order, and nonpayment of child support are a few more reasons for passport denial. If you think the denial is in error, contact the agency behind the denial, such as your probation officer or court clerk where you were sentenced.
Even if the application is approved, you are still not clear. You can still be denied passage into a country because of the felony. Many countries do not allow felons to enter. Contact the U.S. State Department to find out which countries will not allow you in while you are planning your trip. Some countries will restrict your movements while there. This includes denying you entry into certain buildings and monuments or confining your movements to specific areas. Any restrictions must be followed, or the result is arrest and/or deportation.
Jonita Davis is freelance writer and marketing consultant. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "The LaPorte County Herald Argus" and Work.com. Davis also authored the book, "Michigan City Marinas," which covers the history of the Michigan City Port Authority. Davis holds a bachelor's degree in English from Purdue University.