Do They Run Background Checks for Passports? -
Legal Issues

Do They Run Background Checks for Passports?

Do They Run Background Checks for Passports

Many felons can recall having the desire to travel before their felony conviction. They may have dreamed of traveling abroad, and for some this may have been a reality with a valid passport.

This blog post will address the question of whether or not they run background checks for passports.

  • What Is Included in a Background Check?
  • Travel Restrictions
  • Passport Application
  • Passport Background Check?
  • Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?
  • Tips for Success in Obtaining a Passport

What Is Included in a Background Check?

The government may review an applicant’s background because they may not want to issue a passport who is dishonest and has a criminal record. This may be a challenge for felons. Their criminal history can be a problem when applying for a passport even if they are now committed to living an honest lifestyle.

Agencies like the government may view:

  • Credit reports
  • Driving records
  • Educational records
  • Criminal offenses

This allows the federal government to identify risks for security and safety issues. When applying to the State Department for a passport, criminal offenses will be the focus of a background check.

The criminal record review conducted of a background check includes examining criminal history files for any criminal offenses, which will reveal all convictions and non-convictions, including cases not prosecuted or ones dismissed. Convictions can be reported with no time limit while a non-conviction will show up for seven years. A crime will not show up on a background check if a felon has his or her record expunged.

Travel Restrictions

Following release, felons must complete the terms of their sentence, including probation. During the probation period, felons are restricted from leaving the district in which they reside without permission from their probation officer.

Travel outside the U.S. is out of the question until the conditions of probation have been satisfied entirely. Once this is accomplished, travel beyond the U.S. border is possible.

Passport Application

A passport is a document obtained through the State Department of the U.S government that allows someone to travel between countries and verifies that a person is a U.S. citizen. All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport to travel to and come back from any country. When applying for a passport, a person must prove citizenship and identity. The documents submitted can be a previously issued passport, a certified birth certificate, or a naturalization certificate, which are verified are for authenticity.

If someone shows evidence of citizenship with a certified birth certificate issued by a U.S. city, state, or country, the document must include an applicant’s full name, place of birth, and the date of birth.

It should also show both of the parents’ full names and must display the date the form was filed, which must be within one year of the birth date. The document must also be signed by a registrar and show a multi-colored, embossed, or impressed registrar seal.

Felons are able to obtain a passport. A criminal conviction will not prevent someone from getting a passport. A passport is primarily a form of identification that certifies a person’s service citizenship. A passport application form does not include questions about an applicant’s criminal history.

A convicted criminal can obtain a passport to leave the U.S., but may have difficulty entering the country because of the requirement to have a visa which is issued by the country he or she wants to enter.

Passport Background Check?

A background check is completed on anyone applying to obtain a passport. When applying for a passport, an applicant’s name is checked against a federal criminal database to ensure eligibility for a passport.

Being convicted of drug trafficking or a crime of treason against the U.S. may prevent felons from being able to obtain a passport, as well as for anyone owing at least a certain amount of child support.

Having current legal charges pending can also prevent having a passport. This is because leaving the country will be interpreted as an unlawful attempt to avoid prosecution, which is a federal crime.

If there is a federal arrest warrant, a state or federal criminal court order, or a request for extradition, the application for a passport will be denied. Someone who has been accused of a crime and released on probation may not be eligible to leave the country. A condition of probation or parole may be that a felon must remain in the U.S.

If someone has been convicted of an offense involving treason, he or she will be denied a passport. If an applicant was convicted of a federal or state drug felony and used the passport to cross an international border or used it in other ways in the offense, he or she will be denied a passport.

Anyone who owes more than $5000 in back child support or has an outstanding arrest warrant will also be denied a passport. An outstanding arrest warrant does not include parking tickets or civil violations.

Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?

Doing a background check on him or herself before applying for a passport will allow a felon to know exactly what will be discovered when the federal government does its review. A felon with any questions can contact an attorney. It is essential to take action and not risk a chance on the results.

There are different kinds of personal background checks that a felon can run:

  • From the court in which he or she was charged
  • A credit report will help determine how financially responsible an individual is
  • Driving records for any job involving driving, such as a truck driver
  • An educational report through the National Student Clearing House

For someone wanting to do a background check on themselves, there are places that can help. A felon would have the best chance at getting a passport by having his or her record expunged.

Tips for Success in Obtaining a Passport

A felon who is trying to get a passport should not hide the fact that he or she has a felony conviction. Instead, explain the facts about that conviction without emotion.

It is never a good idea to lie about one’s past on any application, including one for a passport. This could result in not being considered for a passport if the federal government finds out about it and could result in criminal prosecution for filing a fraudulent application.

Take responsibility for past actions and explain how you as a felon are putting your life in order. Doing your own background check allows you to know what the government will see on your record.

Remember that you are not defined by your crime. You must be willing to seeing yourself in a different light and ready to establish an honest life. The best opportunity for success in a new life begins with having support from family and friends. After all, felons do make good employees.

So what do you think about this blog post about whether or not the federal government runs background checks for passports? Have you or someone you know had a background check run for a passport? What was that like and was he or she successful in obtaining a passport? Please tell us in the comments below.

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