How does a felony charge affect obtaining a passport?

Learn more about traveling to a foreign country when you have a felony conviction. Find out about passport limitations and restrictions.

To travel outside of the United States, a person must have a passport. If a person has a felony conviction in Tennessee, this may have an impact on whether he or she can get a passport, which is a requirement to leave the country. However, it is important to keep in mind that a felony conviction does not prevent everyone from getting a passport. So, before trying to book a trip to a foreign country, a person should understand the laws.

Who can and cannot get a passport?

According to USA Today, most felons can get a passport without a problem. This is assuming a person is not currently awaiting trial, on probation or parole or otherwise banned from leaving the country. There are certain convictions that will take away a person's right to leave the country and get a passport and some situations that prevent getting a passport.

If a person has a conviction for trafficking drugs across country borders, then he or she cannot get a passport. It is also not allowed for anyone who owes more than $2,500 in outstanding child support or specific government loans. According to Help for Felons, treason convictions also prevent a person from getting this document.

What are other considerations when traveling abroad?

There is no question about criminal history on the application for a passport, but one thing a person needs to keep in mind is that a passport is simply a form of international identification. It allows a person to get back into the U.S. but does not allow entry into a foreign country.

Typically, for short visits, having your passport will be enough to enter most countries. However, if a person wants to stay for a longer time or enter some countries, he or she will also need a visa. Getting a visa does require a criminal background check and could prevent a person from being able to travel to some countries if he or she has a felony conviction.

Traveling outside of the U.S. is a fun experience. However, due to a felony conviction, there could be travel limitations. There also may be restrictions to places Canada or other countries for some misdemeanors such as DUI. Most convicted felons can easily get a passport without any issues, but visiting some countries may not be as simple due to restrictions and limitations set by those countries' governments. If you have a felony conviction and wish to travel abroad, it could help to speak with an attorney, such as Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers.