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Can you get a passport if I have a open bench warrant?

Question: I went to court for a DUI, got it all taken care of then about a year later, I got another DUI. I moved away due to army relocation.

Several months later, I was contacted by the courts saying that I had to appear in court because I was on unsupervised probation. I had no knowledge of this and explained that I could not make it to court in Washington state because I was currently living in Georgia and getting ready to deploy to Iraq. I was then informed that a warrant would be issued for me.

I am going to be coming back from Iraq in a couple of months and want to go on a cruise to the Bahamas with my girlfriend. I would like to know if I can get a passport with an open warrant, and if I will have any issues going through customs both leaving and returning?

Thank you for your time and any guidance you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: According to Title 22: Foreign Relations, PART 51—PASSPORTS, Subpart E — Denial, Revocation, and Restriction of Passports,
§ 51.60 Denial and restriction of passports:
(b) The Department may refuse to issue a passport in any case in which the Department determines or is informed by competent authority that:

(1) The applicant is the subject of an outstanding Federal warrant of arrest for a felony, including a warrant issued under the Federal Fugitive Felon Act (18 U.S.C. 1073); or

(2) The applicant is subject to a criminal court order, condition of probation, or condition of parole, any of which forbids departure from the United States and the violation of which could result in the issuance of a Federal warrant of arrest, including a warrant issued under the Federal Fugitive Felon Act; or

(9) The applicant is the subject of an outstanding state or local warrant of arrest for a felony;

From the above, passports are only denied in the case of felony offenses or court orders that were issued prohibiting the person from exiting the country.

Having said that, you probably do not need a passport. Passports are not required on closed-loop cruises. A closed-loop cruise is one that begins and ends in the same U.S. location.

We cannot confirm whether you will or will not have problems at customs.

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