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Can I get a passport if I have a previous felony drug conviction?

by Steven
(Cadillac, Michigan)

Question: I have a previous felony drug conviction. I was invited to Malawi, Africa as part of a missionary team. Will I be able to obtain a passport?

I am 55 years old and has worked in healthcare/education for 35 years. I have had formal education (BA & BS) and a passion for community work. I completed rehab and outpatient counseling, paid my fines and has been discharged from probation.

My pastor asked if I would be interested in going to Malawi, Africa as part of a health care team consisting of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and educators. We would travel in May and stay in Malawi for approximately 2 weeks.

The court has no travel restrictions on me; I do not have child support or alimony payments and no history of any violent crime of any type. What are my chances of obtaining a passport? What, if any, problems should I try to anticipate in applying for my passport?

Answer: There are a couple of things to consider. Most American citizens convicted of a felony offense are able to obtain a passport. Those convicted of drug-related offenses are prohibited from getting a passport if the offense involved crossing international borders.

While the United States may issue a passport, many countries do not permit individuals who have a criminal record to enter. Please contact the Malawi consular services concerning this issue.

Malawi Embassy.

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Letter in the mail
by: Anonymous

Questions: I already have my passport and got a probation felony charge. Do you get a letter in the mail if your passport is revoked or suspended?

Answer: Yes, you will receive a letter in the mail if your passport is revoked. Not all felony convictions result in passport denial.

felony and would like passport to take cruise
by: Anonymous

Questions: My boyfriend has a felony and we would like to know if we would be permitted a passport to take a cruise to the Caribbean islands.

Answer: In most cases, an American citizens who have a prior felony conviction can obtain a passport. Note, possession of a passport does not grant permission to enter another country. Some countries place restrictions on the entrance of persons with previous criminal convictions. You need to verify the entrance requirements of the countries you plan to visit.

Also, passports are not required for a closed-loop cruise. Contact the cruise line to ask if the cruise you plan to take is closed loop and if a passport is required.

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UPDATE: Mailing delays and high demand are impacting passport processing. The Department of State's processing times begin when applications are received at a passport agency or center and not when you mail them or apply at a local acceptance facility.

Standard service may take between 10 and 13 weeks. This timeframe does not include delivery time. Mailing times vary across the country.

Expedited service takes from 7 to 9 weeks excluding mailing times on the front and back end. Current mailing delays are significant. Requesting 1-2-day mailing service is recommended.

Regional passport agencies are offering two types of appointments: Life-of-Death Emergency Service and Urgent Travel Service.

Life-or-death emergencies are serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, sibling, and grandparent) that require you to travel outside the United States within 3 business days.

If you need to travel due to a qualified life-or-death emergency, please call the National Passport Information Center for an appointment.

For Urgent Travel Service, you need to call 14 days before your scheduled international travel or 28 days if you also need to secure a foreign visa.

If you need to travel urgently for reasons other than a life-or-death emergency, please call the NPIC.

A registered expedited passport courier can often assist in obtaining a passport as quickly as the same day. You can learn more about this service here.

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