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I was turned down for a passport due to past child support. What can I do?

by Ryan
(Nashville, TN USA)

Question: I was denied a passport due to past due child support. I was hired for a job in Nashville, TN. The company I was hired for is not currently in Nashville. It is based in Canada. I will be the opening general manager in Nashville. The corporate office and training will be in Toronto, Canada. What is the best option for me to be able to get the training done? The training program will last 10 days.

Answer: All U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport to enter or re-enter the United States via air from Canada. For entry into the United States via land and sea borders, U.S. citizens must present either a U.S. passport, passport card, NEXUS card, Enhanced Drivers License or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document.

The NEXUS card is a trusted traveler program for U.S. citizens who travel frequently to Canada. Participants must be pre-approved. Since you only plan to visit Canada one time for the training, then you are ineligible for this program.

Tennessee does not offer an enhanced driver's license. Therefore, the only acceptable documents that you could use to return to the United States are the passport card or passport book.

U.S. citizens who are in arrears of child support in the amount of $2500 or more are not eligible for a passport. You should make arrangements to pay the state where child support is owed BEFORE you submit your application for a U.S. passport.

All questions about your child support arrears or the status of a payment should be directed to the appropriate state child support enforcement agency. Once payment is arranged, it may take 2-3 weeks before Passport Services is permitted to process your application.

In summary, the only way to travel to Canada and return to the U.S. is if you have a valid passport. The only way to get a passport is to make arrangement to pay the back child support.

The first step to doing this is to contact the state agency to which you owe child support to arrange payment of your arrears.

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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