Passport Information for Judges and Lawyers

Protecting Children Under Age 18

Surrendering passports: State courts can order a parent or guardian to surrender a child's passport. The court may hold the passport to prevent the child's abduction to another country. 

Preventing child abduction: Enroll a child in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program. We will alert you if the child has a U.S. passport application, or if the child received a U.S. passport. If a court gives sole custody to one parent or restricts the child’s travel, we will deny the passport application.

Getting records: Both parents or guardians can get information about their child's passport status, and get copies of a child’s application. Both parents and guardians can get this information unless a court takes away their parental rights. 

How We Support Law Enforcement Agencies in Abduction Cases

Sharing information about a fugitive: Law enforcement agencies can inform us of an adult who has a warrant for child abduction, or is a fugitive. To enter the adult's name in our system, follow the steps on the Passport Information for Law Enforcement page

Revoking a U.S. passport: When we inform a foreign country that we revoked the passport of a U.S. citizen in their custody, the foreign country will deport the person. Revoking a passport helps ensure a parent will return to the United States with their child. To submit a request for revoking a passport, follow the steps on the Passport Information for Law Enforcement page

How Judges Can Request An Adult's Passport Information

  • We may release information about a person ordered to surrender their U.S. passport.
  • To submit a request, use this sample letter and mail it to this address on your official letterhead:
    • U.S. Department of State
      Office of Adjudication (CA/PPT/S/A)
      44132 Mercure Cir
      PO Box 1243
      Sterling, VA 20166-1243
  • After receiving the request, we:
    • Will release information about the person’s passport status and will inform the judge if that person applies for a new passport.
    • Will not deny a passport, but the judge can invoke state civil contempt sanctions based on the information.
    • Will delay issuing a passport for a short period of time – generally 10 days (if asked to do so by the court). 
      • This delay can prevent a parent’s use of a passport in international child abduction cases.

Last Updated: April 24, 2024