Passport Information for Judges and Lawyers

This page provides information for judges and lawyers about U.S. passports for adults and children.
  • The Secretary of State may issue a U.S. passport only to U.S. citizens and nationals.
  • Every U.S. citizen is entitled to a U.S. passport if they follow all requirements, and there is no statutory or regulatory reason to deny the passport.



Passports for Minors

  • A minor is an unmarried, unemancipated person under the age of 18. Unemancipated means someone is under the care and custody of parents or guardians. 
  • We have special requirements for applying for a minor's passport under the age of 16 and age 16-17

Can a state court order a parent to surrender a child's passport?

  • Yes. A state court can order a parent to surrender a child's passport to the court or the court’s designee. The court may hold the passport as long as necessary to reduce the likelihood of the minor being taken from the United States. 
What is the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program?
  • A parent or attorney may request to place the child’s name in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program, which notifies the requesting parent or attorney that a passport application is being filed for the child. In these cases, if we have a court order granting sole custody to one parent or restricting the child’s travel, we will deny the passport application.
Other information
  • Either parent or guardian, with or without custody, can obtain information about a minor's passport status unless parental rights have been removed.
  • You can request certified copies of a child’s passport application.



Providing Assistance to Law Enforcement Agencies in Abduction Cases

Sharing information about a fugitive 
  • Law enforcement agencies may enter information into the Department's passport name check system for an adult who is subject to a 'Federal Warrant for Parental Child Abduction' or 'Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution.' This action can assist in locating the fugitive, preventing issuance of a U.S. passport, or forcing the return of the individual to the United States.
When and how we revoke a U.S. passport
  • We may revoke a passport when the person obtained their passport fraudulently, the passport was issued in error, the person’s certificate of naturalization was cancelled by a federal court, or the person would not be entitled to a new passport under 22 C.F.R. 51.70 (a) or (b). 
  • When we inform foreign law enforcement agencies that the passport of a U.S. citizen in foreign custody has been revoked, the foreign country will deport the person under escort because of that person’s status as an undocumented alien.
  • Passport revocation (or the threat of passport revocation) is especially valuable when attempting to convince a parent to return, with the child, to the United States.
  • To begin the revocation process, law enforcement officers should make a request, in writing, to the Office of Adjudication. The address is:
    • U.S. Department of State
      Office of Adjudication (CA/PPT/S/A)
      44132 Mercure Cir
      PO Box 1243
      Sterling, VA 20166-1243

Civil Law Enforcement Requests for an Adult

  • We may release passport information after receiving a written request from the presiding judge in a domestic civil suit. The passport information may be released to the court relating to a party who has been ordered to surrender their U.S. passport.
  • We will release information about the person’s passport status to a requesting judge and will inform the judge if that person applies for a new passport.
  • We will not deny a passport based on the request, but the judge can invoke state civil contempt sanctions based on the information.
  • If requested to do so by the court, we will delay issuing a passport for a short period of time – generally 10 days. This delay can prevent a parent’s use of a passport in international child abduction when the judge has placed a passport restriction as a condition of visitation or other parental privilege.
How can judges request passport information?
  • Judges may request information about a party whom they have ordered to turn in their current passport by writing to the Office of Adjudication. The address is:
    • U.S. Department of State
      Office of Adjudication (CA/PPT/S/A)
      44132 Mercure Cir
      PO Box 1243
      Sterling, VA 20166-1243
  • Follow the format of the sample letter below:

Case No: ______________________

Dear Director of the Office of Adjudication:

I am writing to request that _______________________, a party to the above captioned suit, be placed into the passport lookout database, and that you inform me if he /she applies for a new passport within the next year.

Mr./Ms. ___________________________________ has surrendered his/her

United States passport, number __________________, per order of this court.

Mr./Ms. __________________’s identifying information is as follows:

Date of Birth: _______________, Place of Birth: _________________________,

Social Security Number: ________________.

Should Mr./Ms. ___________________ apply for a new passport, please notify me or my clerk at the following telephone number and address:

(Address Line)
(Address Line)
(Address Line)
(Telephone No.)
(Fax No.)


_____________________, Judge


Last Updated: November 29, 2022