Passport Restrictions for Minors
- A state court has the authority to order a parent, possessing a child’s passport, to surrender the passport to the court or the court’s designee.
- Such an order is enforceable by the court’s authorities under its state’s law.
- The court may hold the passport as long as it deems necessary to reduce the likelihood of the removal of a minor child from the United States.
- In such cases, the action to withhold the passport should be reported to the Office of Children’s Issues to prevent unauthorized attempts to replace it.
- Questions about the possible value of passport revocation should be sent to the Office of Adjudication.
- At the request of either parent or his/her attorney, the Department of State will give effect to the intent of state civil court orders regarding a child’s custody and/or travel by denying a minor child’s passport when appropriate. A request for passport denial should be sent to the Office of Children’s Issues.
- A parent or attorney may request to place the child’s name in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) lookout system. Under this system, the Department of State will notify the requesting parent or attorney that a passport application is being filed for the child. In these cases, if the Department has a court order granting sole custody to one parent or restricting the child’s travel on file, the passport would be denied.
- Unless parental rights have been removed, either parent, with or without custody, can obtain information about his/her minor child’s passport status as part of a passport restriction request. Certified copies of a child’s passport application can be obtained from:
U.S. Department of State
44132 Mercure Circle
PO Box 1227
Sterling, VA 20166-1227
Civil Law Enforcement Requests Relating to an Adult
- Upon written request from the presiding judge in a domestic civil suit, passport information may be released to the court relating to a party who has been ordered to surrender their U.S. passport.
- The Department of State will release information about the person’s current passport status to a requesting judge and will inform the judge if that person applies for a new passport.
- Passport issuance will not be denied 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, issuance of the passport may be delayed for a minimal period of time – generally 10 days. This can be helpful to 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.
- Judges may request information about a party whom they have ordered to turn in their current passport by writing to the Office of Adjudication. See the sample letter below as guidance for drafting a passport information request, and provide all information requested:
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: