How Can You Find Out if You Are on the Passport Denial List?
October 19, 2023
3 min. read
The State Department of the United States issues passports to U.S. citizens for traveling overseas. If a parent-applicant owes child support arrears and is past due, the Passport Denial Program comes into place. It originates from a 1997 amendment to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. When a person owes child support exceeding a certain amount, their name is listed on the passport denial program which makes them unable to obtain a US passport.
How can you find out if you’re on the passport denial list?
When it comes to being on a passport denial list, it usually means that parents owe child support arrears. When the amount of arrears totals $2500, the State Child Support Enforcement Agency reports the fact to the State Department of State through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). A person is put on the list that makes them ineligible for a U.S. passport. The threshold amount limit has been reduced in the past and is prone to be reduced again.
If a person already has a passport, the government may restrict its usage during the renewal process or without it. Passport replacement or a request to add pages to an existing passport may be denied as well.
Once the payment arrangements for child support arrears take place, a person is no longer listed in the passport denial program. Within several weeks, the person’s details will be removed from the passport denial list after all the payments are made.
To find out if you are still on the passport denial list or if the clearance is granted, you can call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.
The parent who owes the child support arrears usually receives an email stating a passport denial notice. It gives details on how to request a hearing to contest, before a passport application denial. After the notice has arrived, the parent will have 30 days for:
- Paying off adequately the past-due child support arrears of $2,500 or below.
- Proving the past-due amount was less than $2,500 at the time the Department of State was notified.
- Asking for an administrative review to contest the passport application denial.
- Contacting the State Child Support Agency if there is an urgent need to travel outside the U.S.:
- Medical emergency or close relative’s death: on a medical authority’s statement provision.
- Military member: a signed statement by a field grade commanding officer (Major or Lieutenant Commander or above) proving that parent requires a passport per active duty.
- A court order that requires reinstatement of a passport: the court order must be provided.
- Travel due to employment: the parent’s employer must agree to wage withholding from the parent who owes arrears.
To resolve the passport denial due to owed child support:
- Pay child support arrears to the State Child Support Enforcement Agency in the state where the payments for child support obligations are past-due. You can find the agency you need following the link: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/css/contact-information/state-and-tribal-child-support-agency-contacts
- Make sure that the State Child Support Enforcement Agency received the payment and contacted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to inform them that acceptable arrangements for payment had been made.
- Learn that HHS takes your name off the list of those who are in arrears of child support and reports to the US State Department which usually takes two or three weeks.
- Then, the US State Department verifies that HHS removed your name from the passport denial list of child support debt.
- Then, the US State Department processes your passport application.
Passport denial list when owed child support arrears: FAQs
What steps can a passport denial program take to encourage payments?
Once a child support order is established, the Child Support Program monitors child support payments.
If the payment is not carried out as ordered, the following steps might be taken: late payment notices, driver’s license suspense, past-due support report to credit agencies, business, professional, and recreational license suspense, money withdrawal from bank accounts, etc.
How to find out if you are no longer on the passport denial list with Health and Human Services?
Once the owed child support arrears are resolved, the state or local Child Support Agency will take action to inform DHHS to take the parent off the passport denial list. They will remove your name within a few weeks, while the Passport Agency holds the passport application for up to 90 days starting from the date of a passport denial.
If it takes longer than 90 days to clear the parent off the passport denial list, they will have to re-submit their passport application with recent passport photos. In case, it happens you can always resolve this problem quickly. For example, go online to get a passport photo done immediately using a photo tool. Or as per usual go to a store or pharmacy, say, for a passport photo at Rite Aid.