Traveling abroad is a great American pastime. Not only do Americans travel overseas to visit family and see new and exciting places, but they travel around the world frequently for their jobs. If you intend to travel overseas for business, pleasure, or for adoption, educational, or religious purposes and you owe child support, your U.S. passport application may be denied.
Generally, it’s easy for people to apply for and obtain U.S. passports. A passport won’t necessarily be denied because someone has a criminal record, even a felony on their record, but if they owe child support, that could be an entirely different story.
Child Support Past-Due?
According to travel.state.gov, “If you owe $2,500 or more in child support, you are not eligible to receive a U.S. passport.” But why did the government take such harsh measures to collect past-due child support? According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement, sometimes, it can be difficult to collect past-due child support, especially when the paying parent owes tens of thousands of dollars.
“The average amount owed among noncustodial parents with child support debt is more than $21,000,” states the Office of Child Support Enforcement. Adding, “In some instances, it isn’t because these parents can’t pay, but they choose not to pay.” The Passport Denial Program has been instrumental in collecting child support arrears from parents who wish to travel abroad for work, pleasure, to visit family, for second honeymoons, or for some other reason.
Since the Passport Denial Program was first established, states across the country have reported collecting nearly $500 million dollars in past-due child support. In 2018 alone, over $33 million was collected by all states combined. Between January and October 2019, there were three big collections exceeding $100,000, and that included the fourth largest ever collection, which was more than $401,000. In the last case, the state receiving collection was in New York and the parent wanted to travel to East Asia.