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Can I Get a U.S. Passport if I Owe Child Support?

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These days, it’s very difficult for a non-custodial parent to avoid paying child support. If such a parent falls behind on their child support payments, all sorts of negative consequences can ensue. For example, their wages can be garnished, their tax refund can be intercepted, their driver license can be suspended, and their ability to travel abroad can be blocked. Meaning, their U.S. passport can be cancelled or denied.

Since a lot of people travel overseas for business and pleasure, we’re dedicating this post to how past-due child support arrears can affect a parent’s ability to travel abroad. At what point is a U.S. passport denied for child support arrears? According to the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs, “If you owe $2,500 or more in child support, you are not eligible to receive a U.S. passport.”

Getting Your Passport Privileges Back

If you’re like a lot of people, you need to have your U.S. passport so you can travel abroad for work, a second honeymoon, or to see family. If you owe more than $2,500 in child support, you’re going to need to take steps to get your passport privileges back. Here’s how the process works:

  • You will have to arrange to pay the arrears to the California Department of Child Support Services.
  • Once you’ve caught up on your past-due arrears, the child support enforcement agency will report to U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) that you’ve entered into an acceptable payment arrangement.
  • The HHS will remove your name from the list that the agency reports to the Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs.
  • The Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs will verify with the HHS that it removed your name from the list.
  • Your U.S. passport application will be processed as usual.

Do you have a child support issue that needs attention? If so, we urge you to contact our San Diego family law firm for professional legal assistance. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.


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