Yes. While federal and state law does allow the repossession and denial of passports for child support non-payment, they do require that the Division of Child Support (DCS) wait until a certain amount of debt has been reached before DCS can take collection actions.

Why Would My Passport Be Denied or Revoked?

Under federal law, any non-custodial parent who owes $2500 or more in child support debt will be notified that the Department of State (DOS) will deny issuance or renewal of any passport until the debt is paid.

How Can I Get My Passport Released?

You may have your passport returned (or application hold released) if you:

  • Have paid the full amount of outstanding and current child support.
  • Need your passport for employment purposes or military deployment. A non-custodial parent who needs his passport for employment or deployment must request a release that includes written verification from an employer or a commanding officer.
  • Have a family emergency that requires immediate travel. The federal government may make an exception in your case if you need your passport for a life or death situation involving an immediate family member—such as a parent, child, or other close blood relation. You must prove that your travel is required by providing a letter (on letterhead) from a doctor, a hospital, the Red Cross, or other recognized medical official.

In most cases, your passport hold will not be automatically released. You will have to notify the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) in order to have your passport and travel rights returned.

Your passport is not the only thing you might lose if you do not make child support payments. DCS may also revoke your driver’s license, repossess your car, garnish your wages, and take other action against you in order to collect past debts. Click the link on this page to find out how you may be able to lower your payments and protect your property in our FREE men's divorce guide e-book.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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