The Passport Denial Program: Explained

Applying for a new or renewed passport can be a bit of a stressful time for everyone. You need to make sure that you have all of your paperwork in order and that everything is complete. Do this to avoid your big international trip can go off without delay.

Many people don’t realize that there are certain situations where you will absolutely be denied a passport. Reasons that go above and beyond simply include the wrong type of photo or filling out a form incorrectly. To understand why you might get denied a passport, you must first understand the Passport Denial Program.

What is the Passport Denial Program?

The Passport Denial Program is specifically designed to help states enforce child support-related obligations that people may have. If you owe over $2,500 in back child support, for example, you will be submitted to the Department of State’s Passport Denial Program, at which point the processing of your application will not go through.

The Passport Denial Program is part of the Federal Offset Program and was created in conjunction with the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement.

Can I Still Get a Passport In the Passport Denial Program?

If you feel you have fulfilled your child support obligations and were previously in the Passport Denial Program, don’t worry – hope is still there. Upon being submitted to the Passport Denial Program, the agency will hold your application for a period of 90 days.

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement will then review your case during this period, at which point it will either be released or maintained. If you’re still in the Passport Denial Program after that period of time, you can not get your passport.

If you do find that the OCSE has released your case, the passport agency that you submitted your application through will mail your new or renewal passport to you within two to five business days.

The only situation where this may not be the case is if OCSE takes longer than 90 days. Even if you are deemed eligible to apply for and receive a passport, you must submit a new application.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

There are a few other things that you must be aware of. Especially when applying for a passport with child support obligations. Particularly if you are applying for a passport for the child in question at the same time.

The first is called the Two-Parent Consent Law. This means that you must prove that you have the authority to obtain a passport for the child. Especially if he or she is under the age of 14 years old. You should also be aware of the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program. This means that the child’s legal guardian must be properly notified before a passport application gets approval.

If you’ve just been released from the Passport Denial Program and are worried that you may not receive your passport on time, you can always use an expedited passport service in your area. They can cut the normal processing time from ten to thirteen weeks. Depending on the area of the country where you live.


Make sure you are aware of all the requirements necessary to receive a passport for your child. Be informed and utilize expedited services if needed to ensure that you will have your passport in time for your travels. Good luck!