WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
Can registered sex offenders be issued a passport?
Yes, but the passports must be labeled with their status as a registered sex offender.
- U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Congressman Chris Smith’s website
- U.S. Marshals Service
After a viewer heard convicted sex offender Jeff Epstein was coming back to the United States from Paris when authorities arrested him on sex trafficking charges in New Jersey, he said he thought registered sex offenders are not allowed passports.
So, we're verifying: Can a registered sex offender have a passport?
This question ties into the 1994 murder of young Megan Kanka and the creation of Megan’s Law.
It requires federal and state law enforcement to make registered sex offender information available to the public.
That identifier label is printed inside the passport book cover and explicitly says: "The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor and is a covered sex offender according to U.S. Code 22."
Now, convicted covered sex offenders cannot be issued a passport card, since the identifier label cannot be printed on there.
So we verified, yes, registered sex offenders are allowed to have passports as it’s labeled with their status.
But remember, it's still up to those governments to either deny or allow entry into their countries.