Can You Leave the Country If You Owe Back Child Support?
If you are like millions of Americans, you will have the need or desire to travel abroad. Perhaps you will want to go overseas for business, to visit family, or to enjoy a second honeymoon with your new husband or wife. However, if you owe back child support, you may not be able to obtain a U.S. passport until you pay off your child support arrears. In other words, you may not be able to travel outside the United States until you resolve your outstanding, overdue child support obligation.
How much child support does someone have to owe before he or she will be denied a U.S. passport? According to the U.S. Department of State, “If you owe $2,500 or more in child support, you are not eligible to receive a U.S. passport.”
How to Get a Passport with Back Child Support?
If you wish to receive a U.S. passport, you will need to pay your child support arrears. In order to do this, you must contact the applicable state child support enforcement agency and arrange to pay your child support arrearage. Once this is done, the following will occur:
- The child support agency will report your payment to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), informing the HHS that you’ve entered into an acceptable payment arrangement.
- The HHS will then remove your name from its list and it will report this update to the Department of State.
- The Department of State will verify with HHS that it removed your name from its list.
- The Department of State will process your application.
If you currently owe child support arrears, be aware that there can be negative consequences, such as driver’s license suspension, your tax refund can be intercepted, you can face contempt of court allegations, and of course – you can be denied a passport. It is highly recommended that you direct all legal questions regarding child support arrears to your legal team, especially since court employees are not authorized to provide legal advice.