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How To Remedy Passport Denial For Failure To Pay Child Support

Owe more than $2,500 in child support? You will not be given a U.S. passport, even if you’re a citizen.

In recent years, the Child Support Enforcement Program has added new penalties to the list of tools used to persuade parents to catch up on back child support. If you fall significantly behind in your child support payments, the privilege of international travel may be revoked by confiscation of your U.S. passport or denial of your passport application.

How does the U.S. government find out who owes child support?

The U.S. Passport Agency automatically receives information from a database kept by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The information in this database originally comes from county district attorney offices that work on child enforcement, which reports support amounts owed (“arrearages”) to DHHS.

How can I get or reclaim a U.S. Passport if I owe child support? What are the steps I should take if my passport has been denied because of a child support debt?

Once your passport is revoked or denied for past due child support, there is only one way to restore this privilege and travel abroad: pay. Customarily, once a non-custodial parent’s child support obligation becomes more than $2,500 past due, Child Support Enforcement (CSE) will send notice of the case’s referral to the Passport Denial Program (PDP). Additionally, if you apply for a new passport or renewal of a previous one, Passport Services will notify you that your application is being held for 90 days, pending payment of the past due child support. To remove these restrictions and restore eligibility, you must pay all past due monies or enter into an approved payment arrangement. Once this is done, CSE will notify PDP, which will release your name from their national child support arrearage list. If you applied for a passport or renewal and your name is released within the 90-day hold period, Passport Services will resume processing your application. If not, a new application is required.

You must contact your local child support agency to make arrangements to pay your past-due child support debt or otherwise reach some satisfactory agreement. If you owe child support in more than one U.S. state, then it is likely that all of them reported your name to the Passport Denial program. In that case, you will need to negotiate satisfactory agreements with all of them before you can be cleared to receive a U.S. passport.

How do I find the correct child support agency for my state?

To find the relevant agency, see the State Child Support Enforcement Agencies, Department of State Contacts list on the DHHS website. Once the debt has been satisfied or a satisfactory agreement has been reached, the State(s) in question will request that OCSE and DHHS remove your name from the database list of the passport denial program. This typically takes two or three weeks but we’ll show you how to accomplish this in a fraction of that time.

What if I paid the child support obligation? Can’t I just show proof of payment to Passport Services?

Passport Services does not control the national child support arrearage list; therefore, it neither adds names to the list nor removes names from it. This is the responsibility of the Passport Denial Program. Passport Services simply consults the registry when processing passport applications. As a result, if your name remains on the list after satisfying your child support obligation, you will need to contact CSE and request removal. Only CSE can certify to PDP that your child support obligation has been satisfied and have your name removed from their list of outstanding arrears.

I’m a dad in New York who wants to pay towards the outstanding balance of child support. Who do I contact to work something out?

In New York, contact the following:

By Phone:
Child Support Helpline
Use this number to find out exactly how much you owe in child support.

In Person:
New York City Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE)
Customer Service Walk-in Center:151 West Broadway, 4th floor (between Worth and Thomas Streets)
New York, New York 10013
Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Note: If a passport is your only piece of identification, you will not be let into the building even if it is to pay off your child support debt. YOU MUST HAVE A VALID PHOTO ID. Absolutely no exceptions.

I’m on a budget and I’m not sure I can pay the child support obligation. What do I  do?

Pay the child support in full, if possible. If not, make sure the remaining balance is well under $2500. Otherwise, no passport.

Send check or money order by certified mail to:
NYS Child Support Processing Center (SDU)
PO Box 15363
Albany NY 12212-5363

I hear this process can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks! What do I do if I need to travel and the balance is paid in full? Who do I contact to expedite the process?

Once the balance is satisfactory, contact the following:
Office of Child Support Enforcement (New York)

Child Support Passport Denial Program
Kindly speak to Susan Drayna and let her know you need to have CSE (Child Support Enforcement) release its case and notify PDP (Passport Denial Program) to release your name from the national child support arrearage list.

Child Support (New York)
Kindly speak to Ms. Adams to initiate the prompt release of your passport by withdrawing Passport Denial.

The following day, call:

Child Support Passport Denial Program
Confirm the status of your release with Susan Drayna

After the denial of passport has been withdrawn, contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC), toll free, at 1-877-487-2778 or make an appointment at a regional passport agency.

Assuming you have already submitted an application to the Passport Agency, if you can manage to clear up the child support problem within 90 days of receiving the letter originally denying your passport, the Passport Agency will process your application and mail the passport to you (ordinarily within two to five working days).

I’ve done everything recommended. What do I do if I still have no passport in hand?

If you are having trouble getting action on your application, contact the office of the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) at 1-800-487-2778, or make an appointment at a regional passport agency.


Passport Denial for Failure to Pay Child Support

Office of Child Support Enforcement
Passport Denial
information For Families

Legal Info
Passport Held Due to Nonpayment of Child Support

Office of Child Support Enforcement
Overview of the Passport Denial Program

Office of Child Support Enforcement
State Child Support Agency Passport Denial Program Contacts

Contact Child Support

Division of Child Support Enforcement
Noncustodial Parent Services

The Mayor’s Fatherhood Initiative

Child Support Handbook for Non-Custodial Parents

U.S. Passports & International Travel
New York Passport Agency

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