Find out below, How to apply for a passport? What information does the passport contain? Is there a passport background check? And what do you need to provide when applying?
Curiosity about the world and the foreign travel that goes with it is increasingly popular for holidays and business trips.
However, you will need a passport to cross borders freely. A passport holder has the right not only to cross borders but also to stay on a long-term basis on foreign soil. Owning a passport is also a way to certify citizenship and identify the person traveling.
What is a passport + Passport Background Check?
As you spend another hour queuing for passport control at the airport, it is hard to shake off the thought, “What kind of monster has invented this system?”. As we are experiencing the height of the holiday season, this question is undoubtedly on the mind of a significant proportion of the public.
People had been traveling long before countries, as we know them today, existed, so early rulers regarded the movement of people as natural. There were no regulations, and they did not guard the borders. Authorities collected customs duties in the cities, so they did not need to consider controlling borders, which were often located in the middle of nowhere.
The first mention of a passport comes from the Old Testament in the Book of Nehemiah. According to it, around 450 BC. Nehemiah had to travel to Judea in the service of King Artaxerxes of Persia. The king issued him a document asking the rulers of the countries through which he was traveling to provide him with safe passage and assistance if needed. This was the original function of passports, a function which has largely remained unchanged until today.
Today, the passport document still confirms your identity and country of citizenship. With your passport, you can travel abroad freely. However, some countries may also require a visa for entry. While valid passport documents remain the property of the issuing country, upon expiry, they should be returned when applying for a replacement.
Every adult citizen over 16 is entitled to apply for a passport. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Occasionally, a court order will be presented to the passport agency instructing them to refuse an application or invalidate a passport. This is only done in extreme circumstances, usually when a severe crime has been committed.
What information is stored on a passport?
Like its traditional version, the biometric passport authorizes the crossing of borders between countries worldwide. In addition to the personal data, it includes an electronic microprocessor embedded in the document’s cover, containing the passport owner’s biometric information. The data can be scanned from a distance when crossing borders into a new country.
The United States first started issuing biometric passports to diplomats and other officials in early 2006. From August 2007, all new passports issued are biometric passports. Before biometric passports became the norm, the document included only a photo and basic personal information. Since 2007 the passport also contains a fingerprint stored in an RFID chip.
A list of biometric +data contained on the passport
- last name and first name(s)
- place of birth
- date of birth
- country of citizenship
- facial photo (3d map used by facial recognition software)
- unique identification number
- fingerprints or iris scans
- digital signature
How to apply for a passport?
A passport is issued to any qualifying adult over 16 upon submission of the required application forms, receipt of biometric information, and payment of the applicable fee. Official government passports are usually issued free of charge. No biometric data is included in temporary passports.
Any citizen who is 16 years of age and has total legal capacity can apply for an adult passport. In addition, parents or guardians may do so in the case of minors or incapacitated persons.
The first formality to be fulfilled is completing the application for a passport. Suppose the application is for a first passport. In that case, it can be filled out online, printed, and taken to the nearest passport acceptance facility with relevant supporting documents. Or, in some cases, when international travel is essential in the next 14 days, the passport agency can expedite the process at one of their passport centres.
First-time passport applications take up to 8 weeks. If you travel in less than eight weeks, you must apply for an expedited passport.
Interesting Read: Can a Felon Get a Passport?
Do they run a background check for passport applications?
It is essential to know that when applying for a passport, the agency is required by law to carry out a passport background check. Therefore, when you apply for a passport, you must first provide proof of citizenship and identity. This information is checked to ensure that the applicant is legally a citizen and that the applicant’s identity is genuine.
Most crimes do not affect your ability to obtain a passport; however, some do. For example, people that have been convicted of serious drug offences, especially drug offences that involved crossing borders, would likely be ineligible to apply for a passport.
Sometimes, in a case where there are ongoing criminal matters, courts can apply to stop people from leaving the country. The same goes for people with outstanding arrest warrants, those on bail, parole, or probation. These people could also be illegible from applying for a passport.
In 2013 the US Department of Health and Human Services started placing people who owed more than $2500 in child support on a do not travel list. In these cases, applicants must pay the debt before being allowed to travel. The passport agency continuously checks this list before issuing a passport.
It is also worth noting that if you are applying for a passport for your child, consent is needed from both parents. That is unless only one parent is named on the birth certificate. Failure to provide these consents will result in passport refusal.
As we can see, there is quite an in-depth background check for passport applications. However, suppose you find yourself in a situation where you fall into one of the categories mentioned above. In that case, consulting an attorney is worthwhile before you apply for a passport. They will be able to assist you with the appropriate course of action in your case.
What to do if I am refused a passport?
If your right to hold a passport has been withdrawn or your passport application has been refused, some steps you can take may help. Initially, check that your application is complete, you made the correct payment, ensure that you have used a black pen, and ensure your photo meets the required standards.
If you have followed the steps above and your application is still rejected, the next thing you must do is contact an attorney. This is not a situation that you will be able to resolve alone. An attorney will understand the problem and will be able to provide you with professional help.
Suppose your right to a passport has been withdrawn or refused because of criminal activity or outstanding criminal matters. In that case, you should already be aware of the situation. However, sometimes the reasons are not so clear. Sometimes it can be something simple such as unpaid child support, back taxes or an unpaid federal loan.
Unless you have been convicted of severe crimes or are considered a threat to national security, do not worry. In almost all cases where a passport has been refused, a simple solution will enable you to pack your bags and travel again soon.
Robert Eric (a lover of Cats and Dogs) is the co-founder of HireFelonsJobs. In our search for a better life, after… A platform was created for the purpose of easing the search for ex-convicts.