According to International Megan’s Law, passports of registered sex offenders who have committed crimes against children will now be marked with a unique identifier. This will enable the United States government to notify destination countries about a traveler’s history.
This is one of the most drastic consequences for people required to register under the law after their sentence of incarceration and probation has ended. These travelers will not be able to obtain passport cards, either.
What is a sex offender passport?
If you’re convicted of a sex crime that requires registration on state or federal sex offender registries, it’s likely you’ll have to get a passport if you want to travel abroad. Last year, the State Department started revoking passports of people convicted of child sex crimes in order to comply with International Megan’s Law, which is designed to stop sex tourism and other forms of child exploitation. Those who had passports that did not have the unique identifier will need to reapply for one that does and will have a label stating they’re a registered sex offender.
Passports for sex offenders will be marked with a special “registered sex offender” label and a unique identifier, in addition to the existing information such as name, photo, birth date, citizenship, and other required information. This is the result of International Megan’s Law, which was passed in 2017 and named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka, whose 1994 murder by a convicted child sex offender became a national scandal.
The only exception to this rule will be if you’re on the sex offender registry for a sex crime against a person who is under the age of 13. However, even in that case, you will still have to register if you’re in a relationship with an individual under the age of 18. This is because sex crimes against children are considered aggravated offenses and cannot be expunged from your record.
What is Megan’s Law?
A law passed last year, called International Megan’s Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advanced Notification of Traveling Sex Offenders, or IML, requires the State Department to put a unique identifier on passports for people on the registry. The identifier helps the Department of Justice alert authorities in other countries when someone on the list is going to be visiting them. This could lead to them being denied entry into the country or being arrested upon arrival.
This requirement is named after Megan Kanka, a seven-year-old girl who was murdered by a convicted sex offender in 1994. This law also requires sex offenders to report their intent to travel abroad to the local registries. If they fail to do this, it can result in a federal felony charge against them.
The law also allows the government to revoke passports that don’t contain the identifier. It is expected to start revoking passports of covered sex offenders this week. The affected individuals will have to apply for a new passport before they can travel internationally.
WUSA9 reports that despite this law, it still leaves it up to individual countries to deny or allow registration of sex offenders into their borders. This is why it’s crucial to have an aggressive criminal defense attorney by your side if you find yourself facing a sex offender charge or being placed on the registry.
How do I apply for a sex offender passport?
Generally speaking, people who are required to register on the sex offender registry can still obtain a passport. However, they must apply for a special “registered sex offender” passport. This passport has a unique identifier on it that lets officials know that the person is a registered sex offender. This new requirement is the result of a law passed last year known as International Megan’s Law.
The new requirements set out in the law are aimed at preventing child exploitation and other sexual crimes through advanced notification of traveling sex offenders. It requires that the State Department include a unique identifier on passports of those who must register on the sex offender registry, as well as provides penalties for those who fail to provide advance notice before traveling abroad.
As a result of the changes, all covered sex offenders who plan to travel internationally will have to apply for a new passport with the identifying mark on it. The State Department will begin revoking existing passports of covered sex offenders who do not have the identifier on them.
A sex offender’s passport can be used for domestic and international air travel. It will not be valid for entry into Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands. Covered sex offenders who are unsure whether they can travel to these countries should contact the State Department or their destination country.
What happens if I get a sex offender passport?
As you’ve probably heard, sex offenders must register with their local law enforcement before they travel abroad. The crimes that land you on the registry include molesting a child, sexual contact with a minor, kidnapping a child, and even posting naked pictures of yourself online if you’re a teen. In the wake of the 1994 murder of Megan Kanka, who was killed by a sex offender while on vacation with her family in Hawaii, Congress passed International Megan’s Law to prevent child exploitation and other sexual crimes through advanced notification of traveling sex offenders.
As part of the legislation, the State Department must put a unique endorsement or identifier in all passports of those on the registry. The department began revoking existing passports of covered sex offenders in 2017 under the new requirement in accordance with 22 U.S. Code 212b(c)(l). The identifier will also be added to all passport cards, but since there is not enough space on the small card for the additional information, those with the sex offender designation must now have a passport book instead.
Still, the passport will not stop you from entering a country. As with all immigration, each nation has its own set of rules and regulations that may or may not allow someone with a conviction into its borders. While many countries don’t have any restrictions on who they allow into their territory, some do, including the United States.