Passport Information for Criminal Law Enforcement Officers

A federal, State or local (and in some cases foreign) law enforcement agency may obtain information from U.S. passport files for official use by sending a signed written request on agency letterhead, including the subject’s name, date of birth, place of birth, other identifying information, and the reason for the request (i.e., statute under which investigation is being done). Authenticated copies of records are available upon written request. Requests should be addressed to:

U.S. Department of State

Passport Services
Office of Law Enforcement Liaison
1111 19th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20522-1705

Phone: (202) 955-0447
Fax: (202) 955-0288


Before any passport is issued, the passport applicant’s name is checked against a central name check system. A federal or state law enforcement investigative agency may request that a subject be placed in the passport name check system for notification before issuance even when there is no warrant or other court order. The written request should be sent to the Office of Legal Affairs (address below), and should include full biodata of the subject, the statute under which the subject is being investigated, and the agency address and phone number of the officer to be contacted.

A federal or state law enforcement agency may request the denial of a passport on several regulatory grounds under 22 CFR 51.70 and 51.72. The principal law enforcement reasons for passport denial are a federal warrant of arrest, a federal or state criminal court order, a condition of parole or probation forbidding departure from the United States (or the jurisdiction of the court), or a request for extradition. The HHS child support database and the Marshals Service WIN database are checked automatically for entitlement to a passport. Denial or revocation of a passport does not prevent the use of outstanding valid passports.

A request for denial should be in writing (delivered or faxed to the Office of Legal Affairs [address below]), and should include full biodata of the subject, a copy of the warrant of arrest and the name, agency address and phone number of the officer to be contacted. If an application is made, the State Department, in coordination with the requesting agency, will deny issuance of the passport.

Passport revocation may be effected when the person obtained the passport fraudulently, when the passport was issued in error, when the person’s certificate of naturalization was cancelled by a federal court, or when the person would not be entitled to a new passport under 22 CFR 51.70 (a) or (b). The physical revocation of a passport is often difficult, and an apparently valid passport can be used for travel until officially taken by an arresting officer or by a court.

To request passport revocation, law enforcement should make the request in writing to the Office of Legal Affairs (address below) with the subject’s name, including aliases, date and place of birth, social security number, known previous passports, last known address, copies of any court orders or warrants, and contact information.

Revocations are coordinated with the Department of Justice and the requesting agency. A passport will not be revoked when the whereabouts of the bearer is unknown. When there is a passport “hit” on an individual within the United States, based on the request, the interested law enforcement agency will be informed of the person’s address so that an arrest can be made.

The requesting agency works with the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, Department of State L/LEI, the embassy and the foreign law enforcement establishment to affect the person’s return to the United States.

When a subject is routinely apprehended and has a passport, the passport may be retained by the law enforcement agency for evidentiary purposes. However, when it is no longer needed for the law enforcement purpose and the person is still in custody or subject to a bond or parole, the passport must be returned to the Department of State, Office of Legal Affairs .

For more information on how to return a passport based on the above circumstance, please contact the Office of Legal Affairs by telephone at (202) 663-2662 or by fax a t (202) 663-2654.

Please notify Passport Services when a subject is apprehended, when the warrant is quashed or when passport action is no longer needed. If a lookout is allowed to remain in the passport system after these events, it will result in inconvenience and possible legal action.


All reported lost/stolen passports are considered invalid and placed into a U.S. port of entry database. When a United States passport is part of property taken in the course of robbery or theft, and whenever a United States passport is returned to law enforcement, this information and/or the passport itself should be returned to:

Department of State
Passport Services

Consular Lost and Stolen Passport Section
1111 19th Street, NW, Room 500
Washington, DC 20522-1705

Revised July 2007


Go to Passport Services Page

Go to International Parental Child Abduction Page