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Passport holds

When enforcing an order, a child support office can ask the U.S. Department of State, also known as the State Department, to place a hold on a parent's passport. A hold prevents a parent from getting or renewing a U.S. passport.

The State Department can deny a parent's passport application if the parent owes more than $2,500 in past due child support, also called arrears.

Notices to the parent

If a case qualifies, the child support office will send a notice telling the parent the agency will certify their debt to the U.S. Department of State. When the debt is certified, the State Department will refuse to issue the parent a passport and can revoke, restrict or limit a previously issued passport.

If the parent applies for a passport or tries to renew their passport, the State Department will notify them that there is a hold on their passport because they owe child support arrears. The State Department notice:

  • Tells the parent that a hold is on the passport
  • Tells the parent to pay the child support arrears to release the hold on their passport
  • Includes a list of state child support offices and phone numbers
  • Does not tell the parent which child support office has a hold on the passport.


Parents who want a hold on their passport released should call the Minnesota state child support office at 651-431-4400. The child support office will tell the parent what they must do to release the hold. Often payment in full is required.

A passport may be held by more than one child support office. A parent who owes arrears in more than one state must be cleared by all of the submitting states before a passport can be issued or renewed. The State Department can deny a parent's passport for other reasons. A passport can be held even if the child support hold is released.

After the child support hold is released, the parent must make arrangements with the State Department for delivery of their passport.


Some parents may be excluded from passport holds. The child support office cannot take action to hold or deny a parent's passport application if either of the following is true:

  • The case does not meet the criteria
  • The custodial parent has claimed or been granted Good Cause.


State laws can be found on the Minnesota Office of the Revisor website.
  • 42 United States Code (USC), section 652(k)
  • 42 United States Code (USC), section 654(31)
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