ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT OBLIGATION

CS 850 Passport Denial/Renewal/Revocation

01/00 Revised 08/16/16 Training Completed 05/27/10

18 U.S.C. 1073, 42 U.S.C. 652(k), 42 U.S.C. 654(31); 22 CFR 51.60, 22 CFR 51.70, 22 CFR 51.71, 22 CFR 51.72, 45 CFR 301.1; U.C.A. 62A-11-303(6), U.C.A. 62A-11-401(3); R527-275; AT-10-04, Overview of the Passport Denial Program

 

 

Statutory Authority

 

22 CFR 51.60 Denial and restriction of passports.

“(a) The Department may not issue a passport, except a passport for direct return to the United States, in any case in which the Department determines or is informed by competent authority that:

(1) The applicant is in default on a loan received from the United States under 22 U.S.C. 2671(b)(2)(B) for the repatriation of the applicant and, where applicable, the applicant’s spouse, minor child(ren), and/or other immediate family members, from a foreign country (see 22 U.S.C. 2671(d)); or

(2) The applicant has been certified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as notified by a state agency under 42 U.S.C. 652(k) to be in arrears of child support in an amount determined by statute. . .”  (Emphasis added.)

 

U.C.A. 62A-11-401 Definitions.

“(3) "Child support" means a base child support award as defined in Section 78B-12-102, or a financial award for uninsured monthly medical expenses, ordered by a tribunal for the support of a child, including current periodic payments, all arrearages which accrue under an order for current periodic payments, and sum certain judgments awarded for arrearages, medical expenses, and child care costs. Child support includes obligations ordered by a tribunal for the support of a spouse or former spouse with whom the child resides if the spousal support is collected with the child support.”

 

45 CFR 301.1 General Definitions.

Past-due support means the amount of support determined under a court order or an order of an administrative process established under State law for support and maintenance of a child, or of a child and the parent with whom the child is living, which has not been paid. . . . [P]ast-due support means support owed to or on behalf of a qualified child, or a qualified child and the parent with whom the child is living if the same support order includes support for the child and the parent.  (Emphasis added.)

 

42 U.S.C. 654 State plan for child and spousal support.

“A State plan for child and spousal support must— …

(31) provide that the State agency will have in effect a procedure for certifying to the Secretary, for purposes of the procedure under section 652(k) of this title, determinations that individuals owe arrearages of child support in an amount exceeding $2,500, under which procedure—

(A) each individual concerned is afforded notice of such determination and the consequences thereof, and an opportunity to contest the determination; and

(B) the certification by the State agency is furnished to the Secretary in such format, and accompanied by such supporting documentation, as the Secretary may require; …”  (Emphasis added.)

 

42 U.S.C. 652(k) Denial of passports for nonpayment of child support.

(1) If the Secretary receives a certification by a State agency in accordance with the requirements of section 654 (31) of this title that an individual owes arrearages of child support in an amount exceeding $2,500, the Secretary shall transmit such certification to the Secretary of State for action (with respect to denial, revocation, or limitation of passports) pursuant to paragraph (2).

(2) The Secretary of State shall, upon certification by the Secretary transmitted under paragraph (1), refuse to issue a passport to such individual, and may revoke, restrict, or limit a passport issued previously to such individual.

(3) The Secretary and the Secretary of State shall not be liable to an individual for any action with respect to a certification by a State agency under this section.”  (Emphasis added.)

 

Sections 42 U.S.C. 654(31) and 42 U.S.C. 652(k) requires state agencies, including the Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services (ORS/CSS), to notify the Secretary of Health and Human Services of any individual (non-custodial parent (NCP)) that owes support arrearages in an amount exceeding $2,500.00.

 

NOTE:  Once a passport is suspended when flagged by the Federal Office for Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) for having an arrears balance of over $2,500.00, the arrears balance must be paid-in-full before the NCP can have his/her passport released.  A passport will not be released if the NCP only pays the case balance below $2,500.00, but does not pay the arrearage in full.

 

 

Definitions

 

1.                   Child Support – Pursuant to 62A-11-401(3):

“(3) "Child support" means a base child support award as defined in Section 78B-12-102, or a financial award for uninsured monthly medical expenses, ordered by a tribunal for the support of a child, including current periodic payments, all arrearages which accrue under an order for current periodic payments, and sum certain judgments awarded for arrearages, medical expenses, and child care costs. Child support includes obligations ordered by a tribunal for the support of a spouse or former spouse with whom the child resides if the spousal support is collected with the child support.”  (Emphasis added.)

 

2.                   Past-due Support – Pursuant to 45 CFR 301.1:

“Past-due support means the amount of support determined under a court order or an order of an administrative process established under State law for support and maintenance of a child, or of a child and the parent with whom the child is living, which has not been paid.  . . . [P]ast-due support means support owed to or on behalf of a qualified child, or a qualified child and the parent with whom the child is living if the same support order includes support for the child and the parent. (Emphasis added.)

 

 

Passport Denial                                                       

 

The passport denial program was implemented in June 1998 to deny passports to individuals who owe support arrearages.  The program is part of the federal offset program and was designed to help states enforce support obligations. 

 

NOTE:  Once a passport is issued, it is generally valid for ten years, so it is crucial that the State’s review the case(s) carefully before withdrawing the NCP from the Passport Denial Program.  Passport denial does not affect a valid passport; instead, it prevents a new passport from being issued or an existing passport from being renewed.     

 

If the NCP owes support arrearages, his/her arrears may be certified by the ORS/CSS and sent to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) for Federal Tax Refund Offset pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 654(31).  OCSE extracts all cases with an arrearage exceeding $2,500.00 (this amount became effective October 1, 2006) from the certified caseload and submits those names to the Social Security Administration and forwards them to the Department of State (DOS) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 652(k).  DOS matches these names against applications for new passports and to renew an existing passport.  If there is a match, the passport office:

 

1.                   Denies the NCP’s United States passport application; and,

 

NOTE:  If the application is denied, the passport agencies will not refund the application fees.

 

2.                   Notifies the NCP to contact the State Child Support Office to make payment arrangements.

 

If the NCP’s case is an interstate case, the initiating state is responsible for requesting the withdrawal from the passport denial program.  This means that if you have an incoming interstate case, you must coordinate with that state to determine the correct balanced owed.  Once the NCP pays the arrears in full, contact the initiating state to:

a.                   Let the other state know that the NCP has paid his/her debt in full; and,

b.                  Coordinate the release of the NCP’s passport.

 

NOTE:  If more than one state reported the NCP, s/he must make satisfactory payment arrangements with all states involved before the passport can be released.

 

The passport denial remains in place until the NCP has paid the support arrearages in full or made other arrangements due to an exception.

 

NOTE:  The NCP is not automatically removed from the passport denial program even if/when his/her arrearages fall below the $2,500.00 threshold.  For procedures and more information on passport denial, refer to the appropriate subsections below.

 

 

Procedures – Releasing a Denied Passport

 

Once the NCP’s case has been certified pursuant to the criteria listed above, the passport office will send a letter to the NCP notifying him/her of the passport denial and to contact CSS and/or any other certifying states to make appropriate payment arrangements. 

 

The DOS will hold the NCP’s passport application for 90 days to allow the NCP to make satisfactory payment arrangements with the certifying states.  If the NCP is unable to make appropriate arrangements with the certifying state(s) within the 90 days, s/he will have to reapply for a new or renewed passport and pay another fee.  

 

If the NCP contacts you because his/her passport cannot be issued, released, or renewed, refer to the following steps below.

 

1.                   Arrears paid-in-full:  Inform the NCP that in accordance with R527-275-3(1), CSS will only release his/her passport if the support arrearages are paid-in-full:

“. . . The passport will be released if the obligor pays all past-due child support owing to the state IV-D Agency and/or obligee.” (Emphasis added.)

a.                   Release the passport – Once the NCP has paid this month’s current support obligation and support arrearages in full, send an email to the CSS Passport Specialist in the Business Advocate Unit (BAU) and type “Passport Release” followed by the case number in the Subject line, e.g. “Passport Release C012345678”.  Make an expedited request to remove the NCP’s name from the passport denial program.

 

NOTE:  An expedited process will be completed within 24-48 hours by ORS.  Once ORS processes the request, it is sent to OCSE, DOS, and/or the passport office.  ORS is not responsible for how long this part of the process may take or the other agencies’ time frames.

b.                  Take the next appropriate action – Review the case and determine the next appropriate action (e.g., continue to collect current support, close the case, etc.).

 

NOTE:  If the NCP owes $2,500.00 or more and pays the support arrearages by check, money order, cashier’s check, official check, or an electronic check, Accounting adds the hold to the transaction.  The hold has a future release date of 21 days to minimize losses from transactions that are returned due to insufficient funds, closed accounts, etc.  Once Accounting verifies that the money has cleared the bank, the hold will be released.  If Accounting is not able to speak with a bank representative, the hold will remain for the full 21 days. 

 

For exceptions to payment in full, refer to #2 below.

 

2.                   Exceptions to arrears paid-in-full:  If the NCP is unable to pay the child support arrearages in full, s/he has made satisfactory repayment arrangements with CSS, and you believe there is a good reason why the NCP should be allowed a passport (e.g., for military deployment, business travel, etc.), an exception may be granted if the NCP meets the following criteria pursuant to R527-275-3(2).

“If the obligor's employment requires a valid passport or there are other extenuating circumstances that require the obligor to maintain a valid passport, an exception may be granted if:

a.  the case is IV-A - if the ORS or CSS Director approves an exception to the payment-in-full requirement.

b.  the case is non-IV-A:

i.  if the ORS or CSS Director approves an exception to the payment-in-full requirement; and,

ii.  if the child support is owed to the obligee, ORS/CSS is able to obtain written approval from the obligee to release the passport.” (Emphasis added.) 

 

NOTE:  An exception to R527-275-3(2) should not be granted IF the NCP is traveling for pleasure; e.g., vacation.

 

a.                   If the NCP is in the military, and/or his/her employment requires a valid passport, or there are other extenuating circumstances that require the obligor to maintain a valid passport, the agent must first determine if the support arrearages are IV-A or non-IV-A:

i.                     IV-A Cases:

A.                  If a passport is required for military duty or employment, the NCP must obtain a letter from his/her superior or employer, which confirms the passport requirement.  The letter must be:

I.                    On official “office” letterhead stationary;

II.                  Have a date; and,

III.                Be signed by the NCP’s superior or employer.

B.                  Verify the NCP’s inability to pay the debt in full:

I.                    Obtain verification of the NCP’s inability to pay the debt in full; e.g., have the NCP obtain a letter from the bank stating that s/he tried to apply for a loan and was not approved.

II.                  Document the results of your verification information in the case narratives.

C.                  Determine if the NCP or CP lives or has lived in another state.  If you believe the NCP or CP lives or has lived in another state, contact the CSS Passport Specialist and type “Passport Release” followed by the case number in the Subject line, e.g. “Passport Release C012345678”, to determine if another state has a passport revocation in place before continuing.  If so, the NCP’s passport may not be released even if the debt to ORS is paid-in-full.  If this occurs, the NCP must contact the other state(s) with passport revocations in place to make arrangements to satisfy all of his/her debts with the other state(s).

D.                  Obtain approval from the following individuals:

I.                    Team Manager – Review the case with the team manager and if the manager agrees, s/he must present the case to the Associate Regional Director (ARD), if appropriate, or the RD for review.  All decisions including approval must be documented in the case narratives.

II.                  ARD – The team manager will review the case with the ARD and if the ARD agrees, the ARD must document his/her decision in the case narratives.

III.                RD – The ARD will review the case with the RD and if s/he:

(a)                Agrees – S/he will document his/her decision including approval in the case narratives and present the case to the ORS or CSS Director.

(b)               Does not agree – S/he will document his/her decision in the case narratives and the responsible agent must continue to make payment arrangements with the NCP.  The NCP’s passport cannot be released until all of the certified support arrearages and current support have been paid-in-full.

IV.                ORS or CSS Director – The Director will review the case and take the following actions:

(a)                Agree – If the Director agrees with the decision to release the passport, s/he will:

(i)                  Document his/her decision including approval in the case narratives; and,

(ii)                Notify the RD and/or other appropriate workers to proceed with releasing the passport.

(b)               Does not agree – If the Director does not agree with the request to release the passport, s/he will:

(i)                  Document his/her decision in the case narratives; and,

(ii)                Notify the RD and/or other appropriate workers to continue to make payment arrangements with the NCP.  The NCP’s passport cannot be released until all of the certified support arrearages and current support debt(s) have been paid-in-full.

ii.                   Non-IV-A Cases:

A.                  If a passport is required for military duty or employment, the NCP must obtain a letter from his/her superior or employer, which confirms the passport requirement.  The letter must be:

I.                    On official “office” letterhead stationary;

II.                  Have a date; and,

III.                Be signed by the NCP’s superior or employer.

B.                  Verify the NCP’s inability to pay the debt in full:

I.                    Obtain verification of the NCP’s inability to pay the debt in full; e.g., have the NCP obtain a letter from the bank stating that s/he tried to apply for a loan and was not approved.

II.                  Document the results of your verification information in the case narratives.

C.                  Determine if the NCP or CP lives or has lived in another state.  If you believe the NCP or CP lives or has lived in another state, contact the CSS Passport Specialist and type “Passport Release” followed by the case number in the Subject line, e.g. “Passport Release C012345678”, to determine if another state has a passport revocation in place before continuing.  If so, the NCP’s passport may not be released even if the debt to ORS is paid-in-full.  If this occurs, the NCP must contact the other state(s) with passport revocations in place to make arrangements to satisfy all of his/her debts with the other state(s).

D.                  Obtain approval from the following individuals:

I.                    Team Manager – Review the case with the team manager and if the manager agrees, s/he must present the case to the Associate Regional Director (ARD), if appropriate, or the RD for review.  All decisions including approval should be documented in the case narratives.

II.                  ARD – The team manager will review the case with the ARD and if the ARD agrees, the ARD must document his/her decision in the case narratives.

III.                RD – The ARD will review the case with the RD and if s/he:

(a)                Agrees, s/he will:

 

NOTE:  If both IV-A and non-IV-A debts exists on a non-IV-A case, you must consult with the ORS or CSS Director before sending the Non-IV-A Passport Exception letter to the CP to obtain approval for the exception.  When consulting with the ORS or CSS Director, you must provide an accounting of the debt types and balances of each debt.

(i)                  Document his/her decision including approval in the case narratives; and,

(ii)                Notify the agent assigned to the case to generate and send the Non-IV-A Passport Exception letter to the CP by first-class mail or have the CP come into the office and complete the form.  The CP must sign and date the letter and return it to the assigned agent to indicate that s/he is in agreement with making an exception to the passport denial.  The CP must have his/her signature notarized.  If the CP:

(A)               Gives written approval – The assigned agent will document the decision in the case narratives and notify the RD to continue with the exception process.

(B)               Does not give written approval – The assigned agent will document the CP’s decision and will continue to make payment arrangements with the NCP.

(b)               Does not agree – S/he will document his/her decision in the case narratives and the responsible agent must continue to make payment arrangements with the NCP.  The NCP’s passport cannot be released until all of the certified support arrearages and current support debt(s) have been paid-in-full.

IV.                ORS or CSS Director – The Director will review the case and take the following actions:

(a)                Agree – If the Director agrees with the decision to release the passport, s/he will:

(i)                  Document the decision including approval in the case narratives; and,

(ii)                Notify the RD and/or other appropriate workers to proceed with releasing the passport.

(b)               Does not agree – If the Director does not agree with the request to release the passport, s/he will:

(i)                  Document his/her decision in the case narratives; and,

(ii)                Notify the agent to continue to make payment arrangements with the NCP.  The NCP’s passport cannot be released until all of the certified support arrearages and current support debt(s) have been paid-in-full.

 

3.                   Once the support arrearages and current support have been satisfied or a satisfactory agreement has been reached, determine:

a.                   If the debt was paid-in-full:

i.                     Contact the CSS Passport Specialist. The CSS Passport Specialist will contact OCSE and request that the NCP’s name be removed from the passport denial program.

ii.                   Update ORSIS and/or make any necessary adjustments, including narratives; and,

iii.                  Continue to collect current support through income withholding, as appropriate. 

b.                  If an exception was granted:

i.                     Release the passport – Notify the CSS Passport Specialist to remove the NCP’s name from the passport denial program;

ii.                   Update ORSIS and/or make any necessary adjustments, including narratives; and,

iii.                  Continue to collect current and/or arrears due through income withholding, as appropriate. 

 

 

Passport Revocation

 

The passport of an NCP with support arrearages may only be revoked by the United States Secretary of State.  The revocation process is administered under the current passport regulations found at 22 CFR 51.60(b) and (d) which provide for passport revocation when an individual is the subject of an outstanding Federal warrant of arrest for a felony.

(b) The Department may refuse to issue a passport in any case in which the Department determines or is informed by competent authority that:

(1) The applicant is the subject of an outstanding Federal warrant of arrest for a felony, including a warrant issued under the Federal Fugitive Felon Act (18 U.S.C. 1073); or

(2) The applicant is subject to a criminal court order, condition of probation, or condition of parole, any of which forbids departure from the United States and the violation of which could result in the issuance of a Federal warrant of arrest, including a warrant issued under the Federal Fugitive Felon Act;. . .

 

“. . .(d) The Department may refuse to issue a passport in a case in which the Department is informed by an appropriate foreign government authority or international organization that the applicant is the subject of a warrant of arrest for a felony.”

 

This means that if you want to revoke an NCP’s existing, valid passport, you must first refer the case to the Criminal Unit for prosecution of criminal nonsupport.