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Can Sex Offender Get a Passport?
(Megan Law & Sexual Tourism Defined)

Megan’s Law prohibits the United States State Department from issuing a passport to a sex offender without a unique identifier. The identifier is a ‘passport endorsement’ printed inside the passport book which reads: “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212b(c)(l).”
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Where in the World Can Sex Offenders Travel To?

The U.S. does not restrict registered sex offenders from entering other countries, provided they have a valid passport with a unique identifier. There are very few countries that will review a U.S. citizen’s criminal background prior to allowing them into the country.

Currently, registered sex offenders are prohibited from traveling to the following countries:

  • China
  • The United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Thailand
  • Canada
  • Russia
  • Japan

Countries that allow sex offenders entry may require them to register with local police upon arrival. Other countries could allow entry if the crime occurred a long time ago or was a first offense. Many countries do not have clear rules in place that deny or allow entry to registered sex offenders.

Related Article: Sexual Abuse Attorney

What is Megan’s Law?

Enacted in 1996 under penal code § 290.46, Megan’s Law states that the California Department of Justice (CA DOJ) must notify the public about registered sex offenders. Megan’s Law also authorizes local law enforcement agencies to notify the public about sex offenders who pose a risk to public safety.

Megan’s Law was named after Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old girl who was raped and killed by a known child molester who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. In the wake of the tragedy, the Kankas sought to have local communities warned about sex offenders in the area. All states in the U.S. now have some form of Megan’s Law.

Also Read: Which Countries Can Sex Offenders Travel To?

What is a Covered Sex Offender?

Under Megan’s Law, the term “covered sex offender” refers to a person who—(A) is a sex offender, as defined in section 16935b(f) of Title 42; and (B) is currently required to register under the sex offender registration program of any jurisdiction.”

What is Sexual Tourism?

Sex tourism is the act of transporting minors in interstate commerce with the intent of engaging them in prostitution. Federal law 18 U.S.C. 2423 makes it unlawful for a person to travel, whether inside the United States or out of the country, for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.

These crimes are considered to be human trafficking and are severely penalized, as the former is punishable by no less than 10 years in prison, while the latter could result in a 30-year prison sentence.

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