In accordance with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and Federal Regulation 22CFR51.60(a)(1), the US Department of State is required to refuse to issue a passport, except a passport for direct return to the United States, to any noncustodial parent (NCP) who has been certified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as owing a child support arrearage amount that is greater than $2500.00.
State child support agencies must provide the NCP with notice of the amount of the arrearage, the consequences of this arrearage amount, and the opportunity to contest the arrearage amount. NC CSS includes this information in the tax intercept (offset) Pre-Offset Notice (DSS-4495).
NCPs can contest the denial of a passport to the local CSS program management. State courts have no jurisdiction in this remedy, since it is authorized under federal law. For more information, see “Contesting a Passport Denial Determination”.
If the NCP asserts that the calculation of arrearages used in the certification for passport denial is in error, CSS caseworkers must examine the order and payment records to determine their accuracy. If this examination indicates that an error was made, caseworkers must take corrective action to update the case record and document the results of the examination of the case record and inform the NCP of the corrected information.
If the examination indicates that the arrearage and certification were correct, CSS caseworkers must document the results of the examination of the case record and inform the NCP of the results and of the right to request additional review by CSS program management.
If the NCP requests a review, responsible CSS caseworkers must document this request in the case record, including the reason for the request, and immediately notify the appropriate CSS management reviewer of the request.
For DSS-operated county CSS offices, the appropriate reviewer is the County DSS Director or that director's designee. For non-DSS-operated county offices or contracted CSS offices, the appropriate reviewer is the CSS Regional Representative or that representative’s designee.
Management reviews must be completed within thirty (30) days of the NCP's request, taking into consideration any urgency of need for the passport. Reviewers schedule the meeting, notify all parties, and conduct the review.
Reviewers receive and evaluate evidence and statements about the amount of the arrearage that are presented by the NCP and the CSS agency. Then they make a recommendation on whether the arrearage and certification are correct to NC CSS.
After the review is completed:
When NC CSS receives the review packet, NC CSS management reviews the county's recommendation and makes a final determination on whether whether the passport denial is removed or remains in effect. The Tax Intercept Unit Supervisor notifies the Tax Intercept Unit, the NCP, the reviewer, and the responsible CSS caseworker of the decision.
The Tax Intercept Unit Supervisor reviews the management reviewer's recommendation, makes the final determination on whether the passport denial is removed or remains in effect, and notifies the Tax Intercept Unit, the NCP, the reviewer, and the responsible CSS caseworker of the decision.
Because passport denial is authorized by federal law, state courts do not have authority to overrule a determination made by NC CSS. If a state court orders the release of a passport denial, the local agency attorney should file a motion for relief under Rule 60 (b) of the NC Rules of Civil Procedure.
If the certification was made in error, Tax Intercept Unit workers document local CSS's request that the NCP's name be removed from the passport denial file and then they request that OCSE remove the NCP's name from the passport denial file. OCSE notifies the Department of State when the restriction has been lifted.
If the arrearage was correctly certified, CSS takes no further action. Any further challenge to the determination of amount of the arrearage must be made to the District Court.
Passport privileges can be reinstated when:
When the NCP makes a request for reinstatement of passport privileges to local CSS, responsible caseworkers must determine whether that NCP meets the criteria for reinstatement.
If reinstatement is appropriate, caseworkers should:
Tax Intercept Unit workers must do the following:
Military service members who are deployed outside the United States are issued military passports. CSS does not revoke or deny military passports. Military service members also could need a civilian passport for certain military functions or for personal travel while on leave. Military member/NCPs who are denied a civilian passport due to a child support arrearage are required to pay the full amount of the debt before the passport denial is removed.
If the NCP needs the passport due to deployment, CSS must:
If the NCP needs the passport for personal use, follow the standard passport reinstatement procedures. Obtaining a copy of the deployment orders is not necessary.
Special reinstatement policies apply when the NCP needs a passport to travel for certain emergency situations. When an NCP requests reinstatement due to a situation that meets one of the definitions that follow, passport denial can be lifted without the requirement for payment of the arrearage amount. However, CSS workers should advise the NCP that the existing arrearage must be reduced to avoid future denials. Emergency situations are defined as:
For the purposes of emergency passport reinstatement, an "immediate family member of the NCP" is defined as:
When an NCP declares an emergency need for a passport, the responsible CSS caseworker must do the following:
Tax Intercept Unit workers review the request and supporting information. They notify the submitting CSS caseworker immediately of any discrepancies in the request.
If the request is accepted, the Tax Intercept Unit supervisor advises OCSE to remove the NCP's name from the passport denial file. OCSE notifies the Department of State (DOS) that the restriction has been lifted. DOS should release the hold on the passport within twenty-four (24) hours.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.