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ACSOLGeneral News

ACSOL to Challenge Passport Identifier in Federal Court

The Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) will challenge the passport identifier recently revealed by the U.S. State Department. The challenge is expected to be filed in a federal district court within the next 90 days.

“We have begun the necessary process of identifying a strategy for a successful challenge,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “The strategy will include the identification of potential plaintiffs as well as both legal and financial resources. The federal district court in which the challenge will be filed has not yet been determined. That decision will be made after potential plaintiffs have been identified.”

The addition of a “unique identifier” to the passports of some registrants is one of the requirements of the International Megan’s Law (IML) which was Congress passed Congress and the President signed in February 2016. Registrants to be affected by this provision are those convicted of a sex offense involving a minor and are currently required to register as a sex offender.

The IML does not include a description of the “unique identifier” or its placement in an individual’s passport. According to a press release issued by the State Department on October 27, 2017, the following language will be added to the inside back cover of affected passports: “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212(c)(1).”

Prior to passage of the IML, no American passport has included a “unique identifier” for a U.S. citizen. The IML does not require the State Department to add such an identifier to the passports of U.S. citizens convicted of murder, robbery drunk driving or any other offense.

Join the discussion

  1. tod

    I want to put somethings into perspective when it comes to international travel and other countries when you have a criminal record – notice I said ‘criminal record’ not sex offense. I was doing some research on what country would be easiest for me to move to with my past (if anyone has suggestions, PLEASE let me know – has to have snow/mountains 😉 and what i was finding is that there are a LOT of countries that won’t let you in their borders with many crimes, yes, sex offense is the worst, but sometimes it can be as light as a misdeamenor. Canada, DUI or ANY felony, Japan, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, ANY felony, Chili, South Korea, and SO many more will not let you in if you have any crime in your past. I am not sure how they know, but if you have a drug felony – you don’t have to do any stupid notification to Japan, but they will sure as hell kick your butt off the plane and send you home. My point is that although it is the worst for an SO, it is not the only group of people that is banned from countries.

    The IML stamp issue sucks the worst, but if I am reading it right, it is on the very LAST page of your PP, NOT the cover page with all the info on it. I have traveled a lot, no one looks at that page, even when you come into the US. I have found that sometimes sticky things can spill, and make pages stick together…. I am hopeful Janice wins this first (of many challenges) but until then, when (if) I get that letter, I will worry about it.

    Lastly, again, I HATE all of this, but at least for now, I can name 7 countries i have traveled too with no problems – Iceland, Amerstdam/Netherlands, Czech Rep, Switzerland, England*, France, Portugal – *England has turned away ppl, so be careful or take a train. South Africa isn’t banning anyone,
    Eastern EU isn’t, I see this all the time, ‘I can’t go anywhere’ BS, you CAN – if you want to go to a beach, you can go to the US VIRGIN ISLANDS and you DON’T NEED A PASSPORT!!! same with Pueto Rico and Guam (super long flight). Just remember you WILL be harrased coming back into the US, DON’T bring a laptop!!! They WILL search your phone – legally, and they do to many others, expect that, they will look at receipts, and I have heard even question you – I have also come back with none of that, almost cried when I walked thru. There are smart ways to do things to be safe – or you can sit on your ass and complain about it. I lost a lot of time on my life, and will fight to get as much of that back, I hope you do too

    Bottom line as long as you give in and LET them think they have you bottled up, they win. Yes, we have less choices, but you STILL have choices! Better yet, donate – your time or money, your experiences, your expertise, whatever, DO something!

    • CR

      @tod, thanks for the info. When you say “I have also come back with none of that, almost cried when I walked thru”, do you mean that if you don’t carry electronic equipment (laptop, tablet, phone, smart watch, etc) that they don’t detain you as long?

      • David Kennerly, Barely Allowed Out-Of-Doors

        That’s been my experience simply because it gives them less to do. Searching through computer hard drives, memory sticks of cameras and phones takes time. I have never had my stuff seized (but haven’t traveled in several years) and, instead, had to wait while they searched through all of my devices and digital files.

        • CR

          Ugh. A search through your personal possessions, digital or otherwise, is so offensive. It ought to require a search warrant.

          If you carry no electronic devices with you (or dispose of them before returning), but you are traveling with someone who is not a registrant, would they search that person’s electronic devices too? Your spouse, let’s say, or perhaps a co-worker. I am guessing that they would claim to have a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime was committed since you were in the company of someone who’s device you might have used.

        • R M

          CBP doesn’t need “reasonable suspicion”. According to the CBP website at

          “CBP Search Authority
          A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer’s border search authority is derived from federal statutes and regulations, including 19 C.F.R. 162.6, which states that, “All persons, baggage and merchandise arriving in the Customs territory of the United States from places outside thereof are liable to inspection by a CBP officer.” Unless exempt by diplomatic status, all persons entering the United States, including U.S. citizens, are subject to examination and search by CBP officers.”

          The question however is, why do people who have ever been convicted of a sex crime get seemingly singled out?

        • CR

          You are right, they still say they can do that, but there is a recent policy change in effect regarding “advanced” or “forensic” searches of electronic devices. The ACLU reported on this last week.

          Of course, CBP will always claim to have reasonable suspicion when it comes to us, regardless.

    • Sam

      A few things

      Japan’s law is if you were sentenced to more than a year in jail/prison, South Korea didn’t give me a second glance and just let me in.

      As for it being on the last page. Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand looked all up in my passport front to back as well as my current country wanted a full copy of my passport for my visa

    • TS


      Are you saying you are inspected coming back from a US Territory the same you would a foreign country by CBP? That would make no sense since it is US soil and you should be able to walk on through without a stop by CBP.

      • Alec


        Normally for US territories you do CBP when you leave, not when you arrive, since usually the plane arrives at domestic gates, not international ones.

        If it will arrive at an international one, it is a toss up. You might get one or both, depending on the airport.

        • TS


          Why are you going through CBP on the way to a US Territory from mainland USA? What are they checking/looking at outbound? Just looking to understand further why there is an extra layer on US soil for travel to/from other US soil even though they are not a state, but a territory instead.

          I can understand if you come back into an international gate to due to mingling of people in the international terminal and wanting to ensure there is no passing through of someone who should not be allowed on US soil.

        • TS

          Will travelers from U.S. territories need to present a passport to enter the United States?


          U.S. Citizens who travel directly between parts of the United States, which includes Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), without touching at a foreign port or place, are not required to present a valid U.S. Passport or U.S. Green Card.

          However, it is recommended that travelers bring a government issued photo ID and copy of birth certificate.

    • Relief

      @TOD – Are you saying while in Europe you have taken a train (from Paris I’m assuming) to England? Or do you just think this might work? And if so, was it recently?

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