Registered sex offenders will now be identified as such in their U.S. passports, reports the Associated Press.
The State Department made the announcement Wednesday, explaining that it will soon start revoking convicted sex offenders’ current passports and requiring they apply for a new one that contains a “unique identifier.” Those applying for a passport for the first time will also be issued a booklet with the identifier.
According to official State Department site for U.S. passports and international travel, the identifier will be a printed endorsement on the back cover of 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).”
Since the notice is too long to fit on a passport card, convicted sex offenders will only be allowed passport booklets.
The changes are a part of the International Megan's Law which was enacted last year by Congress. The goal: to prevent child exploration, such as sex trafficking, and other sex crimes.
Critics of the law fear it will prevent registered sex offenders from traveling abroad freely.
While the State Department ensures the identifier “will not prevent covered sex offenders from departing the United States, nor will it affect the validity of their passports," it's important to note that some countries do prohibit the entry - or limit the travel - of convicted felons.
Revocations will reportedly not begin until the State Department receives the complete list of registered sex offenders from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Although, it is currently unclear when that will be. Until then, sex offenders’ current passports - without the identifier - will remain valid.