The State Department said Wednesday it would begin revoking passports of registered child sex offenders and will require them to apply for a new one that carries a “unique identifier” of their status.
Those applying for a passport for the first time will not be issued one without the identifier, which will be a notice printed inside the back cover of the passport book that reads: “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to (U.S. law).”
The department said in a statement posted to its travel.state.gov website that registered child sex offenders will no longer be issued smaller travel documents known as passport cards because they do not have enough room to fit the notice.
The changes come in response to last year’s “International Megan’s Law,” which aims to curb child exploitation and child sex tourism, but also has been criticized by civil libertarians for being overly broad and targeting only one category of convicted felons.
The law is named after Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old girl murdered by a convicted child sex offender in New Jersey in 1994.
The case drew widespread attention and led to the creation of several state sex offender registries. Government agencies notified Congress on Wednesday the passport requirement of the law had taken effect.