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Criminal Resource Manual

1943. 18 U.S.C. 1541 -- Issuance Of Passports Without Authority

Section 1541 of Title 18 makes it a crime to issue or verify a passport, or other instrument in the nature of a passport, without authority to do so. For example, state and local governments may not issue documents designed to facilitate overseas travel of their residents. 17 Op.Att.Gen. 674 (1884). Similarly, forgery of a document purporting to be such a travel document issued by a state or local government would also violate 18 U.S.C. § 1541. 9 Op.Att.Gen. 350 (1859). 18 U.S.C. § 1541 also makes it a crime for consular officers to verify passports for persons not owing allegiance to the United States, even if they are citizens.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) amended this statute to provide for enhanced penalties if the offense was committed to facilitate an act of international terrorism or a drug trafficking crime.

[cited in USAM 9-73.600]