Monday, 24 September 2012

State Dept. admits impossible passport form was illegal, but still wants it approved

The new U.S. passport application forms I warned you about last year are back, worse than ever.

Ignoring massive public opposition, and despite having recently admitted that it is already using the "proposed" forms illegally without approval, the State Department is trying again to get approval for a pair of impossible-to-complete new passport application forms that would, in effect, allow the State Department to deny you a passport simply by choosing to send you either or both of the new "long forms".

Early last year, the State Department proposed a new "Biographical Questionnaire" for passport applicants, which would have required anyone selected to receive the new long-form DS-5513 to answer bizarre and intrusive personal trivia questions about everything from whether you were circumcised (and if so, with what accompanying religious rituals) to the dates of all of your mother’s pre- and post-natal medical appointments, your parents’ addresses one year before you were born, every address at which you have ever resided, and your lifetime employment history including the names and phone numbers of each of your supervisors at every job you have ever held.

Most people would be unable to complete the proposed new form no matter how much time and money they invested in research. Requiring someone to complete Form DS-5513 would amount to de facto denial of their application for a passport -- which, as I told the State Department in comments co-signed by organizations including the Identity Project and the Consumer Travel Alliance, appeared to be the point of the form.

The State Department’s notice of the proposal in the Federal Register didn’t include the form itself. After I obtained and published the proposed Form DS-5513, the story went viral (I was quoted on the same day by both Glenn Beck and the Daily Kos!) and more than 3,000 public comments objecting to the proposal were filed with the State Department in the final 24 hours of the comment period.

After that fiasco, the State Department went dark for several months, and claimed that they would "revise" the form. But they didn’t give up, and apparently they didn’t listen to (or didn’t care) what they had been told by members of the public in our comments.

The State Department is now seeking approval for a (slightly) revised Form DS-5513 as well as a new Form DS-5520, also for passport applicants, containing many of the same questions.

The State Department no longer wants you to tell the passport examiner about the circumstances of your circumcision, but does still want to know the dates and locations of all of your mother’s pre- and post-natal medical appointments, how long she was hospitalized for your birth, and a complete list of everyone who was in the room when you were born. The revised forms no longer ask for all the addresses at which you have lived, but only for those addresses you are least likely to know: all the places you lived from birth until age 18.

I've crossposted full details today at PapersPlease.org and ConsumerTraveler.com, including the versions of the forms that the State Department is now trying to get approved.

Link | Posted by Edward on Monday, 24 September 2012, 14:13 ( 2:13 PM) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Aaaah! Now it's making sense to me. My son, born in St. Louis, was denied a passport last year. He was sent a request for additional papers which he didn't understand, he has Aspergers Syndrome. I live abroad and really wanted him to visit me. I didn't have all the documents/information they were requesting... so it was impossible for me to help him. Thought maybe they were discriminating against him since he could "pass" for Arabic, while his younger sis got hers approved 1 yr earlier w/o incident.

Posted by: Ramona, 25 September 2012, 04:10 ( 4:10 AM)

I am so glad I already have a 10 year passport which i got renewed last year. Now the USA is trying to take away our ability to travel? This is not communist Russia, this is the USA.

This is one of the many reasons why I am actually moving out of the USA in a few months (besides the fact that I have wanted to expat since i was 7 because I wanted to see the world).

Now, I feel like I should just be leaving before the USA DOES turn into a crazy communist military state. I love the USA, but there is nothing wrong with seeing the world, and somewhere we lost that notion.

Posted by: Danielle Blanchette, 25 September 2012, 09:25 ( 9:25 AM)

We ought to file (in state court, maybe) for Declaratory Judgment that we have the right to leave and re-enter the country without a passport.

Posted by: Fred, 25 September 2012, 16:56 ( 4:56 PM)

Travelled the world as a commercial pilot during the previous 40 years. Passport expires 5/14.

How do I renew passport without giving up my current active passport? thanx Dan

Posted by: dan adams, 26 September 2012, 05:09 ( 5:09 AM)
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