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New absurd US passport questionnaire

Published time: April 26, 2011 16:16
Edited time: April 26, 2011 20:46
New US passport rules proposed by US State Department.

New US passport rules proposed by US State Department.

New proposed rules to passport application by the US Department of State may require some applicants submit a full employment history and the list of ever residence they have held since birth.

The new process would require certain applicants complete a new supplemental questionnaire. Those who submit documents deemed insufficient or suspicious will be required to comply.

"The Biographical Questionnaire for a US Passport, form DS-5513, is used to supplement an application for a US passport when the applicant submits citizenship or identity evidence that is insufficient or of questionable authenticity," according to a statement issued by the State Department when the proposed rules were made public. "In addition to this primary use of the data, the DS-5513 may also be used as evidence in the prosecution of any individual who makes a false statement on the application and for other uses as set forth in the Prefatory Statement and the Passport System of Records Notice (State-26)."

In addition to providing additional information on the applicant, the questionnaire would seek additional details on the applicant’s friends and family – i.e. details on pre-natal and post-natal care, the mother's residence one year before and after the applicant’s birth, the names of those in attendance at the birth and those present for any religious or institutional events surrounding the birth.

"The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form," noted Edward Hasbrouck Consumer Traveler.

A number of consumer and travel organizations have expressed opposition to the new rules. Some argue it far exceeds the authority of the state Department, may be unconstitutional and violate international legal treaties the US is party to.

"Choosing to require an applicant for a passport to complete the proposed Form DS-5513, which few if any applicants could complete, would amount to a de facto decision to deny that applicant a passport. And that decision would be standard less, arbitrary, and illegal,” commented the Consumer Travel Alliance.