Can you list every address you’ve lived at since birth? What about every employer – including the name of your supervisor and their phone number – you have ever had? Every school you attended, including address and phone number? If not, you might not be able to get a passport if the State Department has its way. And those are the easy questions on the newly proposed form DS-5513.
Here’s the justification for the new form as provided in the Federal Register filing:
The primary purpose for soliciting this information is to establish citizenship, identity, and eligibility for a U.S. Passport Book or Passport Card. The information may also be used in connection with issuing other travel documents or evidence of citizenship, and in furtherance of the Secretary’s responsibility for the protection of U.S. nationals abroad.
If you can demonstrate (arguably via a certified birth certificate) that you were born in the US then the above questions are the only ones you really need to complete. If not, however, the questionnaire gets way more detailed. Here are some of the specifics that are asked for:
- What type of document, if any, did your mother use to enter into the United States before your birth?
- Please describe the circumstances of your birth including the names (as well as address and phone number, if available) of persons present or in attendance at your birth.
- Was there any religious or institutional recording of your birth or event occurring around the time of birth? (Example: baptism, circumcision, confirmation or other religious ceremony. Please provide details including the name, location of the
institution, and date.)
They even ask for specific details regarding any medical professionals that may have been involved, including a history of appointment dates. Oh, and the mother’s profession, address and, because we don’t want to be particularly obvious that we’re discriminating against immigrants, "What type of document, if any, did your mother use to enter into the United States before your birth?"
In case you’re curious, they estimate that compiling all this information will take only 45 minutes on average. I only have to answer the easy questions and I’m not sure I can do it that quickly.
Sadly, this will almost certainly become the rule, just like all the other asinine things the government is doing to infringe upon our rights "out of an abundance of caution." Today is the last day to register a complaint to the appropriate officials. The easiest way to do so is to email GarciaAA@state.gov. You must include the DS form number (if applicable), information collection title, and OMB control number in any correspondence. For this particular abomination those details are DS-5513 and Biographical Questionnaire for U.S. Passport; there is no OMB control number currently assigned.
UPDATE (17:55 EDT 25 APR): This form is supposedly only to be used if the veracity of the initially supplied documentation is in doubt. So it probably won’t apply to everyone. Still, there is a TON of data in here way beyond what should be needed to establish citizenship and well beyond what the government should need from us.
Here’s the letter I’m sending. I encourage you to contact them as well. Oh, and the 60-day comment period started on February 24th so it is pretty much over so it is important to act quickly (i.e. TODAY) on this issue!
Subject: Comments on proposed rule for DS-5513 – Biographical Questionnaire for U.S. Passport
To whom it may concern:
I am writing to comment on the proposed rule change published in the Federal Register as Public Notice 7345 regarding form DS-5513 – Biographical Questionnaire for U.S. Passport; there is currently no OMB control number assigned to this document.
The proposed form is collecting an excessive amount of data, well beyond what is necessary to confirm citizenship and issue a passport for qualified individuals. The time burden suggested – an average of 45 minutes – is a gross underestimate of how long it will take to collect even the basic information; answering questions 5-12 will take significantly longer. As an adult in my 30s who is qualified to answer only the basic questions I found that it took me well over one hour to compile the information and it is still incomplete.
My schooling and job history have no bearing on my citizenship status, yet the form asks for full details of both. If I fail to provide it (and potentially if I miss something) the State Department can deny me a passport, even though I am a naturally born citizen.
The form show significant bias against home-birthed children, requiring them to complete extensive documentation as though they are an undocumented alien in this country. Similarly, the extensive details requested about the circumstances of the birth – names and phone numbers of everyone present, for example – are excessive and go well beyond what is necessary to document citizenship.
Travel is a wonderful thing. It provides education, experiences and perspective all at once, helping to better both the people doing the traveling as well as those whom they visit. It should be encouraged and facilitated by our government, not impeded. This form represents an excessive data collection against US citizens and is an undue burden for demonstrating citizenship. It is working against these goals, not towards them.
Thank you for your time.
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