Proposed Passport Form Is Basically Impossible

Unless, of course, you've been keeping detailed records since before birth
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2011 11:36 AM CDT
Proposed Passport Form Is Basically Impossible
Good luck getting one of these if a proposed new form is instituted.   (©Fire At Will [Photography])

(Newser) – Need a passport? Better find your birth certificate, because the State Department is considering a new, and nearly impossible to complete, form that would be required for those who can't produce one. In addition to "easy" questions like listing every residence and job you've had since birth and, of course, the personal details of all your siblings, Form DS-5513 includes such baffling queries as where you were circumcised and who was present at your birth. Reactions:

  • On Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow notes that "the circumstances in which people unable to provide a birth certificate will be given this form (rather than the traditional bureaucratic investigation) are not spelled out; further, the form itself remains a Kafkaesque impossibility for most people to complete."

  • "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," writes Edward Hasbrouck on Consumer Traveler.
  • The Blaze points out that the document claims the questionnaire is voluntary, “but failure to provide the information requested may result in processing delays or the denial of your US passport application.”
  • The questionnaire would be used "when the applicant submits citizenship or identity evidence that is insufficient or of questionable authenticity," according to official documents. On the Raw Story, David Edwards concludes that the form "would make it almost impossible for some people to get a passport."
  • On, Radley Balko calls the form "disturbing" and the questions "creepy" and "impossible to answer." Nick Greene concurs in the Village Voice, calling it "completely confounding" and noting that "a team of researchers is needed to complete it."
See the form here. (Read more passport stories.)

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