Washington DC, May 11, 2011. Hillary Clinton's State Department is proposing a bunch of new questions for the questionnaire required to obtain a U.S. passport.
The proposed new Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and a variety of other information.
According to the proposed form, “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”
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.
It seems likely that only some, not all, applicants will be required to fill out the new questionnaire, but no criteria have been made public for determining who will be subjected to these additional new written interrogatories. So if the passport examiner wants to deny your application, all they will have to do is give you the impossible new form to complete.
The new questions also ask for the names and contact information of all witnesses to your birth.
Reads like a tool to allow the State Department to turn down a passport when they can't find a more
The questionnaire is meant for those who are applying for a United States passport, but do not have a birth certificate. And while answering the questions is optional (How, after all, are adopted children supposed to find out their mothers’ place of employment at the time they were born?), not answering them could lead to processing delays or flat-out denials when it comes to obtaining a passport.
Were you baptized or circumcised? Who was present when you were born? Where did your mother work? These are sample questions that applicants may be asked to answer on the proposed biographical questionnaire for a U.S. passport.
The U.S. State Department — the federal agency that processes passports — anticipates more than 74,000 respondents. It also estimates the form will take 45 minutes to complete.
Some see that figure as far-fetched.
"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," wrote Consumer Travel's Edward Hasbrouck.
The State Department is seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget for information collection. A 60-day public comment period ended Monday