Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Passport Control

This story has been making the rounds:

The U.S. Department of State is proposing a new Biographical Questionnaire for some passport applicants: 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.

According to an update at No More Mister Nice Blog, this is a nothing-burger; the above-described procedures are only being proposed for those who can’t produce the usual forms of positive proof of citizenship or were born in another country. So, unless you’re the president, you have nothing to worry about.

Oh, and the “‘religious ceremony’ around the time of birth”? You know what that means, guys; snip-snip. In my case, I don’t think anyone kept records of that event, and I sure don’t remember it. This could lead to a whole new breed of conspiracy theorists: Birthers would be replaced by Brissers.