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A friend of mine went to the state department to renew his passport while in the USA. They gave him this long form to fill out which was nearly impossible to do, they wanted all of the info listed below. He had a birth certificate, and 3 previous passport in his possession they still made him fill in the forms. One person at the passport office said they were doing this to him because he is a resident in Panama and they profiled him as a person that possibly could give up US citizenship. He had to go to his senator who did finally get the passport - this took 2 months and cost $5000.00. Here is a recent article about what they are doing.
This is very scary
Monday, 24 September 2012
State Dept. admits impossible passport form was illegal, but still wants it approved
The new U.S. passport application forms I warned you about last year are back, worse than ever.
Ignoring massive public opposition, and despite having recently admitted that it is already using the "proposed" forms illegally without approval, the State Department is trying again to get approval for a pair of impossible-to-complete new passport application forms that would, in effect, allow the State Department to deny you a passport simply by choosing to send you either or both of the new "long forms".
Early last year, the State Department proposed a new "Biographical Questionnaire" for passport applicants, which would have required anyone selected to receive the new long-form DS-5513 to answer bizarre and intrusive personal trivia questions about everything from whether you were circumcised (and if so, with what accompanying religious rituals) to the dates of all of your mother’s pre- and post-natal medical appointments, your parents’ addresses one year before you were born, every address at which you have ever resided, and your lifetime employment history including the names and phone numbers of each of your supervisors at every job you have ever held.
Most people would be unable to complete the proposed new form no matter how much time and money they invested in research. Requiring someone to complete Form DS-5513 would amount to de facto denial of their application for a passport -- which, as I told the State Department in comments co-signed by organizations including the Identity Project and the Consumer Travel Alliance, appeared to be the point of the form.
The State Department’s notice of the proposal in the Federal Register didn’t include the form itself. After I obtained and published the proposed Form DS-5513, the story went viral (I was quoted on the same day by both Glenn Beck and the Daily Kos!) and more than 3,000 public comments objecting to the proposal were filed with the State Department in the final 24 hours of the comment period.
After that fiasco, the State Department went dark for several months, and claimed that they would "revise" the form. But they didn’t give up, and apparently they didn’t listen to (or didn’t care) what they had been told by members of the public in our comments.
The State Department is now seeking approval for a (slightly) revised Form DS-5513 as well as a new Form DS-5520, also for passport applicants, containing many of the same questions.
The State Department no longer wants you to tell the passport examiner about the circumstances of your circumcision, but does still want to know the dates and locations of all of your mother’s pre- and post-natal medical appointments, how long she was hospitalized for your birth, and a complete list of everyone who was in the room when you were born. The revised forms no longer ask for all the addresses at which you have lived, but only for those addresses you are least likely to know: all the places you lived from birth until age 18.
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Me too! But I don't consider myself lucky, just as having "normal" passport experience.
Fortunately, the above story of a horrible experience is not very common. But that doesn't mean that it should not be addressed and the draconian process changed.
Methinks you generalize a bit much!
I'm an American citizen, and I have excellent freedom of movement and travel - both in the U.S. and internationally. And almost every American I know has the same freedom.
yes, and go back and do some investigation or just believe in " all is well' I am the guy traped in the US FOR MORE THAN 2 MONTHS, BACK THIS WEEK IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HEAR THE REST OF THE STORY
Frank would it be possible to give us the accounts of your story and what would be your recommendation for renewing a passport if your an expat or a US citizen residing in Panama.
Don't go to the State Department like Frank did if you can do it by mail or at a U.S. Post Office. As I stated in a post yesterday, my re-application this past January (not a renewal - I had lost my previous expired passport) was smoothly, was effortless and fast.
Unless you have something in your record that profiles you - as happened to Frank - as "a person of special interest", or are a first time applicant - or re-applying (as opposed to renewing) - and have a non-conforming birth certificate, you should not get caught in the web that trapped Frank.
Frank's was caught by some information that was in his file, but I haven't heard of other expat residents getting routinely profiled and required to fill out the long form for passport renewal. I maintain a U.S. residence address for several reasons, but I can see how those who "reject" the U.S. might raise flags at the state department.
Frank, I agree what happened to you and others caught in the web of the onerous new forms is terrible - as in a Kafka novel. However, please don't make false statements like stating that I implied that "all is well" with respect to passport issues in the U.S. - it is best for your cause to attempt to maintain accuracy.
I sympathize with your plight, and admit that it is a serious problem for the relatively small number caught in that insidious web so far - and it may get worse and become more widespread. There is no way I or anyone I know could fill out those forms accurately. Like the anonymous and also onerous "terrorist" no fly list, it is a bureaucratic tool that one normally associates with a police state or totalitarianism that started with the Patriot Act under President Bush II and much of it has continued under President Obama.
I stand by my my original statement - I have literally met hundreds of people with no significant passport problems, and if I meet you, you will be the first. My purpose was not to gloss over your bad experience, but rather point out that U.S. government passport process abuse does not appear to be widespread - yet. However, it is good that the first ones caught in the web tell their stories publicly so public awareness is raised?
Have you contacted that ACLU? They actually will take on conservative and liberal issues if they have real merit - and this issue obviously does. Many people don't have $5k to fight the bureaucrats, and the ACLU could help them. (No references to ACLU and these forms in my Google search.)
thanks, it has been a real challenge. I am suing the State department and working with the Idenity Project. My observation, DO NOT PUT A FOREIGN ADDRESS ON YOUR PASSPORT APPLICATION. and look at some of these sights to inform yourself, but never take the position, well, it only affects just a few.
You just reinforced my decision to always maintain a U.S. address. Do you think that your foreign residence address was the primary trigger for your selection be required to fill out the DS-5520?
If I were younger, I might pursue Panamanian citizenship, but I'll probably settle for a Pensionado "semi-permanent" resident visa, and then a cedula (a permanent national ID card, but not associated with citizenship.).
They did this to my little brother recently when he applied for his (first) passport so he could go on his honeymoon back in May. Luckily his fiance'-now wife is very organized and resourseful and was able to get it done. He has lived in the US all his life, never had any legal problems, and is an all around good guy. (I would say that even if he wasn't my lil bro!! :) Couldn't understand why they made him go through all this but luckily they were able to jump through all the hoops. They were freaking out at the time though.
U.S. passport renewals are normally very simple, and if you have your old passport and it is in good condition, you can do it by mail. I still had my first (expired) passport from the 1980's, but had lost my second (also expired) passport. This meant re-application, but my 1941 birth certificate and 1951 adoption papers were accepted without question. The process was simple, quick - with the extra fee for expedited processing - and uncomplicated. I did the renewal procedure at my local U.S. Post Office in Sebastopol, California in January before coming to Boquete.
The DS-5513 and DS-5520 appears to be part of a draconian process that is is apparently applied, at least currently - only to problems with birth certificates and a few other flagged issues on the State Department's list. The new standards for birth certificates require a raised seal and full names of both parents. Here's a LINK to the current passport renewal requirements, and there is a tab for new requests in the left-hand column.
It is obvious that the onerous DS-5513 and DS-5520 forms are being used selectively, which makes them a government weapon to be used against selected citizens for whatever reasons. They really should have an intermediate form for people with birth certificate issues, but don't hold your breath. In the U.S., as in Panama, it makes sense to do thorough research and ask lots of questions before beginning a bureaucratic process. If you jump into a bureaucratic process blindly and without thorough preparation, and you greatly increase the odds of a having very complicated, unpleasant, and frustrating journey.
Bureaucratic harassment of citizens has been around for a long time. Read Kafka's "The Trial" as an prophetic example of excessive bureaucracy. Here in Panama, the bureaucracy is a pain in the buttocks, but so far in my short tenure here, it has been easily navigable for me with planning and good assistance. However, especially with the new free trade agreement with the U.S., Panama may be importing draconian laws and regulations from the U.S. When I read about new regulations like the one that pays bureaucrats fees or bonuses to locate people who supposedly violate internet copyrights, I fear that some of the things that I had grown revile and fear in the U.S. may be coming here.