Proposed biographical questionnaire for passports may keep you from traveling freely

The US Department of State has proposed a new Biographical Questionnaire for all passport applicants. Because of the lengthy and detailed questions, many may not be able to complete the form. If you wonder what the big deal is, here are some examples of what you must answer on the new questionnaire.

You must list:

  • 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
  • mother’s place of employment at the time of your birth
  • did your mother receive pre or post-natal care, where, and name of her doctor
  • describe the circumstances surrounding your birth, including who was present, include their names and addresses at the time
  • any religious ceremony conducted or recorded at the time of birth
  • all schools attended

If you cannot provide all the information, the proposed form states that, “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”

I was born in the United States of America. I can provide proof of that. I have also had a US passport since 1984. I cannot give the details of almost everything they are requesting. It is a simple fact that I do not know them. It is not information that I ever cared to remember. I do not think, even if I asked my mother, she could remember all this information.

What happens when people cannot remember this information?  What will happen when parents are dead and the child cannot possibly know any of this information? Why is it necessary to list all this invasive information solely so you can leave the country? Why does the United States want to keep its citizens trapped within its borders?

As it stands now, it would be easier for me to obtain a weapon than a passport. Tell me again that we have haven’t turned into a police state and aren’t restricting the right to travel.

You don’t have much time left. If you want to have your voice heard, you’ve only got a short time left. The Department of State is allowing comments on the newly proposed Form DS-5513 until April 25, 2011.

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

Mail (paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions): Alexys Garcia, U.S. Department of State, 2100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Room 3031, Washington, DC 20037
Fax: 202-736-9202
Hand Delivery or Courier: Alexys Garcia, U.S. Department of State, 2100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Room 3031, Washington, DC 20037

You must include the DS form number [DS-5513], information collection title [Biographical Questionnaire for U.S. Passport], and OMB control number [none yet assigned; 1405-XXXX requested by Dept. of State] in any correspondence.

Alternatively, you can submit comments online at until midnight EDT on Monday, April 25, 2011.  Go here, then click the “Submit a Comment” button at the upper right of the page.

Papers Please has more on this as well.  Since time is short, I urge you to use the information provided by Papers Please and file your objections on their web form.

Author: Michael Jansen
When it comes to cyber-security & privacy protection, no one is better than our chief editor Michael Jansen. Michael started tinkering with computer networks in the early ’90s with led him to study computer science and network engineering at the university. He was always a privacy protection advocate and decided to start this project with his like-minded friends.