New passport rules in force (1916)

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New passport rules in force

Regulations may end frauds that have been practiced

Full details of journey, oath of allegiance, duplicate affidavit and three photographs are now required where one is going when abroad, and why must be explained in full

To prevent passport frauds, the United States government has put into effect the new passport system authorized by President Wilson’s executive order of December 15. This requires a double application for a passport and three photographs of the applicant and provides for the introduction of an inspection system by which every passport will be countersigned by a United States treasury inspector when the traveler boards ship, as well as the establishment of a special passport bureau in New York city.

All applications for passports must be made in duplicate. These applications must be sent to Washington, where passports will be issued by the state department, as in the past, although in emergency passports may be issued by the bureau in New York. The original application will be kept on file in Washington. When the passport is issued, it will be sent to the bureau in New York, accompanied by the duplicate copy of the application. The applicant will be notified to call at the bureau for his passport. The duplicate application will he placed in the hands of an inspector for use in examining the holder of the passport when the latter boards ship to sail.

Must tell about intended trip

The application must name the countries it is intended to visit and give the object of the trip. The passport will contain this blank: “I intend to leave the United States from the port of _____ , sailing on board the _____ on ____, 1916,” which must be filled in. No passport will be issued to a person who falls to state the vessel on which he intends to sail. Passports will be good only on the designated steamers.

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>> Modern-day advice: Do you need a passport to go to Canada or Mexico?

One of the three photographs required to be furnished in each case will be retained in the state department in Washington, another will be attached to the passport, and the third to the duplicate application to be used by the inspector. When the applicant calls at the New York bureau for his passport, the photograph on the passport will be consulted; again, he must be checked up by photograph when he boards ship to sail.

The now requirements have been adopted as a result of the recent passport frauds. They are intended to give the American passport greater value and prestige, as well as to prevent fraud. The reforms decided upon are based partially on reports sent to Washington by Richard W Flournoy, chief of the bureau of citizenship of the state department, who has spent several months abroad studying the passport situation as affecting Americans.

How passports are issued

No one but the secretary of state may grant and issue passports in the United States, and he is empowered to refuse them in his discretion. Passports are not issued by American diplomatic and consular officers abroad, except in cases of emergency, and a citizen who is abroad and desires to procure a passport must apply there for the nearest diplomatic or consular officer to the secretary of state. The applicant must take the oath of allegiance to the United States, and his application must be accompanied by a description of himself.

In addition to these requirements, “a person born in the United States in a place where births are recorded will be required to submit a birth certificate with his application.” In the case of a person born abroad whose father was a native citizen of the United States application must show that the father was born in the United States, resided therein and was a citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth. The department may require that this affidavit be supported by that of one other citizen acquainted with the facts. A naturalized citizen must transmit his certificate of naturalization or a duly certified copy of the court record thereof with his application.

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A passport expires six months from the date of its issuance. A new one will be issued upon a new application, accompanied by the old passport, and may he renewed abroad by a diplomatic or principal consular officer of the United States. No passport will be renewed more than twice.

American citizens going direct to France from the United States are required to bear passports vised by French diplomatic or consular officer’s on the United States. An American citizen who sojourns in some other foreign country before visiting France should inquire of the American or French diplomatic representatives in such foreign country concerning the special formalities which it will be necessary for him to fulfill before entering French territory.

Russian regulations require that passport must state definitely the names of the places in Russia which the holder expects tovisit, and the objects of his visits thereto.


Illustration: Joseph Lindon Smith’s passport (1916), courtesy The Smithsonian

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