The US passport is believed to be one of the strongest passports of the world. There are many interesting facts and things about this passport. In this blog, we try to enumerate some of them for an interesting read for our readers:
• Many US citizens can have multiple passports at once
Surprised on hearing this? Well, this is actually true. Many people do not know about it, but US citizens have the right of holding more than one valid US passport. However, these are limited cases and there are valid reasons behind it. As per the US State Department, US citizens can seek a second passport, which is restricted to cases in which certain stamps and visas on the passport would hamper entry into another country. A second passport is also provided in case the primary passport is held up due to visa delays and immediate international travel is on the cards.
If you thought that anyone and everyone can get this facility, you are mistaken. These are exceptional cases for which a second passport is issued to US citizens. As per the State Department, people who might need a second passport include international journalists, international flight staff, and executives working in multinational companies etc. This whole matter came into forefront when it was found that President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Mr. Paul Manafort had three valid US passports. It was found that Manafort had made applications for passport 10 times for different US passports in over 10 years time. This was deciphered from the documents found. When his indictment took place, he had 3 valid passports with different ID numbers.
The US State Department does not promote having secondary passports. However, if someone needs it for genuine purpose, the procedure of getting the same is nothing very difficult. Documents needed for getting a secondary passport include completely filled up passport renewal form, a passport photo and a letter mentioning the exact reason why the candidate is seeking a secondary passport. The fee required for the process is less than $135. While the main ‘primary’ passport has validity of 10 years, the secondary passport will be valid for only 4 years.
A secondary passport is needed when certain visa and permit stamps might prevent you from entering into another country. For instance, if a passport has visa stamps from Israel, countries which do not have diplomatic relations with the country might deny a traveler’s entry into the country. This is applicable for many other countries of the world. To get a secondary passport on this basis, one has to write an application to the State Department and furnish evidence of previous travel stamps to Israel.
It might also happen that you have applied for a visa for some country and there is significant delay in the same. In case you need to travel immediately to some international destination, the State Department will issue a secondary passport. For such cases, detailed letter mentioning the visa delays and the immediate travel itinerary has to be furnished along with the complete application form for getting the secondary passport.
• Child sex offenders can be identified on their US passports
A registered child sex offender in the US will have his crime known by his passport as well. This is because such offenders will now have passports in which they will be identified for their past crimes even when they are traveling to a foreign country. As per information from the US State Department, steps will be taken for revoking the existing passports of child sex offenders. They will have to apply for a new passport altogether which will carry ‘unique identifier’ of their status. First time applicants (offenders) for the passport will also have the identifier but in a different manner. The back cover of their passport book will have a notice printed which will read, “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to (US Law)”.
The Department also informed in a statement, which appears on its official website, that smaller travel documents popularly known as passport cards will not be issued to registered child sex offenders as there is not abundant room for fitting the notice. This change has been brought in response to previous year’s “International Megan’s Law”. The main aim of the law was to curb and eliminate child sex tourism and child exploitation. The law was however highly criticized by civil libertarians as they thought that this was being highly broad and the target was for just one category of convicted people.
The law was named after Magan Kanka, who was a 7-year old girl and brutally murdered by a child sex offender. The incident took place in the year 1994 in New Jersey. The case stirred the nation and the world and several state sex offender registries were created. The State Department is taking prompt steps regarding the passports of the offenders. It has already made arrangements for getting names of such offenders from U.S immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security and sending them notices. This is the agency which has responsibility of identifying child sex offenders in the country. Not only this, the agency has sole power of including and removing names of such offenders. Offenders will be able to able to travel to international destinations with their current passports till the time the revocation is announced formally. There is still doubt regarding the fact whether the list of offenders will be provided by the officials of U.S immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security.
Lots of speculations are going on as what would finally happen and whether the law will be enforced. Various kinds of updates and upgrades are taking place in the US passport. Security features are also being added n the passport to make them full-proof. The State Department will update the details in their official website for general people.