Proving I Exist

I applied for a U.S. passport, thinking it would be a relatively simple process. My experiences with the United States Department of State and those affiliated with it have tried my patience and my patriotism. Currently my existence is being questioned. My birth certificate and drivers license was not enough–they still think I am an impostor.

I received a paper entitled “SUPPLEMENTAL WORKSHEET” that appears to have been typed by an 8 year-old. It asks for my history, stopping just short of my favorite breakfast cereal and times I sneezed in 1993. With this worksheet I need to provide original documentation from childhood to the present establishing my existence. It would be easier if I could just give them a DNA sample.

It’s a bit bewildering that I could pay taxes for 16 years, have a drivers license for 15 years, vote for 14 years, and register a vehicle for 12 years and still not exist.

When I called to find out why my existence was being doubted I got a helpful lead: new documentation is not trusted. I had renewed my license right before filing the application, and I had also acquired a new copy of my birth certificate to submit. The fact that both of these documents were fresh off the presses doomed me.

Having your existence doubted is frustrating.



Filed under General

3 responses to “Proving I Exist

  1. Lucy’s application is also likely suspect then; she got her birth certificate within the last year and doesn’t have a driver’s licence. I’ll expect a “SUPPLEMENTAL WORKSHEET” in the mail any day now.

    Is there a line for testimonials? I would be happy to provide a “I hereby testify that Ben Hoover exists…” statement.

    Also, I am listening to Silvertide. Many thanks for that introduction.

    • Surprisingly there is no place for testimonials on the SUPPLEMENTAL WORKSHEET, but I appreciate the offer. If this form does not establish my identity I think I’ll just stop paying taxes.
      Silvertide will be in my road trip mix next week.
      I’ll lend you the SINAI “Pinch of Chaos” album; I’m curious what you’d think of it.

  2. Anonymous​wp/2011/04/27/​state-dept-already-using-il​legal-passport-questionnai​re/
    All use of the current Supplemental Worksheet is in violation of the Paperwork Reduction Act.
    » Anyone who is given, or who has been given, the Supplemental Worksheet (or any other form without an OMB control number) has an absolute right to decline to provide any answers. They could also report the officer who gives them to form to the State Department Office of the Inspector General for violation of the Paperwork Reduction Act.
    » Absolutely no penalty (including denial of a passport, denial of permission to travel, or interference with the right to travel) can legally be imposed on anyone for declining to provide any information requested on the Supplemental Worksheet.

    (Although the State Department rarely points this out, the Department’s own regulations at 22 C.F.R. § 51.28 entitle passport applicants to establish their identity by the affidavit of an identifying witness in lieu of documentary evidence of identity. If you want to go this route, make an appointment at a passport acceptance office, and show up with a witness who is willing to sign an affidavit that they know you and you are who you say you are, and who has their own ID credentials (preferable a passport) with them. Ask the passport acceptance officer for a copy of the current version of State Department Form DS-71 for your identifying witness to complete and sign in the passport acceptance officer’s presence.)

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