In the U.S., the passport application asks for:

  • A contact and their information
  • Intended destination for the first use of the passport
  • Details about one's parents

Why is this information part of the passport application?

(In my opinion, these questions leave the applicant open to being put in touch with people they'd rather not be in touch with or having the parents learn about the applicant's travel plans.)

  • This is not an advocacy forum. Furthermore, begging the question in the title does not constitute an on-topic question.
    – feetwet
    Dec 7, 2015 at 1:40
  • 1
    You discuss a lot of "rights" that I am not sure that you actually have under the law. Note that the focus of this site would be what the law is; what you want it to be is off-topic. By the way, for (A), you do know that airlines are, in many cases, required to give passsenger information to the US government anyway? Dec 7, 2015 at 1:41
  • Also, before getting so worked up, have you tried simply submitting the forms with the offending questions left blank, or marked "None" or "Decline to state"? At least for A, it's not unusual for people to apply for passports without having any specific travel plans. You say a passport "may" be denied if you omit these, but unless it actually is, there is not really any controversy. Dec 7, 2015 at 1:46
  • The stuff about your parents is traditional in civil records to help establish your identity. It is also potentially necessary information to establish that you are a US citizen, in case you were born outside US territory. If you were born on US soil, you might be able to omit it. The travel plan information is important for helping them to make sure you get your passport before you need to travel. If you leave it blank, they are not likely to deny your application, but it will certainly be processed at the lowest priority.
    – phoog
    Dec 7, 2015 at 2:37
  • @phoog The parental info is mandatory unless you do not know it (and the application is under penalty of perjury, so if you don't feel like giving it and say "unknown" you're committing a felony). Travel plan info and emergency contact is optional (but useful: travel plan info so you can get it in time to travel, emergency contact info so the consulate can contact someone in an emergency). As a side note, if you're born in the US you're generally supposed to submit a birth certificate, so I'm not sure what benefit omitting the info would give you.
    – cpast
    Dec 7, 2015 at 5:33

1 Answer 1


You have the right to withhold this information; they have the right to withhold a passport.

You do not have a right to a passport; it is a privilege and that privilege may be withdrawn at the discretion of the State Department for all sorts of reasons.

As a US citizen you have a right to travel within the US; you don't need any papers for this. However, if you wish to cross an international border then both the country you are departing and the country you are arriving in will decide the circumstances under which you can.

  • To say that you do not have a right to leave the country makes it sound as if you're talking about East Germany. Feb 26, 2023 at 2:46

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