Important Correction: Passports Required to Enter and Leave U.S. – but SSNs May be Optional

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application for US passport p1 application for US passport p2 application for US passport p3 application for US passport p4 application for US passport p5 application for US passport p6 application for US passport p7The prior post noted that both a social security number (“SSN”) and a U.S. passport is required to enter the U.S. for U.S. citizens (“USCs”).

Please note that the current application for passports include the following language and provisions throughout the application (which have been partially reproduced below):

International tax lawyer, Roy Berg at Moody’s in Calgary, Alberta, Canada brought my attention to several key issues regarding this assertion:

(e) Revocation Or Denial Of Passport In Case Of Individual Without Social Security Account Number.—

(1) DENIAL.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided under subparagraph (B), upon receiving an application for a passport from an individual that either—

(i) does not include the social security account number issued to that individual, or

(ii) includes an incorrect or invalid social security number willfully, intentionally, negligently, or recklessly provided by such individual, the Secretary of State is authorized to deny such application and is authorized to not issue a passport to the individual.

(B) EMERGENCY AND HUMANITARIAN SITUATIONS.—Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the Secretary of State may issue a passport, in emergency circumstances or for humanitarian reasons, to an individual described in subparagraph (A).

(2) REVOCATION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of State may revoke a passport previously issued to any individual described in paragraph (1)(A).

(B) LIMITATION FOR RETURN TO UNITED STATES.—If the Secretary of State decides to revoke a passport under subparagraph (A), the Secretary of State, before revocation, may—

(i) limit a previously issued passport only for return travel to the United States; or

(ii) issue a limited passport that only permits return travel to the United States.

(f) Effective Date.—The provisions of, and amendments made by, this section shall take effect on January 1, 2016.

Finally, Mr. Berg also noted that there is a procedure for USCs without SSNs, at least currently, to apply for U.S. passports; albeit subject to the US$500 money penalty described above.  See, proposed Form 13997 by the U.S. Treasury Department and the comments:

The purpose of this form,and the necessity to collect information, is to obtain a valid SSN, TIN, a written statement of reasonable cause, or an explanation from the individual as to why they don’t have a SSN or TIN.

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