The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Germany ( Gerard )


1492. Your 1970, 1st. See general instruction November 18, 1911, 77 consular.1 Passports should not be issued in all cases of class mentioned, but discretion should be exercised. Naturalized citizens who have long resided abroad and evidently would not have returned this country but for conditions resulting from war should not ordinarily be granted passports. This is especially true as to persons previously refused passports.


Rules of June 1, 1915, governing the granting and issuing of passports to those who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States 2

The first section of the act approved March 2, 1907, “in reference to the expatriation of citizens and their protection abroad,”[Page 907]provides “That the Secretary of State shall be authorized, in his discretion, to issue passports to persons not citizens of the United States as follows: Where any person has made a declaration of intention to become such a citizen as provided by law and has resided in the United States for three years, a passport may be issued to him entitling him to the protection of this Government in any foreign country: Provided, That such passport shall not be valid for more than six months and shall not be renewed, and that such passport shall not entitle the holder to the protection of this Government in the country of which he was a citizen prior to making such declaration of intention.”
This section is not intended to confer upon persons who have only declared their intention to become citizens a general right to receive passports upon application. Such passports will be issued only when it is affirmatively shown to the Secretary of State that some special exigency requires the temporary absence of the applicant from the United States, and that without such absence the applicant would be subjected to special hardship or injury. Under this law passports can not be issued to declarants who intend visiting their native lands.
Such passports will not be issued to those who have made the declaration of intention and who have failed, through their own neglect, to complete their intention and secure naturalization as citizens of the United States; nor to those who may make the declaration of intention in order to secure passports and leave the United States, nor shall more than one such passport be issued to any applicant.
It is therefore ordered that before a passport shall be issued to anyone who has made the declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States the following facts shall be established to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State:
That the applicant has resided in the United States for at least three years as provided by law.
That he is not yet eligible under the law for final naturalization.
That at least six months have elapsed since the applicant’s declaration of intention.
That the applicant has not previously applied for and obtained a similar passport from this Department.
That a special and imperative exigency exists requiring the absence of the applicant from the United States. The burden of proof will, in each case, be upon the applicant to show to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State that there is a necessity for his absence. The statement as to such necessity must be detailed and supported by satisfactory corroborative evidence. Under this rule passports will not be granted to persons who wish to go abroad as commercial travelers.
That the applicant has not applied for or obtained a passport from any other Government since he declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States.
Applications must be made in the form of an affidavit to the Secretary of State. Blank forms of application are not furnished by the Department.
The affidavit must be executed before a clerk of a Federal or State court within the jurisdiction of which the applicant or his witnesses reside and the seal of the court must be affixed.
If the applicant signs by mark, two attesting witnesses to his signature are required.
The applicant is required to state the date and place of his birth, the date of his emigration to this country, his occupation and the place of his permanent residence, the name of the court before which he declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States and the date of the declaration, where he intends to travel, how long he expects to remain in each foreign country, for what purpose he is proceeding abroad, the circumstances which make his absence necessary, that he intends to return to the United States, and the probable duration of his absence therefrom. No fee is prescribed by law for the issuance of a declarant’s passport.
If any previous application for a similar passport has been denied by the Department, this fact must be stated by the applicant.

The application must be accompanied by description of the person applying and should state the following particulars, namely: Age, ——; stature, —— feet——inches (English measure); forehead, ——; eyes, ——; nose, ——; mouth, ——; chin, ——; hair, ——; complexion, ——; face, ——.

The application must also be accompanied by duplicate photographs of the applicant, on thin paper, unmounted, and not larger in size than three by three inches. One must be attached to the application by the clerk of the court before whom it is made, with an impression of the seal of the court so placed as to cover part of the photograph but not the features, and the other sent loose, to be attached to the passport by the Department. Photographs on cardboard or postcards will not be accepted.

The applicant’s declaration of intention must be forwarded with his application, which must also be accompanied by two supporting affidavits from citizens of the United States, who shall state that the applicant is the person he represents himself to be, how long they have known him, and that the facts stated in his affidavit are true to the best of their knowledge and belief.

A passport may be granted to a declarant under the statutory provision quoted above for purposes of identification and protection in foreign countries, other than his country of origin, but not for the purpose of facilitating reentry into this country. All matters relating to immigration being under the supervision of the Department of Labor, any inquiries concerning the right to reenter the United States should be addressed to that Department.

W. J. Bryan
  1. Foreign Relations, 1911, p. 1.
  2. Unnumbered Departmental order. Passports are not issued to declarants who are natives of countries which are at war, nor to declarants who intend to visit belligerent countries.