In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, we’ve been asked if we expect to see a surge in passport applications from people who want to leave the country. It’s true that many people always talk about moving to Canada or other international destinations if the election doesn’t go their way. Very, very few people actually follow through on it, though!
Although we don’t expect to see a passport rush from people fleeing the US, some political analysts are urging certain groups of Americans to acquire passports now.
Trump’s election has alarmed many people in the LGBT community, who are concerned that they may lose many of the rights that have been gained over the last decade. Trans people feel particularly vulnerable. The rights of trans people have already been the subject of fierce battles across the United States, even during the Obama administration. Transgender activists have been making suggestions of concrete actions that trans people can take now to protect themselves from the possible consequences of the coming Trump/Pence administration. Chief among those suggestions – get a passport now!
It’s important for transgender people to have identification that correctly lists their legal name, gender, and shows their current appearance. Every state maintains different rules about the issuance of driver’s licenses, so it may be difficult for some trans people to update their driver’s license to reflect their gender transition. The rules for passport issuance for trans people are the same from coast to coast. Under the current rules, trans people can have a passport issued with an appropriate gender marker if they submit documentation from their doctor showing that they are in, or have completed, gender transition. The name can be updated by submitting the original court order for name change. This original document is returned when the passport is issued, but the letters from the doctor or medical records will be retained by the State Department.
With a valid US passport, trans people will be able to continue to travel freely both inside and outside the United States. This will be particularly important as of 2018, when the REAL ID act will be enforced at all US airports for domestic flights.
Transgender passport applicants may also want to consider getting a passport card in addition to a passport book. Having a card-sized federal ID showing the current name and gender will be essential for anyone who has trouble updating their driver’s license.
Trump’s election has also raised worries for immigrants to the United States. During the campaign, many mentions were made of “deportation squads” to round up undocumented immigrants. In October, Trump released his official plan for his first 100 days in office, which includes the mass deportation of 2 million illegal immigrants.
Legal immigrants, including naturalized US citizens, may worry about being harassed over their immigration status. Having proper documentation available to prove legal status should help ease those fears. We offer the following recommendations:
- Non-US Citizens legally residing in the US should make sure their foreign passport is valid and up to date. Passport renewals can be requested through the embassy or consulate of the home country. Find the nearest embassy or consulate in the US by searching the State Department’s Diplomatic List.
- Permanent Residents should ensure that their Permanent Resident Card (“green card”) is valid and available. Permanent Resident Cards expire every 10 years, even though the residency status does not expire. Green cards should be renewed when they are six months away from expiration. Lost cards should be replaced immediately.
- Naturalized Citizens should apply for a US passport book, passport card, or both. It’s a lot easier to carry around a passport card than a naturalization certificate!
US-Born Children of Undocumented Immigrants
Anyone born on US soil is automatically a US citizen, regardless of the citizenship status of the parents. Even the children of undocumented immigrants are granted US citizenship if they are born in the United States. With the increased focus on illegal immigration following Trump’s election, any child eligible for US citizenship should get a passport now. At the very least, the parents of US-born children should have their original birth certificates available. The original birth certificate issued by a US city or state serves as positive proof of the child’s US citizenship. With the US birth certificate or US passport, even if the family moves out of the United States, the child will always be able to claim US citizenship and return to the United States.
Has Trump’s election inspired you to get or renew your passport? Passportinfo.com is here to help with all the information you need to get a US passport.