*The passport fees have recently changed. As of April 2nd, 2018, the passport acceptance fee has gone up from $25 to $35.

As part of a court settlement, the US Department of State has created a new set of procedures to govern passport services for applicants who were delivered by midwives near the US/Mexican border. The settlement was the result of a court case brought by the ACLU against the government for denying passports to US citizens born near the border and delivered by midwives. 75 midwives near the border have been convicted of birth certificate fraud since the 1960’s.  These convictions made the government suspicious of anyone who was delivered by a midwife near the border and applied for a passport. Many were asked to provide additional documentation, and others had their applications denied outright. 

Of course, if you’re born in the US, you’re a citizen, no matter who delivered you-and you should be able to get a passport.  To avoid leaving passport applicants in limbo, the US Department of State now has a set of standard procedures to ensure that all applications are processed quickly and decisions are not made arbitrarily. Each application that the Department of State deems “questionable” has to be reviewed by a three-person panel, and passport services  cannot be denied solely because the person in question was delivered by a midwife, even if the midwife is suspected of fraud by the Department.

Some of the applicants who were denied a passport under the old rules can reapply for passport services without having to pay the $75 application fee, although they will have to pay the $25 execution fee again to resubmit their documents.

Whether you were delivered by a midwife or in a hospital, it’s a good idea to apply for your passport well before you expect to travel, just in case the Department of State needs any additional information to process your application.

A private passport expediting company can help you get your application processed more quickly.  Although these companies don’t have any control over the Department of State’s decisions, they can get your application seen and processed much faster than it would be if you applied directly through the government-often in as little as 24 hours.

If the Department of State has any problem processing your application, you’ll know immediately and have a much better chance of getting everything corrected before your trip. Plus, a good expediting company will help you with the paperwork so that you can avoid common application errors that cause delays.

Don’t wait until the last minute- apply for passport services today!