A Conversation in a Government Office Where Passports are Issued and What to Make of It All
The events described below happened at about 8:00 am on September 24, 2019. Names have been changed from those having the conversation for the purposes of privacy.
The eyewitness was across the room and the conversation was not completely clear. This is therefore being brought to your attention as a point to think about.
What is relayed below is what was audible and could be overheard:
Customer: Hello, here are the the documents for my wife’s passport.
Clerk: Sir, her name on the identification documents does not match the name on the forms you submitted.
Customer: Her name is Tova. She goes by Tova. That’s her name. She needs a passport.
Clerk: Yes, okay, sir. But the documents say Leah. The name on the form must match the documents.
Customer: No. Ma’am. She goes by Tova and we were told that is okay. Tova is her name. It is what is used on other forms. The birth certificate, see, her middle name, its Tova.
Clerk: Sir. But the name on the documents must be as listed on the identification documents.
Customer: Yes. But I came in before. I spoke with someone. They said it was okay. She isn’t called Leah. She’s called Tova. So, I spoke with someone and that person said that we could use the name my wife actually uses. I was told there is a way to do it, to write it. And, its fine.
Clerk: Okay, well, if you were told it is okay, your wife must fill out the form with something that says that she is also known as. Have her fill out the form and add that and then come back to me.
END OF AUDIBLE CONVERSATION –
This all may be very innocent. The person overhearing the conversation could not see the content of the documents presented to the clerk.
But, if the passport is accepted by the government agencies, what if Tova actually already has a passport in the name as documented, Leah? And, what if she is then issued two passports?
While the person relaying this conversation said it was difficult to hear, it is conceivable that the State will issue this woman a second passport using her middle name, based upon the responses of the customer.
If, indeed, it is easy to have passports issued in names that are similar to but not exactly those names on the identification papers is somewhat unsettling. This would mean that it is possible for someone to carry two passports with different names and use each for different purposes. One person effectively becomes two.
This entire conversation could be meaningless. The departments that issue passports could return all documentation as invalid. But, it is something to think about.