Copyright 2012 by John T. Reed

I have recently urged readers to get a second or third passport to have perhaps fortune- or even life-saving flexibility in the event the U.S. politicians decide to make America as unlivable as the Austrian and German politicians made those two countries unlivable via hyperinflation in the early 1920s.

A reader asked if by “second or third passport” I mean duplicate copies of their current U.S. passport.

No. You’re only allowed to have one U.S. passport at a time. I am talking about becoming a citizen of one or more other countries in addition to being a citizen of the U.S.

Some people call this a “dual passport.” There is no such thing as a dual passport. If there were, what would the third one be? a Tri-passport? And the fourth a quad-passport? I’m just telling you to become a citizen of one or more other countries, say Canada and Singapore, in addition to being a U.S. citizen.

Is that legal?

Yeah. Some foreign countries do not allow you to be a citizen of their country and also a citizen of another country. I already wrote an article about getting a second or third passport. I also wrote about when you need to flee the U.S. and where to go.

It has come to my attention that many of my readers do not have a first passport. This article is about U.S. citizens making sure they have a U.S. passport. It is not about eligibility for it—just about getting around to filling out the paperwork and paying the fee to make sure you have the passport you are allowed to have. You must actually phsyically have the little passport booklet, not just have the right to get one, in order to benefit from it.

You were born and raised in the U.S. You are eligible for a U.S. passport. But you have not bothered to get one, or you had one but let it expire.

Get your first one or renew your expired one NOW!

Imprisoned in the U.S.

The U.S. government has never imprisoned its citizens inside the country. But there are noises they may do that in the future. Noises like you can’t renounce your U.S. citizenship until they audit your last five years of tax returns.

I do not recommend renouncing your U.S. citizenship at this time.

I am also concerned that Canada and maybe other countries will end letting Americans visit their country on an automatic 90-day tourist visa if and when America becomes a nation of 314 million economic refugees from hyperinflation.

But those of you who are U.S. citizens but who do not have current U.S. passports—what are you thinking!? It can take months to get your passport for the first time or to get it renewed. It requires documentation of your basis for claiming citizenship—typically that you were born here. You have to get a portrait photo taken. And it requires a fee. And it often requires standing in lines. The fee is not that big in normal times, nor are the lines, but then we are not getting the damned thing for normal times, are we? So you sure as hell better get it DURING normal times rather than wait until a monetary crisis!

Let me state this as starkly as possible to make sure you are properly motivated to get this done.

The U.S. government has never forbidden its citizens from leaving the country like the Communists countries have done. But if you have no passport from any country, you are imprisoning yourself inside the U.S.! The U.S. government will not be the one stopping you from leaving. The foreign governments at the various destinations will be the ones not letting you in. If no country will let you in, it is the same as if the U.S. won’t let you out.

Forgot passport but still allowed in

I don’t want to get too melodramatic about this. My wife went to visit a college classmate in Canada a couple of years ago. She forgot her passport. They let her in based on a photocopy that was faxed and probably some computer checking with the U.S. government. But again, that was in normal times and all my writing about foreign currencies, countries, and passports is preparation for extreme financial emergency. Also, unlike a recent American pro athlete who was not allowed into Canada to play a game because he forgot his passport, my wife was not trying to defeat a Canadian athletic team.

I did not have a passport for about 30 years

Also, I don’t want to suggest I have always had a U.S. passport. I got my first when I was a cadet at West Point because I was going on a trip to Russia on summer leave with some classmates. That got canceled by the West Point authorities because of the Yom Kippur war. I traveled to Europe hitching rides on U.S. Air Force planes in August of 1967—including spending a day in Communist East Berlin. I needed no passport because West Point cadets are active duty U.S. Army soldiers and under the rules of the occupation of Germany by the World War II allies, we U.S. active-duty personnel could go most places in Europe with just our U.S. military ID cards.

I let that passport expire. We traveled to Montreal, Canada once when I was in grad school in 1976, but traveling to Canada did not require a U.S. passport or vice versa back then. Now you do need a passport to cross the U.S.-Canadian border because of 9/11.

I renewed my passport in 2007 because my wife and I took a Caribbean cruise. In 2008, my youngest son and I went to London, Paris, and Rome because he had never been out of the U.S. and he was 21 so I figured it was my last chance to make him take a trip with a parent. He had to get a passport for that trip. My oldest son got a passport when he was about 26 to go on his honeymoon to London, Paris, and Rome. My middle son got a passport to travel abroad when he was in college.

So I had no need for a passport, nor a passport, from around 1976 to 2007. Times have changed. Now, every American needs to have a U.S. passport and keep it current. You can and should renew it earlier than the expiration date. The U.S. State Department recommends that.

They expire in 10 years.

Like almost all of my other hyperinflation protection advice, this won’t hurt you if, somehow, we avoid getting hyperinflation.

Two to six weeks

To get your first passport, you must appear in person, fill out forms, submit evidence that you are a U.S. citizen (like a certified copy of your birth certificate), prove your ID (photo drivers license), submit a passport photo (which will be printed into the passport booklet), and pay the fee (about $135).

State Department says it currently takes 2 to 6 weeks to get a passport. The 2-3 weeks is an expedited service that costs extra and is only available to people in certain situations. BUT THAT IS AS OF 8/27/2012 WHEN THERE WAS NO FINANCIAL EMERGENCY IN THE U.S.! If and when we get a financial emergency, most likely hyperinflation as of 8/27/12, the number of State Department passport processors will be about the same but the number of applicants will skyrocket so the wait times will skyrocket. Plus, during hyperinflation, 2 to 6 weeks is about how long it takes for the purchasing power of your dollar-denominated life savings to drop by 75% to 90%.

Not just for travel; also to open foreign bank accounts

Passports are not just for travel. I urged readers to follow my example and open bank accounts in foreign currencies in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. See the following articles for details:

A readers shares contact info with a New Zealand bank that allows you to open an account there without visiting in person

My Australian bank says okay to identify them

A Canadian bank that may not require you to come in person to open an account

A reader provides another Canadian banker contact

Living in the U.S. but keeping your cash in selected foreign currencies and banks

Each of those there countries’ banks requires a U.S. passport for Americans to open accounts there. I expect that all the countries in the world require that you show a passport to open a bank account there. So you need a passport not only to get your body out of the U.S. You need one to get your money out of U.S. dollars.

Everbank, a U.S. bank, will let you put your money into foreign currencies without a U.S. passport, but they will also convert your foreign currency into U.S. dollars if the U.S. government orders them to, so their foreign currency accounts are of no use for the purpose of protecting your savings from hyperinflation.. You must get the money out of the U.S. and thereby out of the control of the U.S. government because the U.S. government is the perpetrator of U.S. dollar hyperinflation. There are already executive orders in place in the U.S. that purport to give the U.S. government the authority to order you to turn all foreign currencies and gold and such into the U.S. government in the case of a “financial emergency.” (Executive Orders 11051, 11490, and 11921.) The Constitution gives no such authority to the federal government, but the U.S. Supreme Court illegally went along with such nonsense during the Great Depression and I have no faith they would do the right thing during 21st-century hyperinflation.

Every single member of your family

Which of your family members need passports? Just the patriarch?

No. Every family member who will be an owner of your foreign bank accounts —typically husband and wife—and every family member you would want to take with you in the event an emergency in the U.S. made it intolerable to stay here.

Dr. Dean Edell said his dentist had a waiting room sign that said

Floss only the teeth you wish to keep.

Same applies to getting passports for your family members. Get passports for only the family members you wish to keep.

Would you even get a passport for an infant?

Absolutely. You must. See

If you are an American who does not have a current passport for you and all your family members, get them NOW!

John T. Reed