How To Obtain A Passport Card
The US Passport Card allows you to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at sea ports of entry, land border crossings and is more convenient and cheaper than a passport book. You cannot use a passport card when traveling by air internationally. You must have the original copies of all required documents. They will not accept photocopied or notarized copies. If applying for a passport card on behalf of someone else you must provide proof of your relationship to, or responsibility for, the person you are filing for. You must also show your own proof of ID.
How To Apply For A Passport Card
Only US citizens may apply for a passport card. If you already have a valid US passport book, then it is not required to also have a passport card to travel internationally. You can apply for a US passport card by mail if you already have a US passport book and eligible to use Form DS-82.
You can use Form DS-82 to renew your passport book at the same time that your apply for your passport card. Otherwise if you never had a US passport book and you are not able to use Form DS-82 you then must apply in person with Form DS-11. All passport cards will be returned using First Class Mail. Passport cards cannot be shipped to you using overnight delivery.
|Adults (Age 16 and Older)||Minors (Under Age 16)|
|Validity: 10 years||Validity: 5 years|
|First-Time Applicant Cost: $55||Cost for All Minors: $40|
|Previous Passport Holder Cost: $30||-|
Passport Card Security
To increase speed, efficiency, and security at US land and sea border crossings, the passport card contains a vicinity-read radio frequency identification chip. There is no personal information written to the RFID chip, it simply points to stored records in secure government databases.
With RFID technology, Customs and Border Protection inspectors will be able to access photographs and other biographical information stored in secure government databases as the traveler approaches an inspection station. The passport card uses state-of-the-art security features to prevent against the possibility of counterfeiting and forgery. A protective RFID-blocking sleeve is provided with each passport card to protect against unauthorized reading or tracking of the card when not in use.
Your Guide to the US Passport Card
The passport card is a useful piece of identification for U.S. citizens who are interested in traveling domestically or to select countries abroad. The federal government is responsible for issuing these documents to applicants. In turn, these cards provide recipients with proof of identity and U.S. citizenship. Often, people wonder, “What is a passport card?” This question often arises because citizens know it is different from a passport book, but they are not sure how. A complete explanation of these differences and similarities are provided below, along with additional information about this identification card.
There are specific procedures applicants need to follow in order to obtain their US passport card. This is especially true for candidates who are hoping to obtain these documents in a short timeframe. Furthermore, there are specific forms and procedures that applicants may need to use, depending on whether or not they were issued a passport in the past. While this process may seem overwhelming to first-time applicants, candidates who prepare for the application are more likely to obtain these documents with ease.
What is a passport card?
A passport card is a REAL ID-compliant federal identification document that citizens can use when traveling domestically or to select international locations. Beyond travel within the United States, cardholders can use this travel document when entering the following destinations:
- Caribbean Islands
However, users must also remember that the US passport card is only valid for land or sea arrivals. This means that cardholders cannot use these documents as federal identification for any international plane travel. For domestic travel, though, these cards are useful. Generally, they are cheaper to obtain than passport books, and they are valid for as long as the books are.
Passport Book vs Card
It is common for travelers to wonder, “What is the difference between a passport book and card?” Often, the passport book is more common because it is a versatile document for U.S. citizens who are hoping to travel overseas. In fact, a federal passport book is the only government-issued identification document that U.S. citizens can use for international plane travel. However, applicants must first understand the passport card vs passport book debate before they choose which documentation is better for them.
Beyond the fact that there are certain limits to where individuals can travel with their passport card, there are certain advantages to this form of identification. First, the US passport card is usually cheaper to obtain than a passport book. Therefore, applicants who do not plan on taking any international plane trips may consider this to be the more appealing option. Likewise, the card is smaller than the passport book. The card is shaped like a state-issued driver’s license and can fit inside a standard wallet.
However, candidates who cannot decide if they prefer the passport cards vs book can choose to apply for both documents. While applicants would need to pay the mandatory fees associated with both forms of identification, they have the convenience of applying for both documents at the same time.
How much does a passport card cost?
In some instances, the lower passport card cost may be one of the reasons that applicants are drawn to this form of identification. With a US passport card, individuals have the chance to obtain a federal identification document for about half the price of what they would pay for a passport book. Generally, candidates can expect to pay the following fees for their passport cards:
- Applicants who are older than 16 years of age can expect to pay $65 for their cards.
- Applicants who are younger than 16 years of age can expect to pay $50 for their cards.
- Renewal candidates who apply by mail can expect to pay $30 for their cards.
How do I apply for a passport card?
When candidates apply for a US passport card, there are different forms they may need to use and procedures they must follow. This is dependent on applicants’ situations. For example, candidates who already have a passport book or card may apply for their passport card by submitting Form DS-82 by the mail if they:
- Can submit their current documentation with their applications.
- Have cards or books that are not excessively damaged.
- Received their last federal passports within the past 15 years.
- Obtained their last passports when they were older than 16 years of age.
- Have the same name that is printed on their old passport books or cards, or they have legal proof of their name changes.
However, US passport applicants who do not qualify under these situations need to use an alternative document, Form DS-11, and apply in person. In particular, candidates who have never had a passport before need to apply in person. How long does it take to get a passport card? The wait time for passport cards can vary depending on how quickly applicants need this documentation. However, candidates need to be sure that they factor in processing times when they determine how long it will take to receive their cards. In any case, petitioners who ask, “How long does it take to get a passport card?” need to remember that it usually takes the same amount of time to get a card as it does a passport book.
For standard requests, the processing time alone takes between four and six weeks. However, applicants can choose to expedite a passport online through an approved third-party provider if they need their cards more quickly. In these situations, candidates need to pay an additional fee that is required for anyone who requests these services.
How to Replace a Passport Card
In order to replace a passport card that has been lost or stolen, individuals need to contact their nearest government agencies and request new identification documents. However, the specifics regarding the exact agencies cardholders need to contact depend on where they are and when they are traveling. For example, candidates who are in the United States but plan to travel within three weeks need to visit a passport agency and apply for their US passport card replacement in person. On the other hand, citizens who are abroad need to contact their closest U.S. embassy or consulate representatives and request replacements. In any case, individuals may need to pay an associated passport card fee for these replacement documents.