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How Can I Get A USA Passport Card?

By Ben Pate

For the convenience and safety of American citizens, the US State Department has provided the option of a lightweight card as identification when crossing certain borders. Also known as a PassCard, it became available in July 2008. So, what is it? Is it the right choice for you? Here is what you need to know about the passport card id.

The passport card is a limited substitute for the passport booklet as proof of US citizenship. It can be used for land and sea trips to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. It cannot be used as an international travel document for any other countries and it is never applicable to flights.

People who frequently cross borders for work or play may find several advantages in the passport card. The greatest purpose for the card is to benefit the population of Americans that live in border towns. It is the size of a credit card, so it easily fits in your wallet, and the price is lower than the booklet. It is also believed that these cards will decrease the wait times at the border.

There are certain security features involved to protect the PassCard from counterfeiting. The RFID chip helps the security process at the border, but there is no personal identification information held within the chip. The U.S. passport booklet and many credit and debit cards also have the same kind of chip. For those who feel that it is necessary, a sleeve is given with the card that blocks transfer of information.

Many people that choose the PassCard are attracted to the price. Compare the forty five dollar passport card to the one hundred dollar cost of the traditional booklet. Both are valid for the same amount of time. For those under the age of sixteen, a passport is valid for ten years. It needs to be renewed after five years for children under sixteen years of age.

A passport card has the same requirements as the conventional booklet. If it is your first time getting a passport, you will need to apply in person at a Passport Application Facility and provide identification. In addition, two 2×2 photos and a birth certificate or proof naturalization need to be brought to show US citizenship. This will be sent with the application and returned in the mail along with your new card.

If this is not your first passport, you do not need to appear in person and can send your entire application by mail. Your passport booklet can be sent in as proof of citizenship and identity. It will be returned when you receive your card. There is also an option to apply for both the card and booklet at the same time.

If North American travel is all that you require, perhaps the USA Passport card would be good for you. There are many places on the internet that can help you with getting a USA passport card of your own.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Pate, Ben "How Can I Get A USA Passport Card?." How Can I Get A USA Passport Card?. 27 Jun. 2010. 7 Oct 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Pate, B (2010, June 27). How Can I Get A USA Passport Card?. Retrieved October 7, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Pate, Ben "How Can I Get A USA Passport Card?"

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