We began production of the U.S. Passport Card on July 14, 2008. To date, we have issued over 700,000 U.S. Passport Cards. Applications for the U.S. Passport Card are being processed in approximately 3 weeks from the time of application.

An alternative to the US Passport

An alternative to the US Passport

The wallet-size passport card is convenient and less expensive than the passport book. However, the U.S. Passport Card cannot be used for international air travel. This new travel document can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry.

Note: A current or previous passport book holder, who is eligible to use Form DS-82 , may apply for a passport card as a renewal by mail. First time applicants for a U.S. Passport, and those not eligible to use Form DS-82, must apply for a passport card in person using Form DS-11.

The card has the same period of validity as the U.S. Passport Book: 10 years for an adult and 5 years for minors under age 16. The card costs $45 for a first-time adult passport applicant and $35 for all minor applicants under age 16, regardless of whether they are previous passport book or card holders. Adults who already have a fully valid passport book may apply for the card as a passport renewal by mail and pay only $20.


To facilitate the frequent travel of U.S. citizens living in border communities and to meet DHS’s operational needs at land borders, the passport card contains a vicinity-read radio frequency identification (RFID) chip. This chip points to a stored record in secure government databases. There is no personal information written to the RFID chip itself.

With RFID technology, Customs and Border Protection inspectors will be able to access photographs and other biographical information stored in secure government databases before the traveler reaches the inspection station.

The passport card uses state-of-the-art security features to prevent against the possibility of counterfeiting and forgery. In addition, a protective sleeve is provided with each passport card to protect against unauthorized reading or tracking of the card when it is not in use.


The US Passport Card provides a lower price alternative to the US Passport while possessing most features of a genuine US Passport. There are differences one being that you cannot use a US Passport card to board an airplane. So if you are in Canada or Mexico and some emergency occurs and the boarders are shut down you will have to wait for them to be opened. You cannot buy an airline ticket and board that plane using your US Passport Card. You will be stuck in either country until the event plays out and the boarders are reopened.


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