What Is A U.S. Passport Card?
Can You Use It Instead Of A Passport?

The United States only began issuing the U.S. Passport Card in July of 2008.

So just exactly what is it and when can you use it?

What Does A Passport Card Look Like?

It's a wallet size card with the same kind of information that is in your passport...

Place of Birth

Also when it was issued and when it expires and the card number.

Sample U.S. Passport Card Front
Sample U.S. Passport Card - back

The back has a bar code and your information.

There is a also computer chip embedded in the card.

The government says there is no personal information written on this chip...

...but they will be able to access your passport photo and "biographical" information which is stored in a secure government database.

The government provides you with a protective sleeve to protect against unauthorized people from reading your card when you are not using it.  (This is something you're going to have to get used to for your passports and for your credit cards too now that the US is finally going to the "chip and pin" for credit cards.)

The cost is less than for a U.S. Passport. For more details go the the US State Dept page on them.

It Is Only Good By Land or Sea

It's size may make it more convenient for you, but it is only good for travel to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda -- ONLY if you are entering or leaving by land or sea....

... only cruising or driving.

The new cards are good for 10 years just like a passport. (They are good for 5 years for children under age 16.... also just like passports.)

It Is NOT Used For Flying

The U.S. Passport Card CANNOT be used for flying into these counties or any other countries.

Sorry for shouting, but you need to know this.

You Can Get Both

You can apply for a card even if you already have a passport.

You can also apply for both at the same time if it is your first time to get a passport. If you drive across neighboring borders often, it may be more convenient for you.

Remember, you CANNOT use it for international travel by air to any of these destinations.

I know I'm shouting again, but I wanted you to be sure to remember that.

We only have our passports now, that takes card of all of our needs, but depending on how you travel, the U.S. Passport Card could be for you.

Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark

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Thanks, Judy and Mark

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Document Information
Passports and Visas

What Is A Passport
Passports - How To Get One

What Do Passports Cost?
Acceptable Identification Document
Collecting Passport Stamps

What Is A Visa?
All About Visas
Getting A Visa
Visa Requirements

Other Documents
U. S. Passport Card

U. S. Travel Authorization