The New U.S. Passport Card Is Now Available

Posted by Brenda Sprague
August 20, 2008
U.S. Passport Card Conference in Miami

About the Author: Brenda Sprague serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services.

It was a dark and stormy night… no, actually, Monday was a dark and stormy day, and as Tropical Storm Fay roared toward southern Florida, I was preparing for a press conference. As the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, I was in Miami to launch the Department of State's new passport product, the U.S. Passport Card. The press conference was held at the Port of Miami on August 18. With a cruise ships in the background, I addressed, in Spanish and English, print reporters about the newly-minted passport and its advantages for the traveler's wallet: its convenient size and affordable cost.

Below I’ve tried to answers a few of the questions you may have about this new passport product.

What is the U.S. Passport Card?

It is a wallet-sized travel document issued to U.S. citizens. When American citizens return to the United States by land or by sea from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, or Bermuda, the U.S. Passport Card documents your citizenship and identity in one convenient-to-carry-and-use card.

What Is The Difference Between The Book And Card?

The two main differences deal with your wallet: One is size and the other is cost. The convenient pocket-sized format that will allow you to travel conveniently with a secure form of identification and proof of U.S. citizenship.

For adults, if this is your first U.S. passport, the Card will cost $45 and you must apply in person. Minors under the age of 16 must pay $35 for a U.S. passport card, even if they have previously been issued a U.S. passport. If you currently have a valid U.S. passport, you may be able to apply for a U.S. passport card by mail for only $20. By way of comparison, the passport book costs $100 for first-time adult applicants and $85 for children. Adults can renew their passport books for $75.

When you’re deciding which document you want, consider another important distinction: the passport book can be used for all international travel – land, sea or air anywhere in the world. The new U.S. Passport Card can be used only for land and sea travel returning to the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. The one you choose will depend on your travel plans for the future.

I bet you want to now how can you get One?

Information on how to apply for a U.S. Passport Card or the traditional U.S. passport book can be found at the U.S. Department of State’s website, Travel.State.Gov.

Why Am I So Excited About this Card?

With the deadline for these new document requirements less than one year away, we urge U.S. citizens to apply today for their U.S. Passport Cards.

Don’t delay – be sure you have the document you need so you can continue traveling anywhere in the world you need to go. Apply for your U.S. Passport Card today!



Ari H.
Massachusetts, USA
August 22, 2008

Ari in Massachusetts writes:

This is great. Are there plans, if the project is successful, to gradually replace the pass book with the pass card for all travel?

Massachusetts, USA
August 30, 2008

David in Massachusetts writes:

The Passport Card and Enhanced Driver's Licenses are a welcome replacement for insecure and hard-to-verify photoless birth certificates, but they are severely limited because they can't be used to travel internationally by air. They seem to be as secure as the booklets so I can only assume the issue is money for card readers at airports. Instead, travelers will bear the large cost of the more expensive booklet. A family of 4 would spend $40-$100 for documents if driving to Canada but about $400 if they fly. I hope the issue will be revisited soon and that governments will spend the money to make the cards acceptable for air travel.


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