1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What is a passport card and how do I apply for one?

By

Passport Card

A passport card is an alternative to a conventional passport.

Question: What is a passport card and how do I apply for one?
With the new travel requirements brought into effect by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, the passport card has been introduced as an alternate form of identification.
Answer: The passport card is a wallet-sized identification card that proves US citizenship. It is an alternative to carrying a conventional passport book and is valid for land and sea travel to and from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. The passport card is not valid for air travel.

The new passport card contains an electronic chip that allows immigration officials to access the card holder's biographical information. The chip itself does not contain personal information, it simply allows border officials to access the information which is stored in a secure government database.

The main advantages of the passport card are its cost and practicality. The passport card costs considerably less than a conventional passport, $45 for the first card, which is valid for ten years, as opposed to $100 for a passport. For children the cost is $35 for a card valid for five years. Because of its small size, the passport card will fit in your wallet, as opposed to a passport book which can be impractical to carry.

The application process for a passport card is similar to applying for a passport. Find out how to get a passport or passport card.

More frequently asked questions about Mexico travel documents and entry requirements:

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.