If you're planning to travel outside the US you'll need a passport to enter most countries. However, a US passport card is a convenient alternative if you're traveling by land or sea to neighboring countries like Canada, Bermuda, Mexico or the Caribbean. This card is also an acceptable form of identification for domestic flights and is cheaper than a traditional passport book.
The application process for a US passport card is similar to that of a passport book but with a few key differences. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to get a US passport card including the necessary documents, fees and processing times. So, whether you're a first-time applicant or need to renew your existing passport card this article will help you get started.
Understand the purpose of a passport card
The primary purpose of a US passport card is to serve as a valid form of identification when crossing the US borders by land or sea. It is particularly useful for people who frequently travel between the US, Canada, Bermuda, Mexico or the Caribbean for business or leisure purposes. A passport card is also a useful form of identification for domestic travel as it can be used in place of a state-issued driver's license or other ID.
Another advantage of a passport card is its smaller size and cost. Passport cards are less expensive than traditional passport books making them a cost-effective option for those who only travel within North America or the Caribbean. They are also more convenient to carry around than a passport book as they can easily fit into a wallet or purse.
Overall, the purpose of a US passport card is to provide a simple and convenient form of identification for US citizens who frequently travel within North America or the Caribbean by land or sea.
Your eligibility to apply for US passport card
You must meet certain eligibility requirements to apply for a US passport card. These requirements are designed to ensure that only US citizens who are authorized to travel internationally are issued passport cards. Here are the key eligibility criteria:
You must be a US citizen.
You must be able to provide evidence of your US citizenship.
You must be at least 16 years old to apply for a passport card on your own; if you are younger than 16 you must apply with a parent or guardian.
You must not have been convicted of certain crimes or be subject to certain legal restrictions that would prevent you from obtaining a passport card.
In addition to these general eligibility requirements specific requirements may apply depending on your circumstances. For example, if you are applying for a passport card for the first time you must provide additional documentation to prove your identity and citizenship. If you renew an existing passport card the requirements may differ.
It's important to review the eligibility requirements carefully before you begin the application process to ensure you meet all the necessary criteria. This will help ensure that your application is approved and that you receive your passport card promptly.
What are the additional requirements for US passport card
In addition to the required documents several other requirements must be met to obtain a US passport card. Here are some of the additional requirements that you should be aware of:
Depending on your circumstances you must complete and submit the appropriate passport application form (Form DS-11, DS-82 or DS-5504).
You must pay the appropriate fees which vary depending on the type of passport application and how quickly you need your passport.
If you are applying for a passport card for the first time you must apply in person at a US Department of State passport agency or authorized acceptance facility.
If you are renewing your passport card you may be eligible to apply by mail using Form DS-82 but only if your previous passport card was issued when you were 16 years of age or older and if it was issued within the past 15 years.
If you have lost your passport card or it has been stolen you must report the loss or theft to the US Department of State immediately and follow the appropriate procedures for replacing it.
You must adhere to the US Department of State's photo requirements including size, composition and lighting when submitting your passport photo.
Fees and processing time
The fees and processing times for a US passport card vary depending on the type of application and how quickly you need your passport card. Here are some general guidelines:
First-time adult passport card (16 years and over): $30 application fee + $35 execution fee = $65 total fee
First-time child passport card (under 16 years): $15 application fee + $35 execution fee = $50 total fee
Renewal of adult passport card by mail: $30 application fee
Expedited service: additional $60 fee per application
Routine processing: 4-6 weeks
Expedited processing: 2-3 weeks
It's important to note that processing times may vary depending on the time of year and other factors. It's also important to check the US Department of State's website for the most up-to-date information on fees and processing times before submitting your application.