The Passport Card is a Low Cost Alternative When Renewing Passports
Renewing passports is something that everyone that has one has to contend with at some point or another. The standard passport is good for 10 years and for minors 16 or younger, five years so they are good for a while but still do expire. The passport card can do the same basic job as the passport book and may be obtained at the same time a passport book is being renewed.
A passport card is more compact and much easier to deal with than the standard passport book. The wallet-sized card can be used for frequent travel across local borders such as Canada or Mexico. It is, however, not valid for air travel to any other countries. This means that a passport book will still be required, depending on the traveler’s destination, to enter or leave other countries by plane. A current passport holder can apply for the card by mail for a mere $20.00 more when renewing their passport book.
The passport card is available to all U.S. citizens, whether they hold a passport or not. Current passport holders can get theirs by mail but will need to meet certain criteria in order to do so. These criteria can be found by going online and searching it out. Once the search is completed and it is found that an individual does not meet the requirements they can still apply for the passport card, it simply must be done in person.
There is a standard processing time of four to six weeks for the card to be generated and returned to the applicant. This is the same approximate time it takes to receive just that passport book when renewing it alone. There is an expedited service that can shorten the wait time down to 2 to 3 weeks should that be preferred by the applicant. The card however, will only be returned by first class mail and there are no overnight delivery options.
Advancements in technology have made the card one of the most efficient methods of border identification available today. The RFID chip that is built in to the card allows the border personnel to scan an individual’s card and access all the necessary information regarding that person. The radio frequency ID chip can be read by the customs and border guards, giving the access to a secure database with the information, rather than it being contain on the card itself.
Passport cards are designed much in the same way credit cards are in the use of laser engraving and other methods to prevent forgery or counterfeiting. Each card comes complete with a special sleeve that blocks unauthorized people from scanning it or accessing it in any way when it is not in use. The card is a more secure method than virtually any other form of personal identification available.
The $20.00 fee for the card, in addition to any others for the passport book when applying for a renewal, is an attractive feature in and of itself. Minors and adults alike are eligible to apply for this card when renewing their passports. The minors, however, have stricter guidelines when it comes to the card although the fee for theirs is lower than the one for the adults.