US Passport Card: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a US Passport Card?

The US Passport Card is a fully valid passport. You can use this credit-card-sized document to reenter the United States from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean when traveling by land or sea. It is smaller and more convenient to carry than a passport book, and it is less expensive to obtain. You cannot use the passport card when you travel by air. You need a regular passport book to do that.

How long is the card valid?

The passport card is valid for 10 years for adults and five years for minors under age 16.

How do you apply for a passport card?

You need to be a US citizen to apply for a passport card.

Are the passport cards secure?

The US Passport Card contains a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip. Your personal information is not stored on the chip; only a number that goes to a secure government database is.

How much does the passport card cost?

The passport card fees varies if you are an adult or a minor applicant. It also varies if you travel to a passport acceptance facility, or send it by mail.

Do I need to have a regular passport to get a US Passport Card?

You do not need to have a regular passport to apply for a US Passport Card.

What is the history of the passport card?

The first US Passport card was issued on July 14, 2008. The passport card was created when it became necessary to use a passport for travel to and from US border communities. The passport card is good only for land and sea travel from border crossings and sea ports-of-entry into the United States from Mexico, Canada Bermuda and the Caribbean.

What is the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP)?

If you have a child under age 18, you can enroll him or her in the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program, or CPIAP. This program is from the US Department of State. Its purpose is to help prevent international child abduction by a parent. If you enroll your child in CPIAP, the State Department alerts the parent or parents if a passport application is submitted for their child, giving parents the opportunity to verify or approve the application or not. This program cannot prevent a parent from taking a child out of the United States, however. Unless there is a court order that prohibits one parent from taking the child out of the country, there is typically nothing that US law enforcement can do.