What is a Passport Card? Read All About It Here.

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Are you traveling outside the United States? Then you'll most likely need to get a US passport. Depending on your destination and mode of travel, you can either use a regular passport book or a passport card as your official travel document. In this article, we'll be dealing with the passport card, including your questions about what a passport card is, and how to acquire one.

First off, a passport card is an affordable and lightweight alternative to your passport book. It is wallet-size, making it easier to store than the larger passport book, and is obviously a lot thinner as well. It is also a lot cheaper than a regular passport book, costing around half of the price of a passport book.

But take note that you can only use your passport card in limited destinations and modes of travel. Your use of the passport card is only allowed in destinations that are included in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative or WHTI. Countries and regions that are included in the WHTI are Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Bermuda. Outside of these destinations, you will have to present your regular passport book.

The use of a passport card is also limited to land and sea travel. Therefore, you can use your passport card only when traveling to WHTI areas using a car, or through ships. What if you are to travel by air? You will then have to present your passport book instead of your passport card.

If you regularly travel to WHTI countries as well as countries outside of the WHTI areas, then you have the option of applying for both types of passport. It means that you can apply for both a passport card and a passport book. You will then have the option of what you're going to use depending on your destination for a particular trip. It's also advised that you apply for both at the same time rather than individually as you will get a huge discount if you do.

Now how do you apply for a US passport card? If you already have a passport book, or had one in the past, then you can apply for a passport card through the mail. When applying by mail, you will have to fill in Form DS-82. This applies even to those getting their passport cards for the first time. On the other hand, if you haven't had any passport before, or should the passport require it, you will have to fill in Form DS-11, which is for first-time passport applicants.

Having a passport card can be convenient when you're traveling as it has a built-in radio frequency identification (RFID) chip. It enables the US Customs to verify your personal information wirelessly by simply scanning your passport card. It's quick and it's convenient, as all the information they need are quickly downloaded.

So when you're traveling to WHTI destinations by land or sea, you can always bring your passport card with you for ultimate convenience. The best thing is that you can have it along with your US passport book to provide you with flexibility when you often travel to various destinations inside and outside of the WHTI. Convenience-that's what a passport card is all about.

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