Citizens of the United States, who look forward to travel to and return from the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada and Bermuda, may obtain US passport cards. US citizens may not use passport cards to travel by air and US passport cards may be used only to travel by sea or land. This card is small and not as costly as the US passport book. However, US citizens who seek to travel to those places by air will have to obtain US passport books.
File Form DS-82 to Obtain a US Passport Card
Native US citizens and people who obtained US citizenship, through naturalization, can apply for US passport cards. You will have to go directly in person, to a passport agency to apply for a passport card, if you are applying for the card for the first time. Copies of your US citizenship, birth or naturalization certificates and passport style photos, must accompany your application.
If you already hold a US passport book, you may file an application for a passport card by mail. Similarly, you may file Form DS-82, to renew your US passport, while applying for a passport card. Remember that people who do not have US passport books and who are ineligible to file Form DS-82, by mail, will have to file Form DS-11, in person, to obtain US passport cards.
Validity of US Passport Cards
Similar to the US passport books, US passport cards issued to adults are valid for a ten-year period and the cards issued to children of age 16 and less, are valid for five years. You need to pay $55, if you are filing an application for a US passport card for the first time and $30, if you already hold a US passport. While applying for passport cards for minors, an application fee of $40, must be paid.
Purpose of US Passport Cards
These US passport cards, can be used by the US citizens, as a proof of US citizenship. These cards are beneficial for people who travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean, more often. People who hold US passport books may apply for passport renewal and US passport cards at the same time, by filing Form DS-82, by mail.
These cards issued by the US Department of State, contain electronic chips and those chips do not contain your personal information. These chips will only allow the CBP officers to obtain information about you, stored in government databases. Moreover, you need to remember that you cannot use passport cards to travel by air and to travel to other foreign countries. You will have to apply for and obtain US passport books to travel to other countries and to travel by air.