Beginner’s Guide to the US Passport Card
The US passport card is an important travel document. If you plan on leaving the country and do not want to purchase a full passport book, the card is an option you may want to consider. With a passport ID card, you can travel to certain countries using specific forms of transportation. However, it is important that you understand the difference between a passport book and card before you obtain your credential. This is because there are certain limitations that are associated with the card that do not apply to the book.
Whether you are wondering where to get your US passport card application or how to apply for your document, you should begin preparing early. While you have the option to apply for an expedited passport card if you need your document in a hurry, the process is less stressful if you prepare ahead of time. Therefore, you should make sure you understand the purpose for the USA passport card before you apply for this document.
Passport Book vs Card
If you are wondering, “What is a passport card?” it may be because you did not know this was a document you could obtain. Most travelers have a passport book because they provide more flexibility in terms of where you can travel. A book also gives you more options regarding the types of transportation you can use to reach your destination. If you are deciding between passport book or card, it is important that you understand how these documents differ.
A notable difference between the passport book and passport card is where you can travel with these credentials. If you have a passport book, you can travel to most any country outside of the United States. However, if you have a passport card, you can only use it to travel to:
- Caribbean islands.
Furthermore, if you are deciding whether you should apply for a passport card or book, remember that you need a passport book to travel by airplane. Even if you are going to one of the countries listed above, you cannot use a passport card to fly to those destinations. You can only use your United States passport card to travel by land or sea to these countries.
Do I need a passport book and card?
You do not need to obtain a passport book and card. However, if you choose to apply for both documents, you are responsible for paying the application fee for each of these passports.
How to Get a Passport Card
When you are ready to apply for a passport card, there are certain steps you must take. If you are a first-time applicant, you need to go to a passport office and submit your application. There is no passport card apply online option. For these reasons, it is important that you prepare your application before you arrive at the office.
If you are wondering how to apply for a passport card in person, consider scheduling an appointment at the office where you want to apply. Some facilities may require you to schedule an appointment. Other locations may allow you to walk in and apply the same day. Regardless, make sure you bring the following items with you when you apply:
- Passport application form DS-11
- Proof of citizenship
- Your government identification card
- Passport photo
Where to Get a Passport Card
If you are interested in getting a passport card, make sure you know where you need to go to submit your application. If you are applying for your first passport, you need to go to an acceptance office. These passport offices are usually located inside:
- Post offices.
- Clerk of courts offices.
How long does it take to get a passport card?
After you apply for a passport card, you must wait for your request to be processed. Usually it takes between four and six weeks for the U.S. Department of State to process your application. If you need your ID sooner, you can pay to have your application for a passport card expedited. With this option, your document will be processed in two or three weeks. However, if your travel plans will take you abroad in less than two weeks, do not apply at an office. Instead, you must apply at a passport agency.
How much is a passport card?
The US passport card fee you need to pay depends on your age. An adult passport card costs $30. The passport card price for a child is $15. Regardless of your age, you must pay a $35 acceptance fee along with your application when you apply for your document.
How long is a passport card good for?
Whether you need a passport card for a cruise or another type of travel, you probably want to know how long your document is valid for. Generally, an adult passport card is valid for 10 years. On the other hand, child passport cards are valid for five years. When your document is about to expire, you need to renew it. If you meet specific requirements, you can renew your ID by mail using Form DS-82. Otherwise, you need to use Form DS-11 and apply in person again.
What to Do if You Have a Lost Passport Card
If you realize you have a stolen or lost passport card, you need to contact the Department of State immediately. You can also call the National Passport Information Center or report the status of your lost passport by filling out Form DS-64. If you are abroad when you lose your document, you should go to your nearest consulate or embassy and report your missing document.
After you report the status of your passport card, you will need to replace your document. If you do not have immediate travel plans, you will replace your passport card by applying for a new document using DS-11 at a passport office.