Tag Archives: understanding passport cards

When traveling abroad, US citizens are encouraged to carry a passport and a visa, if applicable, for their travel destination. Whether you decide to get a passport book or card depends on your budget, the frequency with which you travel, and where you wish to go. If you’re a traveler based in Dallas, here’s a mini-guide to deciding whether a passport book or card is right for you.

A passport card is much like a driver’s license or state ID, and is a plastic card that fits easily into your wallet. Passport books, on the other hand, are larger affairs filled with blank pages for visas and stamps used as record for anytime you enter or exit a country.

The biggest difference you will find between passport books and cards is that passport books are valid for any international travel by air, sea, or land, while passport cards are only accepted for land and sea border crossings in or near North America. This includes the US, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. If you’re a US citizen, passport cards are not needed for American territories such as Puerto Rico, in which a birth certificate and photo identification would suffice for entry.

Another big difference between passport books and cards is in the cost. For adults, passport books will cost $110 plus a $35 execution fee for the first passport book, while a passport card costs $30 (plus the same execution fee for your first card). For both a book and card, you can expect to pay $140, plus the $35 execution fee if it’s your first time applying and you’re over the age of 16. For minors, passport books are $80, cards are $15, and it’s $95 for both. There’s still a $35 execution fee for first-time applicants. Both passport books and cards are valid for 10 years.

So, which one is right for you? It depends on your travel needs and budget. The passport card is definitely the budget-safe option at only $30, especially if most of your travel is in or near North America, especially for cruises and other non-air travel. It’s also handy for crossing the Canadian border by land or sea to get into or out of Alaska. For air travel, frequent international travel, and peace of mind in case of travel emergencies where you need to schedule a flight home, the passport card is your best bet and well worth the price.

If you’re a Texan traveler who wants to get your US passport needs taken care of in mere business days instead of waiting the typical 6 weeks, we are ready to assist you. Call Texas Tower Houston at 713-874-1420 about our passport expediting services today.

Do you have a passport card?

After the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiate was implemented, passport cards were designed to make it more convenient for travelers who cross the border frequently or any traveler that wants a compact way to take along their passport.

A passport card is a small wallet-sized identification card that verifies your status as a legal, U.S. citizen. It is an alternative i.d. to a traditional passport book.

Passport cards are valid for land and sea travel to and from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. It may not be used for air travel into or outside the United States, a traditional U.S. passport is required.

When traveling, border officials can scan the card and access the card holder’s biographical information via an electronic chip embedded in the card. The chip in the card does not contain your personal information, it allows border officials to access the information about the cardholder stored in a secure government database.

If you’re interested in getting a passport card, talk to us – we can expedite the process for you. Contact us at info@texastower.net or call 713-874-1420 during regular business hours.