What Is A Passport Card?

A US Passport Card, also called the PASS Card or, informally, the border card, is a credit-card-sized document that United States citizens can use instead of a regular passport for certain limited types of travel. Previously, individuals crossing land or sea borders in the United States could show a drivers license and birth certificate; however, after June 1, 2009 only government approved documentation is accepted.


Who Can Apply For A Passport Card?

Anyone who is a citizen of the United States can apply for a US Passport Card. It is especially beneficial to business travelers and other individuals who live in border communities who travel frequently by land or sea around the United States. You might want to apply for a US Passport Card even if you already have a regular passport, because you can fit the PASS card in your wallet, making it more convenient to carry than a passport book. It can also be used for identity purposes including purchasing alcohol and tobacco. The PASS Card is valid for 10 years for individuals aged 16 and over, and 5 years for children aged 15 and younger.

The US Passport Card contains an electronic chip, called a radio frequency identification chip, or RFID, chip. This chip speeds the check-in process at the borders. No personal information is stored on the chip; however, the chip contains a number, which provides access to government databases that contain your photograph and other personal information. Federal officials have touted the PASS card program as a traveler-friendly solution to the tightened border credential requirement.