The passport card was designed to increase the speed and security at U.S. land and sea border crossings. A U.S. passport card is used as U.S. identification when entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. It can be used at land crossings and sea ports. The passport card is more convenient (smaller) and less expensive than the traditional passport book.
The passport card contains a radio frequency identification, or RFID, chip that allows border inspectors to access photographs and biographical information stored in secure government databases as the traveler passed through an inspection station.
It’s important to note that no personal information is stored on the passport card’s RFID chip, so you are not exposing your personal data to anyone capable of reading it. Keep it inside its protective sleeve and you are protected from unauthorized reading or tracking when the card is not in use.
Passport cards are ideal in these situations
- Cruise travelers departing from the U.S. on cruises that travel in the approved regions.
- Business travelers who frequently have to cross U.S. borders by land or sea.
With some cautions
The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air – only land and sea and only in the regions previously mentioned. If you miss your connection and the cruise sails without you, you may be routed through a country where a passport card is not accepted. In those situations, you’ll be turned away at the gate or forced to return to the U.S. without catching up to your cruise.
See the instructions to apply for a U.S. Passport Card on the U.S. State Department website.