The PASS Card, also known as a passport card or a border card, is a form of identification issued by the State Department. In some cases, the PASS Card can be used instead of a full-sized passport. Specifically, travelers who are United States citizens can use a PASS Card when entering or leaving Mexico, Bermuda, Canada, or the Caribbean by land or sea. Currently, a full-sized passport is still required for all air travel outside of the United States.
Since the PASS Card has been available, United States citizens have liked it very much and the border card has in fact become very popular with travelers. Unlike a full-size passport, the passport card is small, much like a driver’s license or credit card, and fits easily into wallets. It is also quicker to apply for than a traditional passport. In many cases, the PASS Card arrives just three weeks after an applicant has applied for the document. As well, applying for the PASS Card is less expensive than applying for a full-sized passport.
Many people who travel frequently between the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean by sea or land finds that the PASS Card is more convenient. For example, people who frequently take cruises to the Caribbean find that the passport card or border card is a convenient way to reenter the United States. Similarly, people who live close to the border of the United States often find that carrying the PASS Card is much less cumbersome than carrying a full-sized passport. They can simply leave the border card in their wallets at all times and have it handy when they pass the border.
The passport card is also very handy for people who live near the border because immigration checks can occur well past the border, and having a border card can help establish identity and status and so help prevent delays. For people who live near the US and commute frequently into the US, the passport card eliminates the hassle of having to remember a full-size passport book. As well, it’s easier to produce the passport card at the border. Like a driver’s license, it can be kept at the front of the wallet and simple shown as identification. In fact, some frequent travelers find that the border card speeds up travel, since border and immigration authorities do not have to flip through a passport book. For minors, the PASS Card is valid for five years, and for most applicants and adults, the PASS Card is valid for 10 years.