Passport info for next year

U.S. Passports and the New Passport Cards

As many people are aware, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was created to help strengthen security at our borders. It will require U.S. citizens traveling by land from Mexico to present passports or another accepted form of identification upon entering the U.S. by January 1, 2008.

What type of documentation will be required to return to the U.S. at that time?

All travelers will be required to present one of the following to an officer upon returning to the U.S.:

  • U.S. passport
  • Passport card
  • SENTRI pass*
  • Border Crossing Card (or “laser visa” for Mexican citizens)
  • NEXUS program* (used along Canadian borders)
  • FAST program* (for commercial truckers) *At this time it is anticipated that the SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST programs will be acceptable for re-entry, although this has not been completely confirmed.

I’m familiar with a U.S. passport, but what is the new passport card?

The new passport card will be able to fit into your wallet, like a driver’s license, making it easy to carry. It will be perfect for frequent travelers who cross land borders between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. The card will be a less expensive alternative to a passport, yet it meets the requirements of a passport when traveling by land. The new card will use biometic technology meaning it will have a computer chip containing the information of the traveler as well as a digital image of the them.

When will the new passport card be available?

The State Department is currently developing the program and is looking to have it implemented by the end of 2006.

I know passports can be expensive for a family, what will be the cost of the new passport card?

They believe the passport card will cost $50, although it may be less expensive if possible. This makes it about half the cost of a U.S. passport.

Can I use this card when I return to the U.S. by air or sea?

No. The card is only for land crossings.

Where can I get a passport card?

It has not been announced how to obtain a card, but we will update this page when we have more information.


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