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U.S. Passport Card Applications Accepted Starting Feb. 1

January 28, 2008

U.S. Passport Card Applications Accepted Starting Feb. 1
Jan. 28, 2008 – According to information released by the U.S. Department of State, American citizens may begin applying in advance for the new Passport Card beginning Feb. 1. The PASS card will serve as an acceptable form of identification under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative for U.S. citizens when they return from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda to America via a land or sea entry port.

The PASS card was developed in anticipation of the land and sea provisions of WHTI taking effect in the near future. The State Department said the cards, which should be available and mailed to applicants in the spring, may not be used to travel by air. Otherwise, the card carries the rights and privileges of the U.S. passport and will be adjudicated to the exact same standards.

The Department of State is issuing this PASS card in response to the needs of border resident communities for a less expensive and more portable alternative to the traditional passport. The card will have the same validity period as a passport book: 10 years for an adult, five for children 15 and younger. For adults who already have a passport, they may apply for the PASS card as a passport renewal and pay only $20. First-time applicants will pay $45 for adult cards and $35 for children.

To facilitate the frequent travel of U.S. citizens living in border communities and to meet DHS’s operational needs at land borders, the PASS card will contain a vicinity-read identification chip. This chip will link the card to a stored record in secure government databases, but no personal information is stored on the chip itself.

For additional information on U.S. passports and the PASS card, visit the U.S. Department of State Web site.

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