The United States State Department has issued a rule proposing the development of an affordable passport card that can be used in lieu of a passport for travel by U.S. citizens through land and sea ports of entry—but not air—between the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
Congress recently extended a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative deadline, making June 1, 2009 the new date by which people traveling via land or sea from the above destinations must show a passport, or other acceptable document, in order to enter or re-enter the U.S. Air travelers from these destinations will need a traditional passport to enter the country starting January 8, 2007.
The State Department rule proposes a wallet-sized card that would cost $10 for children and $20 for adults, as well as a $25 execution fee. Traditional passports cost anywhere from $82 to $97. Like traditional passports, the passport card issued to adults over the age of 16 would be valid for 10 years, while those issued to minors under the age of 16 would be valid for five years. According to the State Department, the card itself would not contain any personal information, but would include RFID technology to link the card to a secure government database containing biographical information and a photograph. Click here for more information about the proposed identification card or about applying for a passport.