A passport card is a wallet-sized ID card that you can use to travel by land or sea from the U.S. to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. It’s not required if you already have a passport book; it’s just more convenient to carry. Unlike a passport book, the passport card cannot be used to travel internationally by air. Passport cards are valid for 10 years for persons over 16 or five years for children 15 and younger, and can be applied for separately from passport books or in addition to them. You can apply for a card even if you’ve never had a passport book.
How to apply for a passport card
Applying for a passport card is very similar to applying for a passport book if you have never applied for either before. If you already have a valid passport book, you can use Form DS-82 (PDF) and apply for a card by mail.
How to get your first passport card
You’ll need to gather your documents, fill out a DS-11 Form, and visit a Passport Acceptance Agent to submit your application. If you’re age 16 or older and you’re applying for your passport card for the first time, here’s what you need to do:
- Complete and print a DS-11 Form (PDF) but don’t sign it yet; you’ll need to do that in the presence of a Passport Acceptance Agent.
- Gather your Proof of Citizenship.
- Gather your ID and Proof of Identity (basically, you should provide a copy of both sides of your ID).
- Obtain a passport photo.
- Calculate your passport card fee (see below).
- Visit your local Passport Acceptance Agent so they can witness your passport application signature. You’ll pay your $25.00 execution fee to the agent and the other fees to the U.S. Department of State (more on payment fees).
Do you need to apply in person?
You must apply in person if you meet any of the following requirements:
- You are applying for your first U.S. passport; or
- You are under age 16; or
- Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16; or
- Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged; or
- Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago; or
- Your name has changed since your U.S. passport was issued and you are unable to legally document your name change.
How to renew your passport card
If you need to renew your card, or correct it, you may mail in your application rather than applying in person. If you renewing outside of the United States or Canada, there are different instructions to follow. Also, if you’re applying for a passport for a minor under the age of 16 there are some additional steps.
Passport card fees
|Passport Card Type||Passport Fee||Execution Fee||Total Government Fee|
|New Passport Card Age 16 and Older||$30.00||$25.00||$55.00|
|New Passport Card Age 15 and Younger||$15.00||$25.00||$40.00|
|Adult Passport Card Renewal||$30.00||$30.00|
Expedited Passport Card Fees
|Passport Card Type||Passport Fee||Execution Fee||Expediting Fee||Total Government Fee|
|New Passport Card Age 16 and Older||$30.00||$25.00||$60.00||$115.00|
|New Passport Card Age 15 and Younger||$15.00||$25.00||$60.00||$100.00|
|Adult Passport Card Renewal||$30.00||$60.00||$90.00|
How long does it take to get a passport card?
Processing times vary, but routine processing usually takes about six weeks and expedited processing around three weeks. Passport cards cannot be shipped via overnight delivery like passport books can; they are shipped via First Class Mail.
If you are traveling with two weeks with verified plans you may apply at a Regional Passport Agency. The $60 expediting fee still applies, but they can process the application within eight days and sometimes faster if you can prove an urgent need.
Finally, you have the option to take advantage of a Registered Passport Expediter. These are private companies that charge additional fees to assist you and expedite your card application faster than the traditional methods. They are registered with the U.S. Department of State, work directly with the Regional Passport Agency to secure passports, and can help make the process less stressful. They can provide service as fast as next business day. We’ve put together a list of recommended Registered Passport Expediters who have a proven track record of success.
Ready to Get Your Passport?
If you're in a hurry and need your passport quickly, we've got you covered. Find out more about expediting your passport and choose from our curated list of Registered Passport Expediters.