Some travelers use passport cards as an alternative travel document when they are traveling across borders. Some people store them in their wallets and you're probably wondering if this is a safe idea. Fortunately, we looked into this question and we have the answers for you.
Like many government-issued photo IDs, you should never keep your passport card in your wallet. In the unfortunate event of a lost wallet, your passport card falling into the wrong hands could be a problem, particularly with identity theft.
We know that this advice sounds too ominous, but it's important to keep these identification cards safe while in your possession. Keep reading this post because we will give you more information about passport cards and the best ways to keep them safe during your travels.
Should I Keep My Passport Card In My Wallet?
For many travelers, the most important travel document they have in their possession is their passports. It's the most powerful travel document anybody can have because it allows a person to visit other countries via land, sea, or air travel.
Some travelers, especially those who are simply crossing country borders prefer using passport cards as their travel identification. These cards are similar to passport books, although it does have a few limitations.
Passport Cards are Government Issued IDs
Passport cards are valid government-issued identification cards for travel. They fit in the standard slot of a wallet, and it contains all the necessary information you'll also find in your standard passport book. It also has built-in RFID which makes border entry a lot faster.
This passport card is the result of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). It is an inexpensive way for U.S. nationals to cross borders because it costs less to apply for a passport card.
Since these passport cards are sized similarly to regular IDs, a lot of people keep them in their wallets. After all, it sounds like it's the most logical thing to do since the cards do fit nicely in a wallet slot. However, keeping a passport card can be dangerous.
Keep Your Passport Card Safe
Because of this, seasoned travelers agree that you should never store your passport card in your wallet.
Due to the rising number of identity theft, losing your passport card along with your wallet can spell trouble for you. A passport card has enough information about its owner and this information can be used to do fraudulent bank transactions or even travel in your name.
In the wrong hands, a passport card can give so much valuable information that should be protected. Losing a wallet is more common than most people think, so remember to store your passport card in a safe place.
What Is The Passport Card For?
A passport card is a government-issued identification card that U.S. citizens and non-citizen nationals can use for foreign-border entry via land and sea travel. This card is not an accepted form of travel document if you are traveling internationally by air.
These passport cards have the same validity durations as passport books. This means that adults aged 16 years old and above can have passport cards that are valid for 10 years. Children up to 15 years old will receive passport cards with a 5-year validity period.
A passport card has limitations on its use. One of its first limitations that we have discussed is that it is not valid for international air travel. For domestic flights, you can take your passport card with you and use it for identification purposes.
The passport card can only be used for land and sea travel at certain borders and countries. This card is only recognized at land borders and sea ports of entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
If you are going to travel to these countries via air travel, you must have your passport book with you. The passport card will not allow you to travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda if you plan to ride a plane.
What's The Difference Between A Passport Card And A Passport Book?
Aside from their physical structure, there are a few key differences between a passport card and a passport book. Here are some of the differences you'll find between the two.
Border Entry And Countries To Be Visited
The major difference between passport books and passport cards is the manner of border entry where you can use them. With passport books, travelers can enter all borders whether it is by land, sea, or air. Passport cards can only be used for land and sea travel.
As for the countries to be visited, the passport book is definitely a lot stronger than a passport card. Passport cards are only valid in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The passport books can take you to any country where the U.S. passport is valid.
Format And Size
Passport cards, true to their name, are card-sized travel documents. They measure 3.3 x 2.1 inches and will fit the standard card slot in any wallet.
Passport books, on the other hand, measure 5 x 3.5 inches when closed and it comes with 32 pages for a standard book.
According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, there is a stark difference between a passport book and a passport card fee for first-time applicants. If you travel a lot via land, sea, or air, you might want to consider getting both for practical purposes.
For first-time applicants of passport books, the prices are:
- Adults (16 years old and older) - $165
- Minors (infants to 15 years old) - $135
For first-time applicants of passport cards, the prices are:
- Adults (16 years old and older) - $65
- Minors (infants to 15 years old) - $50
The renewal prices are also different for both:
- Passport book renewals by mail - $130
- Passport card renewals by mail - $30
Where Should You Keep Your Passport Card?
Now that we have established that keeping a passport card in your wallet is not a very good idea, you're probably wondering where to keep it safe. At home, the most ideal place to keep your passport card and passport books is inside a secure, fireproof home safe.
Don't take your passport card with you for domestic travel if you can help it. Simply take your driver's license and another personal ID with you if you need to have one for whatever reason.
But what about when you're traveling? Shouldn't you have your passport cards with you at all times? Well, not really. If you are staying in a hotel, it would be best to store it in the security of your room's safe.
Travel experts suggest that it would be better for you to keep a photocopy of your passport and take it with you everywhere instead. The real passport card or book should be in the safe.
However, if you are uneasy about leaving personal documents in your hotel or if you're not really staying for long, there are other alternatives where you can keep your passport cards. Get yourself a money belt or a travel neck wallet that you can hide under your clothes.
A travel belt is an amazing investment especially if you prefer to have your important possessions with you all the time. You can hide the belt underneath your clothes, so you are sure that you'll have your passport card or money with you all the time.
Alternatively, you can also try using a travel neck pouch if you don't like having something strapped to your waist. A neck pouch is easier to hide underneath your clothes and it is bigger with more compartments, so this can also be perfect to use with passport books.
Wrapping Things Up
Passport cards are great to have if you are traveling somewhere close. Because of their small size, it can be easier to lose—along with all the important information you should keep safe. Always remember to keep it safe and avoid bringing it with you all the time for your safety.
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