United States Passport Cards - Travel The World Without Going Broke

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Some of the best moments I have ever had came from traveling. There is simply nothing like it. Breaking out of your comfort zone to become acquainted with people and places and cultures so unlike yourself is, I believe, one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself. Of course there is the question of money. Passports, airline tickets, accommodations, transportation, and other expenses required for travel can quickly add up. However, you don't need to go very far to get away, and there is even a new alternative to the passport: the passport card.

Passport cards are a relatively new addition to the passport industry. Also known as the People Access Security Service, or "PASS" card, this card functions much as a standard passport does. Starting in July of 2008, people have been applying for and receiving passport cards in order to travel. There are only a few basic rules when it comes to using a passport card. A passport card can only be used for traveling to countries near the United States or to countries that are associated with the United States. For example, Canada and Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean are the places you can go and use a passport card instead of a passport book.

Passport cards can only be used for travel by land or sea. If you decide to travel by plane, you will not be able to use a passport card. The rationale behind the passport card is one of convenience. It was made for those who frequently travel over land borders, whether it be for a job or something else. It looks like any other card you might hold in your wallet, and is much more discreet and portable than the standard passport.

This card does a little more than other cards in your wallet. For example, it features a vicinity-read radio frequency identification, or RFID, chip. This chip, however, doesn't carry any of your personal information on it. It only contains a special number used to identify you in a government database. Some worry that because it's just a card, it can be easily forged or manipulated. However, a special laser is used to engrave it, along with other high-tech procedures, making forgeries and fakes easy to spot. The card even comes with a very special sleeve to keep it in, ensuring that no one can read your card illegally.

This RFID technology is seen in many other parts of daily life. For example, it's what your car key uses to unlock your car and not every other car in the parking lot. It's also used in some bank cards, in highway toll tags, and security access cards.

Passport books and passport cards do share some similar qualities. For example, it's basic purpose is to get you into international countries. Additionally, a passport card also features an expiration date, like a passport book. For adults over the age of 18, passport cards are valid for 10 years, while minors under the age of 18 can only use their passport card for five.

Passport cards can be obtained either online or in person. Of course, the more convenient option is online processing for United States passport cards. These sites specialize in rush passport and passport card shipping. They have applications for new cards as well as the passports renewal form, should yours expire. Everything is done on your computer, all in one stop. Suddenly, vacations and traveling aren't so unattainable.

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