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Passport Card Explored

Aug 27, 2008
Beginning production on July 14, 2008, the US Passport Card has been well received by many, but numerous organizations and individuals have disputed the right to privacy associated with this credit card sized passport. Issued by the US Department of State, this convenient card has been filled with much controversy thanks to the addition of one electronic chip.

The process for obtaining the Passport Card is quite similar to the traditional Passport Book. You will still need the appropriate verification and identification, but you will pay considerable less for the card generally more than 50 percent, and renewals only cost about $20 at this time.

How people use the Passport Card will vary greatly from how those Passport Book holders will use their book. A passport card is only valid for travel by land or sea which means it is going to target US citizens traveling to neighboring countries. If you plan on traveling into or out of the US, you will still need a passport book.

This means if you plan on crossing from the US to Mexico, Bermuda, Canada, or the Caribbean, this little card may be just right for you. The internationally accepted travel document is still recognized as the passport book which means you will still need this to travel abroad.

The controversy is not so much that there is a smaller version of the passport book, but that in each card there is a vicinity-read radio frequency identification chip. This tiny electronic chip will allow people such as border patrol inspectors to scan a scanner type gun at you and get a specific number that will pull up a lot of your personal information.

Many opponents of the passport card claim this is going too far; that it is an invasion of privacy. All the while, the government claims this is completely safe because there is no personal information directly on the card itself. All the card has on it is a personal number that points to a government secured database with all of the personal and relevant information.

The government also claims that this has been done using the latest of technologies guaranteeing you and your information's safety. In addition, you will want to get the protective sleeve that guarantees your passport card can only be read at the appropriate time. Unless you remove the card from the protective sleeve, it cannot be read.

As of August, 2008, expedited services were not available when applying for your passport card. However, the government has stated it "anticipates" that expedited services will be available at a later date. This means if you are interested in this new card, you will want to apply well in advance.

In addition, overnight delivery is not available. You will need to apply and use First Class Mail service instead of the convenience overnight delivery saying time for an additional fee.

While the passport card has been filled with controversy, many people are still waiting to apply for this convenience. Is this technology right for you? Only you know the answer, but if you are concerned about this technology, you may still be able to apply for the traditional passport book.
About the Author
Nance Leighton owns and operates VIP Passports Inc from Houston, Texas. She proudly offers services associated with passports, birth certificates, photos, and much more. If you need it, she has it!
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