Even though you are not traveling right now because of stay-at-home rules to prevent spreading Coronavirus, this might be a good time to apply for a Passport Card to use when we can resume travel.
It’s a little known alternative to the full US Passport, can be used instead of a driver’s license that does not comply with new ID rules, and it’s easy to get by mail. It’s also valid for ten years.
The new ID requirements were to start on October 1, 2020, but the pandemic has pushed that for one year, to Oct. 1, 2021.
President Trump suspended the rights of New Yorkers to participate in the Trusted Traveler program, to get or renew a Global Entry card, which includes TSA Pre-Check rights.
That affects around 200,000 NYC and NY State residents.
Advantages of a Passport Card
It’s safer than carrying around your US Passport for domestic flights, in case your driver license deosn’t comply and you can’t get or can’t renew your Global Entry card.
It’s also cheaper than a US Passport, and even cheaper than the Trusted Traveler program currently blocked for New York City and New York State residents by the White House.
And it’s the same size as your driver’s license.
Like a traditional passport book, the passport card is proof of your US citizenship and identity.
The book can be used for any type of international travel.
The card is valid for domestic airline travel plus international travel by land or sea, but not by air.
The Passport Card is valid for entering the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from:
- The Caribbean
The Passport Card costs $65 for first-time applicants, and is valid for ten years.
Renewals are $30
That compares with a Global Entry card that costs $100 for five years, and a “regular” passport book, good for ten years that costs $145 for first-time applicants and $110 for renewals.
Find out more about the Passport Card here, on the US Dept. of State website.
Real ID Compliant Driver License
Here’s why most people don’t have a Real ID license: long lines at the DMV.
The Real ID Act requires Americans to have proper identification in order to fly on commercial aircraft.
The law was enacted after the Sept. 11 terrorism attack, and was due to go into effect on Oct. 1, 2020.
Again, that has been pushed back one year by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Driver licenses which comply with the new rules have a star in the upper right corner.
That rule applies in New York State, and for the rest of the USA, as well.
Look for the star. Or use an alternative form of identification to board an airline flight after October 1, 2021.