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State Department Promotes Passport Cards

Feb 26, 2009 – It's small, but it opens the world to anyone who has one.
The U.S. Department of State is promoting the use of a new, wallet-sized passport card to take the place – in some cases – of the larger, traditional passport book. As part of the effort to spread the word about the new passport, one of the new cards was presented Thursday to Lt. Gov. Gregory R. Francis.
Florence Fultz, managing director for U.S. passport services at the State Department. presented the new card to the Francis. Fultz came to the territory with the director of the Miami passport agency, Ryan M. Dooley for the presentation.
The lieutenant governor said the first time he uses it will probably be on a trip to the British Virgin Islands.
The presentation was part of a large-scale outreach to promote the new cards, which despite limitation to land and sea-based travel, are especially useful to people in states and territories that have nearby foreign borders, reachable by land or sea.
The new cards are less expensive to produce than the passport book, Fultz said. The passport book itself has many costly anti-counterfeiting features, which increase the cost.
Citing congressional concerns over the cost of passports for families in border states, Fultz said her department came up with the idea of a card.
While the State Department is working hard to promote the new cards, they haven't yet become commonplace in this area.
Dennis Jennings, chief immigration officer for the British Virgin Islands, said he first learned of the cards about a month ago. He said he hadn't had any complaints from staff about the cards.
In the British Virgin Islands the cards will be welcomed for visitors, but those seeking to live or work there must have a book-style passport, Jennings said.
According to the passport application, "The passport card is a U. S. Passport issued in card format. Like the traditional passport book, it reflects the bearer's origin, identity and nationality and is subject to existing passport laws and regulations. Unlike the passport book, the passport card is valid only for international travel by land or sea between the United States, Canada, Mexico the Caribbean and Bermuda. It is not globally interoperable and is not valid for travel by air to or from any foreign destination."
State Department officials were unclear on the implications for seaplanes but said they would seek clarification.
The card can also be used as proof of identity and citizenship.
Requirements for the passport card are the same as for a passport book. To obtain the card, a person needs to submit his or her current passport book, two recent color photos, proof of identity and the appropriate fee. Applicants in the Virgin Islands can go between 8:30 am and 4 pm to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Passport Division (next to Subway) in Nisky Center on St. Thomas, or can submit an application by mail.
More information can be obtained through the State Department's website. The Passport Division can be contacted by phone at 340-774-4024.
Francis noted that revenues generated from passport fees collected in the U.S. Vrgin Islands will go to the territory's treasury.
Like passport books, the cards are valid for 10 years for adults. For children 16 and younger passports have only five-year validity.

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Feb 26, 2009 – It's small, but it opens the world to anyone who has one.
The U.S. Department of State is promoting the use of a new, wallet-sized passport card to take the place - in some cases - of the larger, traditional passport book. As part of the effort to spread the word about the new passport, one of the new cards was presented Thursday to Lt. Gov. Gregory R. Francis.
Florence Fultz, managing director for U.S. passport services at the State Department. presented the new card to the Francis. Fultz came to the territory with the director of the Miami passport agency, Ryan M. Dooley for the presentation.
The lieutenant governor said the first time he uses it will probably be on a trip to the British Virgin Islands.
The presentation was part of a large-scale outreach to promote the new cards, which despite limitation to land and sea-based travel, are especially useful to people in states and territories that have nearby foreign borders, reachable by land or sea.
The new cards are less expensive to produce than the passport book, Fultz said. The passport book itself has many costly anti-counterfeiting features, which increase the cost.
Citing congressional concerns over the cost of passports for families in border states, Fultz said her department came up with the idea of a card.
While the State Department is working hard to promote the new cards, they haven't yet become commonplace in this area.
Dennis Jennings, chief immigration officer for the British Virgin Islands, said he first learned of the cards about a month ago. He said he hadn't had any complaints from staff about the cards.
In the British Virgin Islands the cards will be welcomed for visitors, but those seeking to live or work there must have a book-style passport, Jennings said.
According to the passport application, "The passport card is a U. S. Passport issued in card format. Like the traditional passport book, it reflects the bearer's origin, identity and nationality and is subject to existing passport laws and regulations. Unlike the passport book, the passport card is valid only for international travel by land or sea between the United States, Canada, Mexico the Caribbean and Bermuda. It is not globally interoperable and is not valid for travel by air to or from any foreign destination."
State Department officials were unclear on the implications for seaplanes but said they would seek clarification.
The card can also be used as proof of identity and citizenship.
Requirements for the passport card are the same as for a passport book. To obtain the card, a person needs to submit his or her current passport book, two recent color photos, proof of identity and the appropriate fee. Applicants in the Virgin Islands can go between 8:30 am and 4 pm to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Passport Division (next to Subway) in Nisky Center on St. Thomas, or can submit an application by mail.
More information can be obtained through the State Department's website. The Passport Division can be contacted by phone at 340-774-4024.
Francis noted that revenues generated from passport fees collected in the U.S. Vrgin Islands will go to the territory's treasury.
Like passport books, the cards are valid for 10 years for adults. For children 16 and younger passports have only five-year validity.

Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.