This Spring, the Department of State will be issuing a new document, the Passport Card, which will be valid only for land and sea crossings between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. It will not be valid for travel by air.

The Passport Card will be a wallet-sized document, issued as a more portable and less expensive alternative to the traditional passport book. The cost for first time applicants will be $45 for adults, $35 for minors, and $20 for those who already have passport books. Application for the card may be made at any of 9,000 passport acceptance facilities, most of them at U.S. Post Offices. Making use of Radio Frequency Identification technology, the card will not include any personally identifying information; only a unique number that can be associated with a record stored in a secure government database will be transmitted.

The Passport Card, then, will not be able to be used as an identify document (like a driver’s license), and will be useful only to those who frequently cross a land or sea border between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean.