The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 requires DHS in conjunction with DOS to implement a plan to facilitate the frequent travel of those individuals in border communities while also ensuring the security of the nation’s borders. On October 17, 2006, DOS published a proposed rule to introduce a lower cost “passport card.”

U.S. citizens could use the passport card when returning to the U.S. in only two situations: when traveling by land from Mexico and Canada or when traveling by sea from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The passport card would not be permissible for wider use, including for air travel. The card would incorporate a full facial image and the same data that is currently shown on the data page of a traditional book-style U.S. passport. The passport card would utilize Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Vicinity Read technology to transmit and store a unique reference number that will serve as a link to information in a secure database. U.S. citizens could hold both a traditional passport and a passport card concurrently.

The proposed fee is $20 ($10 for minors under the age 16), plus a one-time execution fee of $25. The card would be valid for up to 10 years. On December 13, 2006, the State Department announced that the comment period on the “passport card” and the fees was extended from December 18, 2006, to January 7, 2007.