<<--See also: “Suggested but not required, for now.”
My current passport is set to expire next year and I am now considering whether or not I want to renew soon. I could wait until next summer to make a decision but considering that some places require your passport to be at least six months old when entering, means I’d have to start the renewal process in the next few months. The cost is $75 for a renewal but I’m considering the new Passport Card with it which would cost an extra $20.
A few years ago, the government, in consideration of border security (ha!) wanted to tighten the land and sea borders—essentially with Canada and Mexico. Although flying to these countries required passports, traveling by car or boat only required a driver’s license or birth certificate. In some instances, all a traveler had to do was verbally declare their residency. So the government considered making passports needed for non-air crossings as well. Imagine how disruptive that would have been.
Passes such as NEXUS and SENTRI for Americans, Mexicans, and Canadians are available but they were mainly aimed at commercial travelers. This new passport card is similar to those cards except that they are just like a passport. Like a passport, they are only available to US citizens and nationals. Unlike a passport, they are not valid for air travel nor are they any good beyond Canada, Mexico, and certain Caribbean locations.
It may not seem like a great idea since a regular passport would suffice. Then again, it’s only $20 extra. And even though I’m not hoping in my car and driving to Windsor every other weekend, I think it would be more convenient than worrying about a passport book.