In this modern world, you would think laminated or plastic forms of ID wouldn’t even be necessary anymore – you should just be able to get a retinal scan to rent a car, or charge your DNA to order a venti at Starbucks. While that may still be to come, there are multiple forms of identification Americans may need depending on their personal and professional situation. We’re all issued social security cards at birth or upon being naturalized, and anything beyond that is useful, but not technically mandatory.
State-Issued Driver’s License
Because a social security card doesn’t function as a photo ID, most residents of the United States (even non-drivers in cities with good public transportation) have state-issued IDs or driver’s licenses. These are typically issued around the age of 16, depending on how early children are allowed to complete driving school and start traveling solo. However, non-driver identification cards are available for anyone not interested in driving but still looking to have a photo ID.
For travelers based close to Canada or Mexico who don’t drive (taking a train or bus across borders), a US passport card may be the best option for a photo ID. Accepted nationwide for domestic air travel and even allowing US citizens to visit certain Caribbean island nations by boat, the passport card is a suitable alternative for a state-issued driver’s license.
We all know that getting a passport takes time and the hassle of paperwork. Though a passport card is significantly cheaper and smaller than a standard 52-page passport book, the application and processing time are comparable. The US State Department processes passport applications in four to six weeks, and emergency applications can take from two to four weeks. It could even take longer if you’re applying for your passport card for the first time.
Because passport cards are primarily used for international travel and not always day-to-day needs in the US (e.g. buying alcohol), the US State Department is not always equipped to process applications quickly. If you are in a predicament and urgently need a passport card as your primary photo ID, avoid the queues and stress at the regional passport agency, and let Travel Visa Pro’s team of experts take care of your travel documents.
Travelers who want a full passport book as their primary form of ID will discover this comes with additional benefits. While a passport card can function as an alternative to a state-issued photo ID while the Real ID Act takes effect, a passport book gives the holder access to the entire world.
How long does it take to get a new passport book? You should bring proof of identity, proof of United States citizenship, and 2” x 2” passport photographs on a white or off-white background that are not more than three months old and without eyewear, and a check payable to the US Department of State. Getting your first passport costs $110, with an additional $60 for expedited processing, and a $35 execution fee if you wish to apply in person.
For Travel Visa Pro to complete a passport application on your behalf and get you your new ID, you need to include two signed authorization letters. Once this is all complete, send everything to us. Travel Visa Pro has service at nine staffed offices nationwide and pick up and drop off services at several other locations in the US.
Travel Visa Pro manages all the hard tasks of verifying and submitting the required documentation for passport applications so we can submit your expedited application on your behalf. We personally deliver your information to the US Department of State and keep a follow up to ensure your passport ID is delivered in the time you need.
How urgently do you need a new ID?
Do you need a passport card the next day? A passport book by the end of the week?
Unfortunately, most regional passport offices only expedite applications when travel is involved, meaning any applicant must provide proof they intend to leave the country. Those interested in merely using a passport book or card as a new photo ID are not given priority, but of course their applications will still be processed.
If you happen to be traveling internationally soon anyway, then you need to provide proof of your travel arrangements to a foreign country. This can be in the form of purchased flights, accommodation, or formal letters stating your need to travel immediately for business, medical, or family reasons.
Do you need a new passport book or card quickly? Contact Travel Visa Pro today!