Applying for a Passport Card

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The passport card is a less expensive and more portable alternative to the traditional passport book. It is mainly designed to facilitate entry and expedite document processing at U.S. land and seaports-of-entry only, when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.

Note that Germany does not recognize the passport card as valid identification and this document cannot be used to cross borders of neighboring countries.

The card has the same period of validity as a passport book: 10 years for an adult, five for children 15 and younger.

Please Note: To facilitate the frequent travel of U.S. citizens living in border communities and to meet DHS’s operational needs at land borders, the passport card contains a vicinity-read radio frequency identification (RFID) chip. This chip points to a stored record in secure government databases. There is no personal information written to the RFID chip itself.

Click here to view the associated fees. For overseas passport applications, the execution fee is added to the application fee and only one payment is necessary.  

Adults who already have a fully valid passport book may apply for the card by following the guidance under passport renewal.

First time applicants for a U.S. passport, and those not eligible to use the Form DS-82 (such as minors), should apply for a passport card using Form DS-11 and follow these instructions for an adult (16 and above) or a child (under age 16)

If you are only applying for a passport card, please provide a standard size, self-addressed envelope with current postage for returning the document to you.

If you are also applying for a passport book, you should be aware that passport cards take approximately 4-5 weeks longer than the book to process. Therefore, we advise to submit two return delivery envelopes with your application. A courier envelope (* see below) for the passport book and a self-addressed envelope with current postage for the passport card.

(*)To avoid delay and increase security, please submit a DHL ExpressEasy shipping label attached to a non-padded A5 size envelope with all other application documents. Since January 2020, DHL envelopes are no longer available for purchase at your local German post office. Please click here and follow the process online. Note that other commercial couriers are not accepted.

The return address should be the address of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin or the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt or Munich depending on where you have your appointment. Please use your own email address for the “Absender” so the label will be emailed to you, and not the embassy or consulate.

Please make sure you affix the waybill label to a sturdy envelope and submit it with your application.


Last updated: March 5, 2021