US Passport Card

When I renewed my US Passport in MX I also applied for and received a passport card. Surprisingly, to me, it has its own unique number.

I know it can not be used in place of the book passport for entry or exit utilizing air travel.

What has been the experience of anyone using the passport card entering / exiting MX and entering the US by land or boat.

It's really of only use at the land borders into the US that have Ready Lanes.

It definitely speeds up getting back into the States on foot.  However, I have found the Sentri to be more useful.  Sentri line is even faster and it can also be used driving back into the States and also comes with Global Entry for air travel, if you request it.  It costs a bit more and the application is more extensive but worth it.

MagentaHeart :

It definitely speeds up getting back into the States on foot.  However, I have found the Sentri to be more useful.  Sentri line is even faster and it can also be used driving back into the States and also comes with Global Entry for air travel, if you request it.  It costs a bit more and the application is more extensive but worth it.

Hi Magenta, what is a "Sentri"?  Do you apply for one when you apply for an American passport, or is this something you apply for in Mexico?  I recently renewed my passport but didn't see anything referring to "Sentri".  When I renewed my passport I did get the ID card so I wouldn't have problems with domestic flights.

"The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin posting signs notifying travelers that they are enforcing REAL ID requirements at airport security checkpoints."  This was supposed to take effect last month, Jan 2018.  I don't know how strict they are because I haven't read anything about passengers being turned away.

I know CA drivers licensees didn't meet the TSA requirements for a "real" ID.  My IL license did -- go figure?  I did have a pre-check for flying but paying $85.00 to renew was/is a sore spot with me.  Another fine American concept of all are "created equal".  I think woman and people who aren't billionaires should request an addendum ;)

I have Global Entry. I have only used it for entry into the US upon arrival at airports. Can it be used for expedited entry into the US at border crossings.

Best to look at the CBP www site "Trusted Traveler" programs.  It will explain what each does and which might be best for you. 

We just got our SENTRI cards a few months ago and used them last weekend crossing from MX to US at Otay Mesa.  SENTRI is only good for land crossings at a few MX borders into the US.  It can't be used for ID in MX in place of a passport.  Downside is it's a little more expensive than TSA pre-check, which is included with SENTRI.  You have to go to a southern border for an in person interview and get fingerprinted.  It can take up to six months to get approved. 

The border wait times can be 0-15 minutes vs. hours in the regular lane.  Big downside is the vehicle you drive has to be enrolled also.  Otherwise, you can use the RFID SENTRI card in the Ready Lanes.  Still faster but not this last weekend.  It took us an hour in the Ready Lane since we were driving a rental.  The SENTRI Lane had 0 wait and the regular lane had about 40 cars.  If you get SENTRI you can ask for Global Entry for no extra fee.  It's loaded on your regular passport.  We just used GE and SFO in November and it really sped things up.  GE is only at certain airports and maybe a couple of seaports in FL.   

Bottom line is if you are crossing the MX/USA border frequently then get the SENTRI.  The Ready Lanes use any approved RFID identification, which are becoming more and more prevalent so the lines are getting longer and longer.  Now that CA is issuing approved RFID driver's license it's only going to get worse.

I just applied.  I had to pay $25.00 to submit the application online.  The remainder is due during the interview.  After the application is processed they will email me and I can set up a time and place for the interview.  It was a very simple process; I entered my passport information, birth certificate number, and the VIN number for my car.  I may never drive my car across the border but it doesn't cost anything to register it.

Thanks so much for the "hot tip"!  I'm certain it will make things easier, especially for my dad!

jamesr3939 :

It's really of only use at the land borders into the US that have Ready Lanes.

Mexico accepts passport cards to get, now mandatory, FMM tourist cards when entering by land or at a border city airport heading south into Mexico also.It is handy to carry while living in Mexico as photo ID. It also keeps the Mexican Immigration from stamping your book passport when entering by land.

alleycat1 :

Mexico accepts passport cards to get, now mandatory, FMM tourist cards when entering by land or at a border city airport heading south into Mexico also.It is handy to carry while living in Mexico as photo ID. It also keeps the Mexican Immigration from stamping your book passport when entering by land.

Good to know.  But that's contrary to everything I have read about the passport cards.  Everything I read says they don't replace the US passport while traveling in a foreign country.  It's pretty clear they can't be used for international air travel, only land and sea border crossings at a half dozen countries (Mexico being one).

jamesr3939 :
alleycat1 :

Mexico accepts passport cards to get, now mandatory, FMM tourist cards when entering by land or at a border city airport heading south into Mexico also.It is handy to carry while living in Mexico as photo ID. It also keeps the Mexican Immigration from stamping your book passport when entering by land.

Good to know.  But that's contrary to everything I have read about the passport cards.  Everything I read says they don't replace the US passport while traveling in a foreign country.  It's pretty clear they can't be used for international air travel, only land and sea border crossings at a half dozen countries (Mexico being one).

https://www.inm.gob.mx/fmme/publico/en/solicitud.html

"General conditions

The FMM applicant shall hold a valid and current passport or card passport (Tarjeta Pasaporte) in accordance with the international law regulations; in case the country of citizenship requires it, the passport must have a valid unexpired visa.

The applicant is aware that the card passport (Tarjeta Pasaporte) can only be used in the border crossings by land and for visiting the border zone; it might not be used to travel to the territory of the Mexican Republic or used for international air trips.

The applicant shall complete the information needed in the request of the FMM, as appears in his/her passport.

The applicant accepts under oath, that the information and documents provided are true; therefore, the applicant acknowledges herein that if any false information is provided, he/she could be subject to penalties in accordance with the applicable legal regulation".

4theloveofsun:  It looks like others were able to answer your questions and you've already started your application process!  Congrats!  Just in case others come across this post in the future, here is the link to apply for SENTRI.  https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs

Sentri is a program applied for within the United States.  As someone else stated, it helps tremendously with expediting foot and car travel back into the US from specific border crossings. 

The application is fairly simple.  They do want to know the past 5 years of residency and work history.  You pay the $25 application fee and once you have your interview and are approved it is an additional $97.25 for a total of $122.25.  It is renewable every 5 years.

When you go into your interview you will need to ask for Global Entry to be added on (for free) to your Sentri.  Global Entry also includes TSA Precheck which is for traveling domestically within the US.

The whole process took about 3 months for me.  When I went into my interview they asked me why I wanted Sentri.  I told them to expedite travel back into the US after going to my dentist in TJ and visiting my friend in Ensenada. 

Sentri makes the most sense if you live near the US/Mexico border and plan on going back and forth frequently or if standing on lines is hard on you physically. 

I do not remember being offered Sentri when I got my regular Passport.  I also have a passport card however, won't be renewing it as Sentri is so much better for me.

Note that Mexico is starting to check each individual's documents before entering Mexico at at least some border entries by foot.  Sentri does not help with expediting entry into Mexico, just the United States.

jamesr3939 :
alleycat1 :

Mexico accepts passport cards to get, now mandatory, FMM tourist cards when entering by land or at a border city airport heading south into Mexico also.It is handy to carry while living in Mexico as photo ID. It also keeps the Mexican Immigration from stamping your book passport when entering by land.

Good to know.  But that's contrary to everything I have read about the passport cards.  Everything I read says they don't replace the US passport while traveling in a foreign country.  It's pretty clear they can't be used for international air travel, only land and sea border crossings at a half dozen countries (Mexico being one).

When I renewed my passport BOOK, I also paid for the card (I wanted an "official" picture ID to put in wallet), but I read their information about cards with the same meaning in regards to international travel -- A book works everywhere, a card doesn't, and it isn't a requirement.  I renewed my passport last month, it was getting ready to expire.

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