Human Resources News & Insights

Feds make I-9 verification easier

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the new U.S. passport card may be used as a valid “List A” document to complete Form I-9 during the employment eligibility verification process. Here’s how employees can get the card. 

Some facts about the card:

  • The U.S. Department of State began producing passport cards on July 14, 2008, and has already received more than 350,000 applications.
  • The passport card carries the same rights and privileges of the U.S. passport book and legally attests to the U.S. citizenship and identity of the holder, but the card cannot be used to travel by air. It can be used to enter the U.S. at all land and seaports when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.
  • The passport card is a significantly cheaper, faster and more portable alternative to the traditional passport book.

First-time applicants can apply for a passport card at any Passport Application Acceptance Facility throughout the country. To find the one nearest you go to

The cost for a card is $45 for adults and $35 for children under 16. Adults with fully valid passport books issued within the last 15 years can apply for the card by mail using Form DS-82, at a cost of only $20. Get additional passport card information on the U.S. Department of State Web site at

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  • I am planning a cruise in November to the Bahamas. Will the passport card work for entering and leaving that port? The explanation indicates “It can be used to enter the U.S. at all land and seaports when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. ” I will get this if it will work, but if it won’t there is no need to get it. -Please advise to my email address. Thanks. Kkuder

  • What is the benefit of obtaining a passport card if one already has her passport book?

  • Katy, I do not believe you need any passport for the Bahamas. Your original birth certificate may be OK.

  • Joy Stegman

    Is there a sample of a passport card available to distribute to my employees so they know what they are looking at when obtaining an I-9?

  • Joy: Here’s what the card looks like:

    Jim Giuliano
    Managiing Editor
    HR Morning

  • Judy

    I believe that cruise ships require a picture ID such as a passport. The last three that I went on all left from the US and went to either the carribbean or Bermuda and they all required a passport to board the ship.

  • Elizabeth Duncan

    I would recommend getting the passport book for travel no matter where you are going and don’t see much use to a card if you have a passport book. I know people who traveled to the Caribbean with their birth certificates and had a very hard time getting back into the US.

  • Diane Therese

    In response to Elizabeth.

    According the the article, the new passport card will work to get you back into the US if you return by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda . Just make sure you have the correct documentation to get into the country you are travelling to if they do not accept the US Passport card.

    We have drivers who enter Canada weekly and this will be a great convenience for them to get back into the US. I also have inlaws who travel to the boarder towns of Mexico and this will ease their entry back.

  • Mary B

    Here’s more info from the Wikipedia site, concerning why you might want a PASS card in addition to a Passport:
    The passport card is being issued by the United States Department of State in response to border community residents’ needs for a less expensive and more portable alternative to the traditional passport book since the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative’s requirements for travelers to carry a single document verifying both identification and citizenship have come into effect. In an effort to improve efficiency at land crossings, the passport card also includes a vicinity-read radio frequency identification chip with a unique identifying number tied to government databases; unlike the passport book, the RFID chip in the passport card is designed to be readable at a greater distance and will not contain any information from the MRZ of the passport card beyond the identifying number. To prevent the RFID chip from being read when the card is not being used, the passport card comes with a sleeve designed to block the RFID chip from being read while the card is in the sleeve.

    Under the REAL ID Act, the passport card will also be accepted for federal purposes (such as domestic air travel or entering federal buildings), which may make it an attractive option for people living in states whose driver’s licenses and ID cards are not REAL ID-compliant when those requirements go into effect. TSA regulations list the passport card as an acceptable identity document at airport security checkpoints.[2]