Tammy Levent | October 05, 2016 12:00 PM ET
What Does Your Client Need For ID?
Dear Tammy: I am a new agent in the travel industry and I have run across a situation. Some clients have passport cards, but not passports. Others have passports, but not cards, and some have both. I’m confused and don’t understand the difference and what they should and shouldn’t have. Can you help me to understand?
I just took a group to Cabo, San Lucas, Mexico and two of my passengers had passport cards, but not actual passports. Unfortunately, when we were traveling, they were stopped and couldn’t continue. My passengers are responsible for their own travel documentation but they wanted to blame me for making the mistake.
Thankfully, since I am diligent with paperwork and make sure to dot my I’s and cross my t’s, I had signed paperwork with a disclaimer that explained all of the travel paperwork that they needed, so I was off the hook for any responsibility. Make sure when you work with your clients, you provide paperwork that explains what they need and prevents you from fault if they forget anything.
However, being off the hook didn’t change the fact that they had the wrong paperwork because they didn’t understand what they needed. So what is the difference between a passport and passport card?
A passport is used for international travel by air, sea or land. Getting a passport costs between $110 for a renewal up to $135. A passport for a traveler under the age of 16 is $105.
A passport card is used for entering the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, The Caribbean and Bermuda. It cannot be used as a form of identification at an airport. The cost of a passport card ranges from $30 for a renewal, $40 for applicants under 16 and $55 for applicants 16 and older.
Both the passport card and the passports are good for five years for those who are 16 and under and 10 years for those older than 16.
Even though clients will point fingers at their travel agent for not having the right documentation, or any other reason, the bottom line is that it’s their responsibility to make sure they have what they need to travel.
Tammy Levent is the founder of TASK, the Travel Agent Success Kit. Learn more at travelagentsuccesskit.com. Want your question answered in a future "Agent to Agent" column? Email your question to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or talk to Tammy on Twitter @tammylevent.
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