General Dynamics wins $100 million passport card contract

Published 17 January 2008

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) will allow U.S. residents to travel by land and sea to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda using a passport card rather than a traditional passport (travel by air, and travel to other countries, would still require a passport); General Dynamics wins contract to produce the cards

The U.S. Department of State awarded a five-year (base year plus four option years) contract (amount not to exceed $99,333,863.00) to General Dynamics Information Technology of Fairfax, Virginia to integrate the production of the new passport card into the department’s existing passport book processes. The contract calls for the supply of card stock, electronic chips, printers, and software. Beginning in the spring of 2008, the Department of State will begin issuing the passport card to residents of American land border communities for a less expensive and more portable alternative to the traditional passport book. The passport card will facilitate entry and expedite document processing at U.S. land and sea ports-of-entry when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The card may not be used to travel by air. It will otherwise carry the rights and privileges of the U.S. passport book and will be adjudicated to the exact same standards.

U.S. citizens may begin applying in advance for the new U.S. Passport Card beginning 1 February 2008, in anticipation of land border travel document requirements. The department said that uniform and standard documentation with “facilitative technology” (translation: vicinity RFID technology) will enhance U.S. border security and help facilitate legitimate travel. “The Department looks forward to working with General Dynamics Information Technology to provide the new passport card to the American public,” the department said in a press release.