Currently Have a Passport Card? Do I Need a Passport Book?

I am trying to decide if I need a passport book. I currently possess a passport card that I have never really used. However, I am unsure if I should apply for a passport book instead. Could you please clarify if I need to obtain a passport book? Additionally, I would appreciate it if you could explain if a passport card provides the same benefits as a passport book.

What is the Difference Between a Passport Book vs Card?

A passport book is a traditional passport form that allows you to travel internationally. This passport provides access to other countries and may be validated for up to 10 years. It includes 48 pages with 30 blank visa pages. A passport card, on the other hand, functions as an identification document and can only be used for land or sea travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.

It cannot be used for international air travel and is valid for up to 10 years.

Related Read: Passport Card Vs. Passport Book

What is the Benefit of a Passport Card?

Although a passport card does not provide the same benefits as a passport book, it has its advantages, such as being smaller and more convenient to carry around than a passport book.

So you’ve got your passport card, but can you tuck it into your wallet and call it a day, or do you need that passport book you always see people using in movies? The short answer depends on where you’re traveling to and how you plan to get there.

To break it down, here’s everything a card will cover on its own without the book:

  • Entering the US from Mexico via land border crossings and sea ports
  • Entering the US from Canada via land border crossings and sea ports
  • Entering the US from the Caribbean via land border crossings and sea ports
  • Entering the US from Bermuda via land border crossings and sea ports

Here’s what it doesn’t cover:

  • Any international travel by air


If you’re planning a US vacation by land or sea, you can get away with just your passport card. But if you plan on taking to the skies – even domestically – you’ll need the book. The book is the only form of ID accepted for air travel, so don’t forget it! You can apply for both the card and book simultaneously, and many opt to do so. That way, you’re covered no matter how you plan on making your trip.

Safe travels!