The Passport Book vs Passport Card

A photo of a passport card

What is the difference between a passport vs passport card?  This question is one of our most asked questions. In this blog post, we will discuss the difference between the two documents. So you’re looking to travel internationally but there are these options between a passport vs passport card. How do you know if you need a passport book versus passport card? Do I need a passport book or a passport card?

A passport book is a product of the federal government. The passport book comes as either 28 or 52 pages and is valid for five years. For children age 15 and under, the passport is valid for 5 years, and for adults 16 and older it is valid for 10 years. A US passport allows you to travel anywhere in the world by plane, car, or boat.  The passport book can be obtained as a new passport or if you currently have a passport book you will be eligible for renewal to make sure your passport book has six months of validity.

Comparison Between a Passport Book and Card

First-time Adult Passport Book  The passport book is designed to be used for all types of international travel. The passport book also has pages for visas. The passport book is accepted for any form of international travel and is also the document that holds your visas. The fee for the passport book is $130.
First-time Adult Passport Card  The purpose of the passport card is for travelers that are going to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean by land or by sea. You cannot use the passport book for international flights.  The passport card is the size of a driver’s license and is used for convenience as it is smaller and cheaper than the passport book. However, the passport card cannot be used for travel by plane. The government fee for the passport card is $65.

What are the benefits of the Passport Book vs Passport Card?

how to get a passport card

The passport card is a wallet-size identification card with your picture, information, and barcode.  The passport card can be used for identification purposes.  It is also used for domestic travel to countries by land or sea. These countries include Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. You cannot use the passport card to fly internationally. For example, you will not be able to travel to London, England with just your passport card. You must have a passport book.

In conclusion, the passport book versus passport card is important to know. The passport card is a very handy tool to have in your vital document wallet. It’s much cheaper than the passport book. However, it doesn’t always make sense to have only the passport card, especially if you plan to travel by plane overseas.

Passport  Tips: Carry both the passport card and the passport book in case of an emergency and you need to fly home. The passport card is not valid for air travel.

How to Get a Passport Card When Renewing  Your Passport?

If you already only have the passport book, you can get the passport card as well when you apply for your next passport renewal.  On the top of the DS-82 application for Passport Renewal, you can select both. The fee is an additional $30 for adults and $15 for children. You can also apply for the passport book and the passport card at the same time when you’re utilizing the DS-11 new passport application for New Passport.

Select both and you will pay additional fees for the passport book and passport card. It’s worth having both. If you lose your passport book you still have your passport card and vice versa.

So is it really a competition between a passport book and a passport card?  The answer is no. You should have them both and protect them in your safety deposit box or a secure area in your home and when you’re ready to travel internationally or domestically, don’t leave home without them.