Passport Book vs Passport Card – What Is the Difference and Which One Should You Choose?

What is the difference between a passport vs passport card?  This question is one of our most asked questions. This blog post will discuss the difference between the two documents. So you’re looking to travel internationally, but there are these options between a passport and vs passport card.

A passport book is a product of the federal government. The passport book is either 28 or 52 pages and valid for five years. For children aged 15 and under, the passport is valid for five years, and for adults 16 and older, it is valid for ten years. A US passport allows you to travel anywhere 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 ensure your passport book has six months of validity.

What is the Difference Between a Passport Book and a Passport Card?

The passport card is a smaller version of the US passport book and can only be used for travel between the United States, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. It is valid for ten years or 5 years, depending on your age. The passport card cannot be used for international air travel. You will need a passport book if you plan to fly overseas.

Related Read: Do You Need a Passport to Go to Mexico?

First-time Adult Passport BookThe passport book is designed for international travel and includes pages for visas.The passport book is the official document for international travel and holds visas.The fee for the passport book is $130.
First-time Adult Passport Card The passport card’s purpose is for travelers going to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean by land or sea. You cannot use the passport book for international flights. The passport card, although smaller and cheaper than the passport book, cannot be used for air travel.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 cannot travel to London, England, with just your passport card. You must have a passport book.

In conclusion, knowing the passport book versus the passport card is essential. The passport card is a convenient tool in your vital document wallet. It’s much cheaper than the passport book. However, having only the passport card doesn’t always make sense, 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 must 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 also get the passport card 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 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.

Related Read: Do You Need a Passport to Go to Jamaica?


The passport book and the passport card are both essential documents to have when traveling internationally or domestically. Having both provides an extra layer of security in case one is lost or stolen. Keeping both documents safe and secure is essential, either in a safety deposit box or a secure area in your home.

Don’t forget to bring them with you when you travel; they are both essential to a smooth, successful journey.

Happy travels!

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