Passport Book vs. Passport Card

Passport Book vs Passport Card

Some people are confused with the differences between a Passport Book and a Passport Card.  So as not to get confused anymore, here a few points to remember on how to distinguish use of each. The advantages and disadvantages will also be discussed and why we recommend you to have both.

What are Passport Cards and Passport Books?

Passport Book vs Passport CardPassport books are the common thing that comes to mind whenever a passport is mentioned – it is a travel document and identification in a booklet; it can be used when travelling internationally and is a valid document to prove citizenship and identity. Usually, US passports will have a dark blue cover and have 28 pages, 17 pages of which are blank with a mark “Visas”; these are where stamps for entry and exit are placed when travelling.

Passport cards are also considered US passports but are similar to credit cards or driver’s license which makes it a more convenient document to prove a person’s identity and citizenship. It can be used when travelling by land or sea to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada and Mexico. Passport Cards cannot be used when travelling via air.

Passport Book Advantages

Passport Card Advantages

  • Very convenient.  Can be placed in a wallet/purse with other ID’s
  • More affordable as compared to passport books that costs $110
  • It may be used when travelling via land or sea to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada and Mexico
  • One of the most valid proof of identity especially for children and non-drivers

Passport Cards Disadvantages

  • Can only be used in land and sea travels, not by air
  • Can’t be used to for travel visas

Any US citizen wishing to travel internationally via air must have a passport book. A passport book functions in all ways a passport card is used and there is no need to obtain a passport card if you already have a passport book.  However, people find a Passport Card more convenient and accessible when carrying.

Passport card can be useful for some people; here are some premises wherein a passport card can be of great help:

  • US citizens who regularly visit Mexico or Canada by land
  • Young children without a driver’s license or other state issued identification
  • Non-drivers who need a valid identification card
  • States that will be instituting the Real ID Act in 2020.
  • People whose work requires travelling through international waters (limited to US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean) such as sailors and yachtsmen. (ALL cruise passengers are required to have a passport book for emergency cases where they need to return to the US via air)

Ready to Apply?

Please see our pages on Passport CardsPassport Renewal and New Passports.