Difference Between Passport Book and Card: 4 Key Points

Many countries all over the globe are opening their border to international travelers. Countries like Canada have welcomed tourists who qualify for the exemption granted to fully-vaccinated travelers. If you are eligible for the exemption, you need a valid United States document to sail through. We will be discussing some key points to know the difference between passport book and card in this article.

To cross the United States border, the U.S. Department of State provides two types of documents, i.e. passport card and passport book. As a traveler, you should know about both the documents and check out the differences to choosing the right one for you. Only lawful United States citizens can apply for Passport cards and Passport books. The applicant should not have any criminal record in their name.

Passport Book:

It is a type of booklet that United States nationals and non-nationals can use to travel to foreign lands by land, air or Sea. For passengers of age 16 or above, the passport book from the date of issuance will be valid for the next ten years. The younger travelers are provided with passports with five years of validity. Passport books consist of a nine-digit number for every U.S. citizen.

Do know that every passport is allotted a unique number. The Passport book comprises personal information like date of birth, nationality, full name, sex, place of birth, passport expiry date and issue date, and the applicant’s photograph. Going further, the book will be filled with blank pages for immigration visas and stamps. An ordinary passport book consists of 28 pages only, but if you are a frequent traveler, you can request a 52-page book.

Electronic passports were introduced in 2007, and they contain a biometric identifier for the photo, an electronic chip for storing information, a digital signature and a chip identification number. Key Difference Between Passport Book and Card are discussed further in the article.

Passport Card:

Passport Cards are also issued to United States nationals and non-nationals. They are used only when they tend to cross the international border by Sea and land to specific places only. A passport Card can be used to travel via Sea or land within the United States and some North American territories. The Passport Card number is comprised of 8 numbered digits starting with C.

Passport cards are not acceptable photo IDs for travelling to foreign lands. Passport cards remain valid for the same duration as the passport books.

The passport card can be carried or fits in a wallet and consists of nationality, place of birth, date of birth, expiration date, full name and date of issue, and your passport card number. The card have built-in per the Radio frequency identification and used at the Mexican and Canadian border.

Difference Between Passport Book and Card

Here are the four key point to mark the Difference Between Passport Book and Card:

Fee structure

Here are the fees listed for Passport Card and Book fees:

ApplicantsPassport Card FeesPassport Book Fees
For first-time applicants (adult)$165$65
For first-time applicants under 16$135$50
For renewals (Minors and adults)$130$30

Travel Destination

The travel destination refers to the countries you can enter via passport card and book. However, both of them can be used for all the goals. But, Passport cards can only be used by the traveller if they are travelling through a seaport or land border through Bermuda, Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. For Instance, if you have planned a holiday and are travelling via a Mediterranean cruise, you must carry your passport book, as a Passport card will not be eligible to mark your entry into European countries.

Border Entry Procedure

One of the most significant differences you need to know about passport cards and Passport books is the travel method for which they are available individually. The Passport books can be used to enter any foreign land via Sea, air or land. On the other hand, Passport cards will only allow you to travel via Sea and land.

Size and Format

Passports cards and Passport books vary in size too. Any Passport books will be 3.5 to 5 inches, along with the blank pages left for visa and immigration stamps. Both can fit in pockets, but Passport books are heavier than passport cards. Passport cards are just like any other driver’s license and credit card.

When should you get them?

The Passport book comprises everything and is a versatile identifier for which destinations and modes of travel don’t matter. If you have the option of buying out a passport card and booking via a single application, then the below-listed scenario will help you to know when both of them can be quite convenient for you:

In case you travel by both land and air:

If you are a routine traveler to Mexico or Canada via car, you can prefer having just a passport card. The document is compact and handy for land-based trips. The passport books can be kept for international air travel.

In case you do not have a valid Real ID. which is essential for domestic air travel:

A passport card is an alternative to the Real ID and is quite convenient to move. If you do not have a valid Real Id, using a Passport card while flying within the United States is suggested as keeping your PAssport book for your international air trips.

If you want to apply for both of them in a single application, you can save $35 as a one-time acceptance fee payment is required. 

Which one to choose, a Passport Book or a Passport Card?

Choosing between a Passport Card and a Passport book is difficult, especially considering the turnaround time and the price difference. While selecting the best option, you can check your travel plan for the next few years. The passport book is an ideal option if you are still deciding about your travel plan.

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