This is a question many travelers ask when applying. What is the difference between a passport card and a passport book? Which is best for you? The answer lies in your travel needs. Some travelers benefit from the card while the majority are better off with the book. You may choose to get both if you prefer. To understand which is best for you it is important to note what you can do with each one.
A new passport book and new passport card are valid for the same time. For an adult the validity is 10 years for both and for children under 16 the validity is 5 years. The cost of the new passport book is more expensive than the passport card. That is what makes the passport card more appealing. That said, there is a reason it is more expensive. The new passport book allows you to leave the U.S. by any means of travel while the passport card is only good for leaving the U.S. under certain means of travel.
A passport card is good for cruise or boat travel from the U.S. to places in the Caribbean and if you are driving into Canada or Mexico. That’s it. It doesn’t allow for much more and even for cruises or boating you do need to check with the cruise line as some areas do not accept the passport card and require you to have a passport book. It is NOT good for airline travel. If you are boarding a plane, the passport card will NOT get you on board and not having the passport book will be a problem.
A passport book is good for all types of travel. It can be used for the same purposes as that of a passport card and is good for all flight travel. Just be careful of the validity and know if a visa or entry payment is required on top of just the book.
That said, the passport card is a very good piece of identification. It is given to you by the Department of State and has all the markings of a government issued ID. While it may not be good to board the plane it is a valid proof of identification in the States and a valid proof of citizenship. Many travelers get the passport card IN ADDITION to the passport book just so that they can travel with both and keep the passport safe in the hotel while they explore with the passport card.
To get either one requires the same types of documentation. You must prove that you are a U.S. citizen by providing your birth certificate, older passport or a Naturalization Certificate along with a valid ID. You can choose to rush the passport card as well as the passport book if you so desire. The government fees apply to both but you only have to pay the expedite fee once rather than for each one if you decide to rush your passport request. Our Miami and Orlando offices can assist you with rush passports and rush passport cards. Visit our site at www.passportsvisasandmore.com or at 888-336-0683.