Differences between Passport Book and Passport Card

Key Difference: The passport book allows the holder to travel worldwide (with proper visa and documentation), while the passport card only allows the holder to travel to and fro neighboring countries such as Canada, Mexico, Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Passport is a must for any person that is looking to internationally travel via any means. However, sometimes the process of transport can be lengthy and time consuming. Additionally, having to lug around a small book, which can be easily misplaced, is inconvenient. The United States Government has come up with a simple solution in order to make traveling easier between neighboring countries. Now, the US citizens have an option of applying for a Passport Book or Passport Card, or even both. However, it is essential to understand what the differences between the two are.

Passport book is the common book that is essential for traveling from one country to another country. This small book with around 10-15 pages catalogues all the traveler’s details including photo, name, birth date, father’s name, mother’s name, address, eye color, etc. It also has crucial information such as visa details as well immigration stamps from countries one has visited and the date of entry into the country and the date of departure from the country. Essentially, it tells the authorities everything they need to about the traveler. The front of the passport is stamped with the seal and name of the country of origin of the traveler.

The Passport card is small card the size of a traditional license that entails few important details such as picture, nationality, name, address and the dates on which it was issued and will expire. The card is made keeping in mind ease to ease traveling and carrying travel documents. The card is made small enough to easily fit the pocket or a wallet similar to a license.

The main difference between the two lies in the power that resides with each them. Each passport allows the traveler to only do certain things. While the passport book allows the holder to travel worldwide (with proper visa and documentation), the passport card only allows the holder to travel to and fro neighboring countries such as Canada, Mexico, Bahamas and the Caribbean. Also, the passport book allows travel via all three means air, land and sea. The passport card does not allow travel by air and only by sea and land.

Comparison between Passport Book and Passport Card:

 

Passport Book

Passport Card

Validity

International travel by air, sea or land

Valid when entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. Not valid for international travel by air.

Duration of validity

10 years for adults; 5 years for minors under age 16

10 years for adults; 5 years for minors under age 16

Size

5" x 3 ½" (when closed)

Wallet size similar to a license

Cost for first time applicants

$135 for adults; $105 for minors under age 16

$55 for adults; $40 for minors under age 16

Cost for renewal

$110 for adults

$30 for adults

Globally recognized travel document

Yes

No

Useful for

International travel

People who live around the bordering communities of the US

Processing time

4-6 weeks; 2 weeks expedited

4-6 weeks; 2 weeks expedited

Image Courtesy: travelhyper.com, travel.state.gov

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