Passport Book vs. Card: What Is The Difference Between Passport Book And Card?

The major difference between a passport book and a passport card lies in the scope they offer for international travels. You can travel anywhere in the world with a passport book versus a passport card that only takes you to a handful of places. Also, you cannot expect to carry a card while traveling by air.
Passport Book vs. Card

The major difference between a passport book and a passport card lies in the scope they offer for international travels. You can travel anywhere in the world with a passport book versus a passport card that only takes you to a handful of places. Also, you cannot expect to carry a card while traveling by air.

Definitions of the Passport Book and Card

Let us have a look at the definition of a Passport book and card for more clarity.

What is a Passport Book?

A passport book is a little book issued by a country to its citizens that bears the citizen's name, photograph, and nationality. It allows the person to travel internationally and stamped each time on entering a new country.

What is a Passport Card?

A passport card is a wallet-sized card issued by a country to its citizens. It serves the purpose of a passport book while traveling to nearby areas.

Passport vs Passport Card Pros & Cons 

For a better understanding of Passport Book and Card, let us look at their pros and cons.

Pros of a Passport Book:

  • You can travel anywhere in the world.
  • You can travel by air, sea or land.
  • It serves as proof of identity and citizenship.
  • It helps you to acquire travel visas.

Cons of a Passport Book:

  • Both initial and renewal costs are high.
  • It takes more space while traveling.

Pros of a Passport Card:

  • It fits conveniently in your wallet.
  • Both initial and renewal costs are low.
  • Conveniently serves as an identity proof for children and non-drivers.

Cons of a Passport Card:

  • You cannot travel by air internationally.
  • It doesn’t help you to acquire a travel visa.

Passport Card vs Passport Book Similarities

  • They serve the purpose of an identity card.
  • Both are issued by the US govt.
  • They let you travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean by land and sea.

Bringing Out The Passport Book vs. Card Key Differences 

  • Passport book lets you travel by air internationally, but the card doesn't.
  • You can travel anywhere in the world with a book, but with a card, only a limited number of places can be visited.
  • Passport book costs much more than a card.

Is The Passport Card Number The Same as The Book?

No, the passport card number is completely different from your book number. A passport card number starts with a letter C followed by eight digits, whereas a passport book number carries nine digits without any alphabet.

Is a Passport Card Faster Than The Passport Book?

No, there is no difference between a passport card and a book in terms of approval time. The application procedure for both documents does not bear any significant differences. So, you shall not expect to receive a passport card faster than your passport book, if applied together.

Why Would I Want a Passport Card?

If you travel to the neighboring countries by land or sea frequently, you must consider getting a passport card for your convenience. You can travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea without carrying a full passport booklet. A passport card can save you a lot of money if you do not travel to far-off places.

When Would You Need a Passport Card?

You will need a passport card to prove your identity if your other ID cards are not valid as per the REAL ID Act. The card can be used as an ID card within the US and on your foreign trips as well.

Is The Passport Card Worth It?

Choosing a passport card versus a book is a wise decision in many situations. Whether saving the extra costs of getting a full passport book is worth it or not depends entirely on your travel routine. If all your international trips lead to places covered by passport card and do not involve air travel, the card is completely worth it.

How Long Is a Passport Card Good For?

There is no difference between a passport book and card in terms of validity. For an adult, it is valid for ten years and for children under the age of 16 years, it is valid for five years from the date of issue.

Costs: How Much Does a Passport Card Cost? How Much Is a Passport For a Child? 

A passport card costs $30 for adults and $15 for children under the age of 16. An additional $35 execution fee is also charged for both the applicants.

A passport book, on the other hand, costs $110 for adults and $80 for children. The same amount of execution fee is charged in this case also.

The renewal fee for both the book and the card is also equivalent to the initial costs. No execution fee is, however, payable.

Do I need a passport book or card?

If your international trips are limited to places covered under a passport card, you don’t have to invest in a passport book. Also, you shall not have plans to travel by air to these destinations.

If, however, you plan to visit an international destination by air or the one that falls beyond the scope of a card, you will need a passport book.

Passport Book vs. Card at a Glance

BasisPassport BookPassport Card

Meaning

It is a small book issued by a country to its citizen for traveling internationally 

It is a plastic card issued by a country to its citizen for traveling internationally to nearby places

Size

It is larger and requires more space

It is smaller and can fit into your wallet easily

Volume

This one carries more volume in the form of blank pages used for stamping 

It does not have much volume as there are no such pages

Air Travel

It can be used for international air travels

It cannot be used for international air travels

Cost

These are expensive for both adults and minors

These are a much cheaper option for international travel to nearby places

Scope

It lets you visit any international destination

You have limited options for visiting

Comparison Chart

Passport Book vs. Card Comparison Chart
Passport Book vs. Card Comparison Chart

Comparison Video

Passport Book or Passport Card?

The Final Words

Whether you require a passport card or book depends mainly on your requirements. One saves you money and hassle while the other empowers you to travel the whole world. 

Image Courtesy:

  • Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
  • Photo from Wikipedia

Author & Researcher @ Difference 101 Master in Philosophy & Data Analysis, Sorbonne Université (Graduated 2011) Lived in New York City

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