Do I need a Passport Card or Passport Book?

passport card or passport book

Any trip outside of the U.S. will require travelers carry the correct documentation. Many travelers are encouraged to carry a valid passport, even if the trip is a closed loop cruise or a road trip across the border. So what is a passport card? And do you need the passport card or passport book for your trip? We will go through all the passport requirements and options to make it easy for you.

What is the Passport Card?

Get a passport card with a passport renewal.The passport card is most commonly used for travelers that live and work near the border. Its small design is convenient for travelers that want to carry their passport in their wallet, like a credit card. The passport card is only accepted at land and sea border crossings between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. You will need a passport book if you plan to travel by airplane. The passport card is also commonly used for travelers that wish to take a cruise but do not plan on ever traveling by plane.

What is the Passport Book?

The passport book is the most common passport to carry. The purpose of the passport book is to allow entry and exit to any country in the world. The passport book has your relevant applicant information on the first two pages. The rest of the pages are blank and used for visa entry and exit stamps. Some visas may require a sticker that can take up one full page in your passport book. The passport book is designed with heavy travel in mind. However, it is possible to damage a passport book so it’s best to carry a passport protector or wallet to keep it safe.

Passport Card vs. Passport Book

The following chart will give you a quick overview of the passport card versus the passport book.

Passport Card Passport Book
  • Can be used for travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean by land or sea.
  • Can be used for all travel types (land, sea, and airplane) to all destinations.
  • Cannot be used for travel by airplane.
  • Has pages for visa stamps.
  • Fits in your wallet like a drivers license.
  • Larger than a passport card.
  • $30 for adults
  • $15 for minors
  • *$35 acceptance agent fee required for new passport and child passport applications.
  • $110 for adults
  • $80 for minors
  • *$35 acceptance agent fee required for new passport and child passport applications.


Processing Times for Passport Cards and Passport Books

Routine processing times for the passport card or passport book range from 4-6 weeks or longer. If you do not have upcoming travel plans, you can visit your post office or county clerk to start the application process. If you are traveling soon, you may qualify for our expedited passport service. ExpressPassport specializes in expedited passport processing with turnaround times as quick as 1 business day. Call us today if you want help getting your passport fast!

WE’RE HERE TO HELP 1-888-612-9899