If you’re looking to travel abroad, you most likely need a valid passport to prove your citizenship and identity as you pass through customs. Having a passport offers more peace of mind, especially during an emergency. But should you get a passport book or a passport card? What’s the difference? Let’s get the details.
A passport book is the standard passport that contains numerous pages to obtain your visas and customs stamps. You use a passport book for any means of international travel. In contrast, a passport card is just that, -a card, similar to a driver’s license or a credit card. Both travel documents have your personal information, photo, and expiration date. In addition, the card has a unique number and built-in Radio Frequency Identification.
A passport book has no international travel restrictions meaning that you can travel freely worldwide by land, sea, or air, as long as your destination country has no travel ban or warning. However, passport cards are only for sea and land crossings common in cruises.
A passport book is 5×3.5 inches large and comes with at least 28 pages, while a passport card is a wallet-sized one-page identifier.
The passport book first-time application fee goes for about $130 for adults and $100 for minors. However, a passport card fee is $55 for adults and $40 for children under 16 years. There’s also a difference in renewal fees as the passport book renewal requires $110 while you only need $30 for the card. Apparently, cards are cheaper than passport books.
Since passport books allow worry-free international travel, they are considered generally convenient. Their only drawback is the bulkiness and cost. Passport cards are more limited than passport books, especially when undertaking an extensive trip. It means that you may face difficulties if you need to use air travel with only a passport card.
Nevertheless, a passport card is the easier and cheaper way than a book if you’re sure you’ll only need sea or land travel.