Passport Book vs Passport Card: Main Differences

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The article is evaluated Passport Book vs Passport Card: Main Differences

When you apply for a U.S. passport book, you can also apply for a passport card for an extra amount. And you might wonder what the difference is between these documents and if you need both or either. When it comes to the passport book vs. card, is there a clear winner? We walk you through what both options entail, their advantages, and when you might need to apply for both.

What is a Passport Book?

The passport book is the most common travel document. It is a small booklet about five inches long and 3.5 inches wide. Inside, it contains pages that detail the following information:

  • Your biometric details, including your height, weight, and other descriptive data,
  • V
  • B

Passport books are ideal for frequent travelers who need to provide a lot of supporting documentation during their travels. As such, they are preferred over passport cards for international travel.

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Passport books, which can have 28 or 52 pages, come in handy in the following situations:

  • T. You cannot cross most international borders without presenting a valid passport book that meets the region’s minimum validity criteria.
  • T. You can use your passport to renew your passport application, gain entry into the U.S. as a U.S. citizen, or even gain entry into other countries as a U.S. national.
  • T. Passport books are also valuable for official transactions, as you can use them instead of other identification documents if they are valid (not expired).

Passport books last five years for minors and ten years for adults. Minors’ passport books cannot be renewed, while those for adults can.

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Video Description

Are you applying or renewing a passport? If so, you’ve probably noticed the option for a passport card. In this video, we review what is it, how it works, and how it differs from a regular passport book. We’ll help you determine whether you want or need to pay extra for the passport card!n—nMUSIC CREDITS:n- Music by Ikson ⇨ –

What Is a Passport Card?

Passport cards are a type of passport. But they differ greatly from the booklets. Instead of taking on a mini-document form, these cards are the size of a driver’s license. And they feature a plastic build.

  • T
  • Y
  • Your citizenship information – these cards are available to both U.S. citizens and non-citizen nationals,
  • Y
  • Y
  • T

Like passport books, these cards are valid for a limited period. Those issued to minors last five years, while those issued to adults are valid for up to ten years.

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  • D
  • Travel to specific regions by sea or land – you can travel internationally by sea or land to places like Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean with the card.

You can also use it as a form of identification and proof of citizenship. And in some official transactions, it may suffice as acceptable.

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Differences Between Passport Book and Card

You have likely noticed the similarities between the passport book and the card. After all, they are identification documents and are valid for travel. But let’s delve deeper into the passport book vs. card debate. What is the main difference between passport book and card?

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1) Modes of Travel

Passport book holders can travel internationally by air, land, or sea. But passport card holders can only do so by sea or land because international air travel standards require a passport book. That’s why most cruise lines insist on travelers having passport books to cover them in case of emergency evacuations.

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2) Destinations

Passport books allow holders to travel internationally by air, land, or sea to any region allowing U.S. nationals entry. On the other hand, passport cards only allow entry to countries that accept WHTI-compliant documents. As such, you cannot use them in regions like Europe or Africa.

3) Cost

Passport books generally cost more than passport cards. As such, acquiring cards is more accessible to most travelers. Even so, the cost of obtaining the books is lower for renewals, as the processing cost does not include the acceptance fees.

4) Size

Passport books are like mini-booklets and are thus bulkier compared to passport cards which are like driver’s licenses.

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5) Identifiers

The numbers assigned to passport cards and passport books follow a different format. Those in passport cards feature a C with 8 digits, while books have nine unique numbers.

The main passport book vs. card is thus their use. Cards are more suited for sea and land travel, while books are acceptable for international air travel.

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Advantages of Passport Books

Does the passport book win in the passport book vs. card tug of war? It has some strong points, which include:

  • It does not limit your mode of travel. The book will serve you well whether you want to book a flight, cruise, or road trip.
  • It helps you get travel visas. When applying for a visa, you must present a valid passport book at immigration. And without a passport book, you cannot get a visa.
  • It helps you prove your U.S. citizenship and identity. Besides travel, passport books are also essential in official transactions.
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Advantages of Passport Cards

Do passport cards have the upper hand in the passport book vs. card tussle? Let’s find out:

  • They are more portable. While passport books are not a load, they can feel bulky. Passport cards are cards and are thus easy to carry around without feeling weighed down.
  • They cost less than passport books. If you must travel soon and wish to save money, passport cards are often the more affordable option.
  • They are applicable for travel by land or sea to regions like Jamaica and Canada. Plus, they are convenient for people who often cross the Canadian and Mexican borders by sea or land.

Plus, like passport books, they suffice as forms of identification for non-drivers. Thus, you can use passport cards instead of birth certificates and other such documents for minors.

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When to Get Both

While passport cards have strong points in the passport book vs. card debate, they have a few downsides. First, they are unacceptable for international air travel. And secondly, you cannot use them to process visas. As such, you may need to get both the card and the book if:

  • Y: If you like combining travel options, a book and a card will serve you well. That way, you can save on passport book pages while still gaining entry to some regions.
  • Y: Did you know that you pay only one acceptance fee if you apply for the card and book at the same time? You can process these documents simultaneously without incurring high costs. Travel Visa Pro helps you do this by allowing you to apply for both and have them expedited within your preferred timeframe.

Both documents have unique attributes that are advantageous to you. So, instead of picking one in lieu of the other, you can always have your cake and eat it!

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Frequently asked questions

Do I Need Both A Passport Book And Card

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