Difference Between Passport Book and Card

Difference between passport book and card

The passport book is the only document that is approved for air travel. The passport card, on the other hand, is for travel north and south of the U.S. border and is intended for the specific needs of residents who cross the border by land frequently.

If you have to travel to any country, one essential thing you need is a passport. You may not realize, however, that the U.S. State Department generates two distinct kinds of passport documents: a passport book and a passport card.

Passport Bookvs.Passport Card
Needed to travel abroad by land, sea, or air may be awarded a passport bookMeaningMay be used to travel by land or water to more than a handful of Caribbean Island countries
More extensive because it’s a bookletDocument FormatSmaller/simpler because it’s a card
No restrictionsTravel DestinationsMany restrictions

Difference Between Passport Book and Card

Passport Book Definition and Use

Anyone who desires to travel abroad by land, sea, or air may get a passport book, which comes in a pamphlet. The book is accessible to both U.S. citizens and non-citizens.

U.S. passport books have a specific expiration date depending on the kind of document. A child’s passport is only suitable for five years. In contrast, an adult passport issued to someone 16 or older is valid for ten.

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Your passport book will have 28 pages, unless you request a 52-page book for frequent international travel. The first page will include your photo and personal data, such as your full name, birthplace, birth date, sex, nationality, travel documents, and expiration dates.

The remaining pages are empty for stamps and visas related to immigration. Some nations demand that you have two to four blank pages accessible.

Since 2007, only electronic passports have been available. They keep the information on the first page on an electronic chip. They also have a passport picture, a digital identity, chip identification, and a biometric identifier.


Passport books are expensive. Children’s passports cost $135, while adult passports cost $165 for first-time applicants. A passport card charges $50 for minors and $65 for grownups.

The acceptance costs for passport renewals will fall for both the cardholder and the booklet versions. Renewal of an adult passport card costs $30, while you must continue adult passport books for $130.


Passport books are more extensive than cards and are available in a 3.5 by 5-inch booklet style. They carry the owner’s personal information on the first page, which is blank on the subsequent pages.

Travel Destinations

There are no travel restrictions in the passport book regarding the places you may visit. It allows you to go to any location.

Border Entry Procedure

A valid passport book is required for any overseas travel, whether by land, sea, or air and for re-entry into the U.S. when your trip is over. This document may also need to be accompanied by a granted visa, depending on the destination’s visa requirements.

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Difference between passport book and card
This is a U.S. passport book.


Passport Card Definition and Use

The U.S. Department of State has been providing passport cards as a travel document since 2008. You may use the card to travel by land or sea ports to more than a handful of Caribbean Island countries, Canada, Mexico, and even Bermuda.

You cannot use passport cards to travel by plane since they are only valid for land and maritime travel. Additionally, they won’t let you visit any foreign countries. Most nations do not allow entry with a U.S. passport card as a consequence.


The wallet-sized card is not very big and can be stored in a typical card slot. The travel document includes your full name, birthdate, issue, expiry dates, birthplace, picture, and passport card number. The cards typically have the exact duration of validity as passport booklets.


Costs for passport booklets and cards vary. The standard acceptance fee for new applicants is $35, regardless of the kind of documentation submitted. The price will include this charge.


Passport cards form a credit card or driver’s license shape, making them highly convenient to keep.

Vacation Locations

Only the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, and Canada are offered as destinations for passport cards. You can only utilize them for land border crossings or ports of entry.

Border Entry Procedure

You must register for a passport booklet rather than a passport card if you are a frequent traveler who plans to visit various overseas places or intend to go on international air travel.

Difference between passport book and card
This is a U.S. passport card.

Passport Book vs. Passport Card – Which is Right for You?

Given the price difference and processing times for passport applications, choosing between a passport book and a card might seem challenging.  

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Consider the type of travel you’re most likely to undertake over the following several years. A passport book may be your best alternative if you are unclear about your travel purposes in the future.

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Vanessa is passionate about written communication, especially after beginning her career as a middle school English teacher. She’s an experienced content marketer as well. Vanessa loves to analyze, compare, and contrast, which is why she writes for ContrastHub. Besides writing, Vanessa is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, spicy food enthusiast, comedy nerd and lifelong learner.

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