Passport Book vs Card: Difference and Comparison

Most people consider travelling as a source of releasing tension and taking days away from work, and a hectic schedule indeed helps in the process.

Travelling within a country does not require many documents, but travelling across countries does require little essential documentation. Among them, the most important is a passport.

If you are travelling to another country, the one document that identifies you as a citizen of your country is a passport. Now there is an option for carrying a passport too. You carry a passport book or a card. Now many people get confused between both of them.

Key Takeaways

  1. Passport books are larger, valid for international air travel, and contain multiple pages for visa stamps. In contrast, passport cards are wallet-sized and only valid for land and sea travel between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.
  2. Passport cards cost less than passport books, making them an affordable alternative for travellers who do not need air travel documentation.
  3. While both passport books and cards serve as proof of U.S. citizenship and identity, the passport book offers greater versatility for different modes of international travel.

Passport Book vs Card

A passport book is a standard passport that is issued as a small booklet with pages for visa stamps and entry and exit stamps. It is the most commonly used type of passport and is required for international air travel. A passport card is a wallet-sized card that is used for land and sea travel only. It is not valid for international air travel. It is designed to be more convenient and cheaper.

Passport Book vs Card

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A passport book is a booklet of 28 pages with stamps of countries you have visited. They are used to verify citizenship. The validation period is different for an adult and a minor, but they have to get renewed after it gets invalid.

The invalid passport is of no use. They can be used for travelling internationally by any means, land or air. A passport card is a card like a driver’s license that serves as a verification document in case you are travelling to a certain place by land or even by sea.

They are easy to carry and can be used in a few countries that, include Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Bermuda. They are only valid for 10 years for adults and 5 years for a minor.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPassport BookPassport Card
ValidityInternational travelNot for international travel
Size5’’ x 3.5’’ when closedWallet-sized
RecognizedOn global levelIn boundaries of the US
Useful forInternational travelWho lives on the border, not for international travel.

What is Passport Book?

It is a book that has a blue outer covering along with the owner’s passport-size photo. It contains 28 pages; the pages are mostly bank and get filled with stamps when you visit the new country. They serve as an identification document when you visit a new country.

It will be a problem if you are identified as a citizen of a particular country, and to avoid this situation, the passport book serves the purpose of identification of citizenship. It is needed in case your travel across countries either by air, land or even sea.

It is accepted as an identification document all around the world and comes in a definite size that has one size of photo. But to make them more flexible and increase the validation, certain fees have to be paid for that.

If you are an adult, the passport is valid for about 10 years of the period, but the years are less if you are a minor of less than 16 years. The validation only lasts for 5 years. And renewing those fees or charges has to be paid.

passport book

What is Passport Card?

They also serve the same function as a passport book. But this is a card with no pages and no covering. Keeping them is quite easy if compared. Unlike passport books, they are only acceptable in some parts of the world.

And mostly, they are acceptable if you are travelling by land, but in some cases travelling by sea is also added to the list. The main disadvantage it has is that it cannot be used for a country at a far distance where you have to travel by air.

Therefore, if you are initially travelling from land to land passport card can be used for identification and verification, but in case you have to take a flight, then the card is not valid, and you probably require a passport book.

Both of them are valid for the same period, but when compared in terms of affordability, the cards are more affordable, but if looked at for a longer period, they are not useful as ultimately you’ll require a passport the travelling internationally.

Not many countries have yet introduced cards or passport cards yet. They used passport books for the purpose of verification.

passport card

Main Differences Between Passport Book and Card

  1. Both of them differ mainly in terms of validity, and a passport book is valid internationally, it does not matter the mode of travel, such as land, air, and sea, whereas it is not the same with a passport card that is only valid for travel through land and sea only, it does not include travelling far by air.
  2. Both of them also come in different sizes and lengths along with their appearance, passport book comes in a cover, with a size of 5’’ x 3.5’’ when closed, and has many pages, but the passport card does not have any cover, comes in a size of a wallet and have no pages.
  3. When compared in terms of the globally accepted document, a passport book is recognized globally. For example, if you travel from the US to India, it will be valid. While the passport card is not valid globally for identification and verification, it can be accepted only in certain areas.
  4. They include different costs for making and renewing, and in both cases, passport books are proven to be more expensive, whereas passport cards can be quite cheaper when compared.
  5. The passport book is useful for international travel. You can travel via air, and it will still be a legal document, whereas a passport can be used in the borders of communities in the US.
Difference Between Passport Book and Card

Last Updated : 07 August, 2023

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