Difference Between Passport Book and Card

Most people consider traveling as a source of releasing the tension and taking days out away from work, and a hectic schedule indeed helps in the process. Traveling within a country does not require many documents, but traveling across countries does require little essential documentation. Among them, the most important is a passport.

If you are traveling 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.

Passport Book vs Card

The main difference between Passport Book and Card is that passport book is accepted globally and to more countries or areas, whereas Passport card is only accepted in certain areas within the boundaries of US and it is only issued to the citizen of US. A passport Card is comparatively easier to keep. It comes in a wallet size that can be kept in it as a license. Both of them have different costs for maintenance or renewal.

Passport Book vs Card

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 traveling 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 traveling to a certain place by land or even by sea. They are easy to carry and can be used in 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 Between Passport Book and Card

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.

What is Passport Card?

They also serve the same function as a passport book. But this is a card with not 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 traveling by land, but in some cases traveling 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 traveling 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 required 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 the longer period, they are not useful as ultimately you’ll require a passport of the traveling internationally. Not many countries have yet introduced cards or passport cards yet. They used passport books for the purpose of verification.

Main Differences Between Passport Book and Card

  1. Both of them differ mainly in terms of validity, a passport book is valid internationally, it does not matter the mode of travel, such as through land, air, and sea, whereas it is not the same with passport card that is only valid for travel through land and sea only, it does not include traveling far by air.
  2. Both of them also coves with 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 have many pages, but 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 borders of communities in the US.


Hence, there should not be difficulty or confusion between both of them. The confusion sometimes leads to using both terms passport book and card interchangeably that can cause problems. Both of them take a similar or even the same amount of time for processing that is mostly 4 to 6 weeks and 2 weeks expedited. And they also serve a similar purpose and are required at the time of travel. But they are not hard to distinguish them by just looking at them.

These differences are important as they can lead to chaos sometimes, in case of lack of information and especially for a person who travels more frequently they are important documents.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965259006705576
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4143504/
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