Passport Book vs. Passport Card: Everything you need to know about 2 IDs

By Olivia Rodriguez 


Are you planning an international trip and wondering what essential documents you need? One of the most crucial items to have when traveling abroad is a passport. Did you know that you can apply for either a passport book, passport card, or both at the same time? There are questions you may have about different passports, how to obtain them, how they can be used, and which one is suitable for your trip. Your passport questions will be answered in this article to make your travels abroad easier. 

What is a passport book? 


A passport book is a government-issued booklet containing identification for the person to travel outside the country. To obtain this document, first you must fill out the application which can be found online at the US Department of State Website . There is an application for first-time applicants and for renewal.

The document must be filled out on a single-sided page that is 8.5 by 11 inches along with a horizontal photograph of yourself. You can take a passport photo at drug stores such as CVS or to save money, take it at home. An important note, if you wear glasses take them off for the passport photo unless you cannot for medical reasons in which case you must submit documentation. 

Passport Book and Card Fees 

The passport book application fee is $130 and for the passport card, it is $30. If you would like assistance with your paperwork, then you can pay an agent a $35 execution fee to prepare. To avoid an execution fee, you will apply for a passport by mail. Delivery fees vary. 

In the United States, for instance, you would use Form DS-11 for a new passport book. This could include a birth certificate or an old passport. There are fees associated with obtaining a passport book, including application fees and execution fees. You’ll need to take an oath confirming that the information you’ve provided is true and accurate and sign the application form. 

The processing time for a passport book can vary. Expedited services are available for an additional fee if you need your passport booked more quickly. Expedited shipping can be as high as $60. The process may differ depending on your country of residence and the specific requirements of your country’s passport-issuing authority. In the US, processing time on average takes 10 to 19 weeks as of March 2023. For expedited, it is 7 to 9 weeks. 

How to obtain a passport card?

If you are United States citizen, you would use Form DS-11 for a new passport card. You will need to provide proof of your citizenship and identity. This could include a previous passport, a birth certificate, or other accepted documents. You will also need a recent passport-sized photo. Bring your completed application form, required documents, and photo to a passport acceptance facility. Some facilities might require an appointment, so it’s a good idea to check ahead of time. 

There are various fees associated with obtaining a passport card, including application fees and execution fees. The passport card application fee is $30. These fees can vary depending on your age and whether you’re applying for a new passport card or renewing an existing one. Once your 

application is approved and processed, you’ll receive your passport card by mail. It’s important to keep track of your application status and any tracking information provided. 

Countries you can visit with a passport card 

According to the website, “Entering the United States at land border crossings and seaports-of-entry from: Canada, Mexico, Caribbean countries, and Bermuda. The passport card cannot be used for international air travel. For example, you could use your passport card when you travel by a carnival cruise. Passport cards are the size of a driver’s license and easy to carry when traveling across the country. 

Validity period and renewal process for passport cards 

Passport card validity periods can vary depending on your country of citizenship. In the United States, for instance, both a passport book and card are valid for 10 years for adults. For children under 16, it is valid for 5 years. To renew, you can find the form online which is separate from the first-time application. You must follow these steps: first, fill out the DS-82 form, submit your last US passport, provide a recent photo, calculate fees, mail the application, and track your status. Children under 16 cannot renew a passport and must apply with the Form DS-11. Processing time on average takes 10 to 19 weeks as of March 2023. For expedited, it is 7 to 9 weeks. 

Which passport is right for you?

A passport book is a standard and widely accepted form of identification for international travel, valid for both air travel and entry to most countries. A passport card, on the other hand, is designed for specific types of travel and is not valid for international flights. Both have the same validity. 

Your choice between a passport book and a passport card will depend on your travel needs and destinations. In addition to a passport book and card remember that the specific items you need vary based on your destination, the nature of your trip, and personal preferences. You should bring your wallet, phone, charger, power adapter, clothing, itinerary, etc. Good luck with your trip. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Tiffany Heard

Proud graduate of Howard University where she obtained a Masters of Social Work. She has currently traveled the world to over 20 countries and gives back selflessly by volunteering abroad.