Traveling with a passport card instead of a passport book is a great way to save money and avoid the hassles of having to remember and carry around a bulky book. But what if you got a passport card and you had to run out and buy a book or more? That won’t make any sense, and you’ll probably end up spending more on the book than on the card. It’s a good idea to check out the passport card vs. book difference to see which option is right for you.
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a U.S. passport card and a U.S. passport? If you’re planning a trip to the States, the main difference is the form of photo ID that you’ll need to enter the country. The U.S. passport card is more of a gap-filler than a stand-alone passport. However, some American consulates still accept it as proof of U.S. citizenship.
A U.S. passport card and a regular passport book both contain a photo page, a personal data page, a signature page, an information page, and a booklet containing travel information. But the two differ in other ways as well. A passport card is a laminated card. A passport book is a printed book. The cards are similar to a regular ID card, allowing people to go through airport security checkpoints, but also allow you to travel by land and sea, and can be used as a driver’s license.
Only about a third of Americans have a passport that is valid. A valid passport book or passport card is required for travel outside of the United States, whether by land, sea, or air.
However, if you’re going on a cruise, how do you know whether you’ll need a passport book or a passport card?
We understand that subjects like these may be intimidating, and we don’t want you to miss out on your ideal trip because of it! So keep reading to learn more about the differences between passport books and cards so you can decide which is best for you.
Book vs. Passport Card
The blue booklet that receives stamps as you enter or depart various countries is probably known to you. This passport book has long been the norm for international travel and is often shown in films and television programs.
What is the purpose of a passport card?
Passport cards were introduced in 2008 and are only valid for land or maritime entrance into the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda.
This wallet-size passport ID card is comparable in size and design to a driver’s license and is a more cost-effective alternative for individuals who only travel by land or water within the countries permitted.
Passport Card of the United States (Photo Credit: Mike Fouque / Shutterstock)
What’s the Difference Between the Two?
The usage of a passport card in the United States is more restricted than that of a passport book.
Even if you’re traveling by plane to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda, you’ll need a passport book. A passport card may only be used to enter these countries via land or sea ports, not by air.
For a cruise, do I need a passport book or a passport card?
For day excursions off the ship, closed-loop cruises departing from US ports usually enable you to utilize evidence of citizenship (such as a birth certificate) and proof of identification (such as a driver’s license).
This implies you may disembark for a few hours but not spend the night in another country. Before departing, be sure to check with your cruise company to see whether this is an option for the ports of call on your itinerary.
A passport book is required if you are leaving from a country other than the United States or a US territory. This covers cruises that depart from the United States but disembark in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda.
Shutterstock photo by waseber
Also see: Is a Passport Required for a Cruise?
A passport card is a fantastic choice for a budget tourist since it has cheaper application costs and is suitable for cruises restricted to those specific regions. It will enable you to depart from the ship at ports and go on excursions.
Is a Passport Required for My Child?
Adults and small children are both subject to the same regulations. Expect to require the same paperwork as you would for yourself, but if your kid is under the age of 16, a birth certificate may suffice for some cruise lines and destinations.
If the youngster is going with just one parent, there is another factor to consider. A child’s passport card or book will very certainly be needed.
Always verify with the cruise company about the legal paperwork required for young children, especially if only one parent or legal guardian is going.
Prepare for the worst-case scenario.
If you have to depart due to an emergency, sickness, or other unforeseen circumstance and need to travel home, you can anticipate delays if you just have a passport card. You may find yourself stranded in a foreign port and unable to return home since they cannot be used for international flight travel.
Turn Mug / Shutterstock.com / Turn Mug / Shutterstock.com / Turn Mug / Shutter
Spending a little extra on a passport book will cover all of your bases in the event of an emergency, and you’ll be prepared for future foreign travel.
Passport Books and Cards: Frequently Asked Questions
We want you to feel secure while you’re on the road! Here are some common passport queries and their solutions.
Is it possible for me to get a passport?
You may apply for a passport book or card if you are a US citizen through birth or naturalization.
What is the price of a passport book or card?
The application cost for a passport book is $110, whereas the application fee for a passport card is $30. For first-time applicants, there is a $35 execution fee.
Are there any other charges?
While there are no additional costs associated with the government application, you should anticipate to pay for your passport picture as well as any expediting or shipping fees.
How long will it take for you to get it?
It takes 10-12 weeks for routine processing. You may pay extra fees to speed up the process.
Do they meet the requirements for Real ID Identification?
Yes! Passport booklets and cards are both acceptable forms of Real ID identification.
What is the validity of passport books and cards?
Adult passport books and passport cards are valid for ten years, whereas children under the age of sixteen are only valid for five years.
Where do I submit my passport application?
The application form may be printed and completed ahead of time, but it must be presented in person. To locate a passport acceptance center near you, go here.
What should I bring with me?
Make sure you have original evidence of citizenship, a valid form of identification, a passport picture, the application, and any payments due. DO NOT SIGN YOUR APPLICATION UNTIL YOU ARE INSTRUCTED TO DO SO WHEN YOU SUBMIT IT IN PERSON.
Getting Your Passport Is Worth the Effort If You Want to Cruise
While there was a lot of information to digest in this post, we hope it gave you the confidence that your ideal cruise trip is within reach! You’re ready to go on to the next stage now that you understand the basics of sailing and passport requirements.
Passport cards and passports are often confused, and often mis-used. Passport cards were introduced to the U.S. Passport program in 2003 to give Americans living overseas and those traveling to and from the U.S. other quick and easy ways to access their passports. Passport cards are issued by the Department of State, and are valid for five years. Passport books contain more information than a passport card and are issued by the Department of State. Passport books are valid for ten years.. Read more about passport card processing time and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better US passport book or card?
The US passport book is better than the US passport card.
Are passport books and cards the same?
Yes, passport books and cards are the same.
What is a US passport card used for?
A US passport card is a travel document that can be used for international travel.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- passport card application
- do i need a passport card
- u.s. passport card vs book
- how long is a passport card good for
- passport card vs book