As a U.S. citizen, you can get a passport book or a passport card. But do you need both? In this post, you will get the benefits of having both documents. If you think having both will serve your purpose, then go ahead and get them. There is one thing I can tell you about both documents; they are used to reenter the U.S. So, let us discuss the benefits of a passport card and a passport book.
A passport card is a document you would use to travel by land or sea. It is acceptable to use for reentry into the U.S. So; it will limit you to go to Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, and the Caribbean. Beyond these countries, you cannot use a passport card for reentry. Also, you can use the card when you fly internationally. When your card is not an acceptable document for travel, you must use a passport book.
A passport book is an acceptable document for international travels. Your U.S. passport, as long as it is still valid, is acceptable at any border crossing. Regardless if you are traveling by air, land, or sea, you can use a passport. Since a passport book comes with multiple pages, the cost is more than a passport card. The length of validity is the same for both documents, five years.
Passport Card vs. Passport Book
Let us start with the passport card. The card is the size of a credit card. That makes it easy to carry. The card is made from plastic and contains your information and picture. However, the passport card has limit use. You can you use it for reentry into the U.S. if you are coming to a few neighboring countries. Because of its limitation, the cost for an adult passport card is $65 for the first-time applicant and $30 for renewal. A minor passport card is $50 for a first-time applicant and $15 for renewal. For an adult, the card is valid for ten years and five years for a child.
A passport book is a book with 28 pages. Since it can be used at any border crossing and some countries require a visa for entry, the pages are used for visa stamps. The cost for a passport book is $145 for an adult and $115 for a minor. The validity for both adults and children are the same as a passport card.
So, if you are a frequent flyer or will travel internationally, a passport book is the best choice. However, if you go to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean and would prefer a passport card, then you should apply for one. Most people who use the card prefer it for the convenience of carrying and storing it. Unlike a passport which is bigger and can be damaged by water, a passport card is made of plastic and will not get damage easily.
The choice of where you will travel can determine which of the document you should get. Keep in mind a passport has no limitations like the passport card. Also, they both serve the same purpose and getting both documents will cost more. I think the passport book is a better choice and having one will keep you prepared for your future international trip.