Here’s How U.S. Passport Book And Card Work


Passport Book vs Card

When you think of a traditional passport, you are most likely thinking of a Passport Book. Regular U.S. Passport Books are 5” x 3.5” when closed and have a dark blue cover. Most U.S. Passport Books are 28 pages long, containing 17 blank pages marked “Visas” for collecting exit and entry visas required when traveling to certain countries.

Who Is Required To Obtain A Passport Book?

Any U.S. citizen traveling outside the United States must obtain a passport before leaving the country. A passport is use as proof of the passport holder’s identity while traveling abroad.

Where Are Passport Books Used?

Passport Books are used for all international travel by air, sea or land.

How Long Are Passport Books Valid?

Adult (16 years and over) Passport Books are valid for 10 years. Minor (under 16 years) Passport Books are valid for 5 years.

What Is The Difference Between Passport Books And Passport Cards?

There are currently two kinds of passports available to U.S. citizens: a Passport Book and a Passport Card.

Passport Books are traditional paper passports that are valid for all international travel. They are more expensive than Passport Cards.

Passport Cards are plastic cards that look much like a driver’s license. Passport Cards are only valid for land and sea border crossings between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. They are cheaper than Passport Books.

Can I Get Both A Passport Card And A Passport Book?

Yes. U.S. citizens can have both a Passport Card and a Passport Book at the same time. You can apply to get a Passport Card and a Passport Book together, or you can apply for each of them separately.

Are There Any Special Kinds Of Passport Books?

In addition to regular Passport Books, there are two kinds of special Passport Books.

Official Government Passports have a red cover and allow international travel for military officers or government employees who are performing official duties. Diplomatic Passports are black and are used by diplomats performing official duties. They alert airport personnel to diplomatic immunity status, meaning they may not search, delay, detain or arrest the passport holder.

How Much Do Passport Books Cost?

The fees for obtaining a U.S. Passport Book vary depending on the passport type and the method of processing. For a full guide to Passport Fees, please take a look at our Passport Fee Guide (*internal link).

How Do I Obtain A Passport Book?

The process for obtaining a U.S. Passport Book varies depending on the passport type and the processing speed. For a full guide to obtaining a U.S. Passport Book, please take a look at our Passport Application Guide (*internal link).