Do I Need a Passport Card

Traveling or identification-wise, passports are very important. 

The United States introduced a new invention in recent years – a passport card instead of a traditional passport book. 

Do you need it, when you might need it, and how to get it – you can find answers to these questions in our article below. 


The differences between a passport card and a passport book

Passport books are usually used mainly when it comes to international travels. You can use both the passport book and the passport card for identification purposes. You can’t travel outside of the US with a passport card although there are some exceptions that you can find below. 

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What do you need a passport card for?

A passport card is a nice travel addition – you can use it in your travels (even international) if you want to make sure that your passport book doesn’t get stolen by using it as an ID and leaving the passport book in your accommodation.

A passport card can also be used interchangeably with a normal state-issued identification document whenever you might need to prove your identity. 

It’s good to have a passport card as an additional form of identification as well, as it’s sometimes required to show multiple forms of IDs. You can also travel to some places with a passport card – we’ve specified them below. 

Where can you travel with a passport card?

After we have already established that it’s required for you to have a passport book to travel internationally, where can you travel with a passport card? 

  • You can travel in and out of all of the US states with the passport card
  • You can travel by land to Mexico
  • You can travel by land to Canada
  • You can travel to the Caribbean and Bermuda by sea. 

How to get a passport card?

You will need to apply for a passport card using the normal DS-11 form that is used to apply for a normal passport – you can also do it alongside applying for a passport book. 

You will be required to apply in person for the passport card. 

Additional things you will need with your application are:

  • A recent passport photo that is no older than 6 months and follows all of the official rules and regulations for US passport photos
  • A proof stating that you’ve paid your fees for the passport card
  • A proof of citizenship with its copy 
  • An identification document and its copy.

You will receive your passport card through the services of First Class Mail. 

Passport cards summed up

A passport card is a great form of identification that you can use interchangeably with your state-issued ID for all situations that might require some sort of identity verification from you. 

You can also use it to travel within the borders of the United States and internationally, by land and sea, to Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Mexico. 

It’s good to have a passport card as it’s useful as an additional form of identification. 


Can I use a passport card instead of a normal state-issued ID?

Yes, these two identification documents can be used interchangeably. It’s good to have both as sometimes you are required to present two forms of identification.

Will I receive my passport card faster than a normal passport book?

No, the process, in this case, takes approximately the same amount of time – around 4-6 weeks of waiting.

Can I use a passport card to fly?

Yes, you can use the passport card to fly within the US borders. If you want to fly internationally you will need to apply for a passport book though.

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