Every once in a while, questions pop up in the Wandering Moms Facebook Group about whether or not one should purchase a Passport Book or a Passport Card and it can get slightly confusing so we’ll break them both down here.

The first callout is that both the Passport Card and the Passport Book serve the same purpose – to verify your identity as a citizen of the United States, allow you to travel outside of the country, and allow you to re-enter the Unite States.


  • Costs less than a passport book:
    • $65 for first time card for adults
    • $50 for first time card for minors under the age of 16
    • $30 for renewals by mail
  • Can be used in place of a State Issued ID


  • Can NOT be used for international air travel
  • Can ONLY be used for land border crossing or sea-port entry to and from:
    • Canada
    • Mexico
    • The Caribbean
    • Bermuda

The process for obtaining a passport card is the same as the process for obtaining a passport book, including the process for obtaining a passport for a minor.

The two most asked questions in our community are:

Can you get both a passport book and a passport card?

Yes. You can apply for both a passport book and a passport card should you choose to. The application fee for both is $175 for adults.

Under what circumstances would someone get a passport card?

Some folks have no intentions of flying internationally and prefer to do cruises. If you fit that description, it makes more sense to save money and just purchase a passport card given that is the only thing required for your exit and re-entry.

A passport card may also be a good way to go if you’re building up to more broad international travel and you want to save as much money as you can while you focus on land or cruise travel.

Some folks may want to purchase both because they would prefer, if they are going on a cruise, to leave their passports at home, safe and sound, and take their cards with them on the cruise. It may seem overly cautious to some but we don’t begrudge anyone wanting to be careful about their passports.

You can get more details about passport books via the US Department of State Website.

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