Passport book versus passport card
Travelers often ask whether they should get a passport book, a passport card or both. The answer will depend on how you are most likely to travel. There is one big difference between the 2 and that is when entering the United States by air, the U.S. government requires that Americans have a passport book. Passport cards are useful for those who make frequent land crossings between the US and Canada or Mexico, or those who are doing “closed loop” cruises from US Ports. A “closed loop” cruise is one that starts and ends in the same US port, for example: Miami, New York City, Seattle, etc. If you’ll be flying internationally then you MUST have a passport book. You can apply for both at the same time, though each has a separate fee. As long as the applicant is over 16 years of age, both the passport card and book will be valid for 10 years. For those under 16 years of age, the documents will be valid for 5 years. When your passport is getting close to expiring, allow ample time to get it renewed before you travel. Many countries require that your passport be valid for 6 months from the date of travel. Be sure your documentation is current and check with the embassy or consulate of the countries you’ll be visiting so that you will not risk being denied entry. A passport book is recommended if you think that you’ll travel frequently in other countries, regardless of whether you’re flying, driving, cruising or taking the train. While technically you cannot fly internationally without a passport BOOK, the US Government will, in the event of an emergency, get you temporary documentation to return home should you become ill while out of the country and need to fly home. Having a passport book will open up the world for you both literally and figuratively. Being sure that it’s current, with several blank pages will ensure you that should you win the lottery, you’re ready to head out to the airport to embark on your round the world vacation!