What is a Passport Card?

We began issuing U.S. passport cards in 2008 to meet the needs of U.S. citizens who travel from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and Caribbean countries by land or sea. The passport card cannot be used for international air travel and is a cheaper alternative to the passport book. Learn about the card on this page so you can decide if you want to apply for either the book or card, or both documents.  

Steps to Apply for a Card

We use the same forms for both passport books and cards. The first step on our forms is to select if you want a passport book, passport card, or both documents. 

Comparing the Book and Card

  U.S. Passport Book U.S. Passport Card
Image (not to scale)

Used For

International travel
by air, sea, or land

Real ID: Passport books and cards are alternatives to a state-issued ID. 

Entering the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from:
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Caribbean countries
  • Bermuda
The passport card cannot be used for international air travel.
Real ID: Passport books and cards are alternatives to a state-issued ID.  
Validity 16 and older: 10 years
Under 16: 5 years
Same as a passport book
Size Fits in your pocket Fits in your wallet

Please see Passport Fees for more information.

Please see Passport Fees for more information. Cards are cheaper than books, and your total cost depends on what service you are requesting. 
Shipping Options If you're applying for a book, you can select 1-2 day delivery for an additional amount. If you're only applying for a card, we will send it to you via First Class Mail. You cannot select 1-2 day delivery.
Other Considerations You will receive the latest Next Generation Passport. We will soon update and modernize the passport card.

Download an infographic to compare the passport book and card

Resource Title Download PDF
Passport Book and Card Comparison






Can I apply for the passport card and passport book using the same application?

Yes. You can apply for both a passport book and passport card at the same time. Check the appropriate box at the top of the form to let us know if you would like to apply for one or both documents. 

If you have a passport book and you are eligible to use Form DS-82, you may apply for a passport card as a renewal by mail even if it is your first passport card.

If you're renewing both your passport book and passport card, you must submit both documents. If you can submit a passport book, but you lost your passport card, you cannot renew the passport card using Form DS-82.



Why can't I use a passport card to fly internationally?

The passport card was designed for the specific needs of northern and southern U.S. border communities with residents that cross the border frequently by land. The passport book is the only document approved for international air travel.


Can I use my passport card at Ready Lanes?

Yes. You can save time at the U.S.-Mexico border by using designated Ready Lanes that read the U.S. passport card’s Radio Frequency Identification technology. Find a complete list of documents which are accepted at Ready Lanes. 


I don't have any citizenship evidence or photo ID to apply. How can I get these documents?

When applying for the first time or for your child, you will need to provide evidence of U.S. citizenship and photo identification with your application. Go to our Citizenship Evidence page and Photo ID page for examples of documents we accept.

For example, if you were born in the United States and you do not have your birth certificate, you will need to contact the county, city, or state where you were born and request a certified copy of your birth certificate. 

We also realize that some customers may not have a driver's license to present as photo ID. We accept other types of government-issued, primary photo ID, and will accept multiple forms of secondary photo ID if you do not have a primary ID. 


Last Updated: April 7, 2023
REAL ID Infographic
Download the REAL ID infographic for more information.