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Passport Card or Passport Book?

Why Type of Passport Will You Need?


Passport Card or Passport Book?

Passports expire in 10 years.

© Susan Breslow Sardone. 
If you're planning to travel outside of the United States on your honeymoon or first romantic trip, you will require official documentation in the form of a booklet-style passport or a passport card.

On the border, at airline check-in, at customs and immigration counters, perhaps at your hotel, and even at overseas banks where you want to exchange money, you will need to produce passport identification. You simply can't get out of the country without a passport or passport card.

Differences between a Passport Book and a Passport Card

  • Access. This is the prime determinant as to whether you need a passport card or a regular, book-type passport. With a passport card you only will be able to cross the border into Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and Caribbean nations if you arrive by car, bus, train (or other permissible land vehicle) or via a seaport at one of these countries.

    If you intend to fly to your destination -- including Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and Caribbean nations -- you have no choice: You must acquire and present a U.S. Passport book.

  • Size. A passport card is wallet size, similar to the dimensions of a credit card. A passport book measures 5 x 3.5 inches when closed.

  • Cost. If you are buying a passport card for the first time, the price is $55 (renewals are $30). The initial price for a passport book is $135 (renewals are $110).

Similarities between a Passport and a Passport Card

  • Validity. Both the passport card and a regular passport book are good for ten years.
  • Identification. Both the passport card and a regular passport book are widely accepted as identification.
  • RFID Chips. New passport cards and regular passport books both contain radio frequency identification (RFID) chips that can be read from 20 to 30 feet away. They bear a unique identifying number used to access the passport's holder's identifying information, which is stored separately on a secure Customs and Border Patrol system.
  • Your Picture. Considering that you'll have a passport card or regular passport book around for a decade, take the time to get a photo that you like made.
Just for Honeymoon Couples
If you are planning a name change with marriage, consider that the name on your airline tickets and your passport should match to avoid being detained.

I recommend keeping your old name on your airline tickets as well as your passport. When you return from your honeymoon, you can submit an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate and change your name without charge.

When You Need a Passport Really Fast
With so many details to take care of before a wedding, it's possible you won't remember that you need a passport to fly to your honeymoon destination. It can take from four to six weeks to receive a new passport from the government. But there is an alternative, albeit costly: Use a passport expeditor (fee charged in addition to passport).

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  1. About.com
  2. Travel
  3. Honeymoons / Romantic Travel
  4. Honeymoons 101
  5. Honeymoon Basics
  6. Passports & Visas
  7. Obtaining a Passport Book or Card

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