USA Passport and Passport Card
I have just received my USA passport book and passport card. Travelers around the world will be familiar with the passport book. They are often blue, green, red, or black, depending on the issuing nation. Passports books are essential for any international travel. They work for air travel, sea travel, or land travel. They are the universal standard for all ports of entry. For most USA citizens, the passport book is dark blue.
A secondary use for Passport books is that of primary identification. You can use your passport as proof of USA citizenship when applying for a job. And, they are also identification for boarding domestic flights. Passport books are the closest there is to a national identification card. The only drawback is that passport books are slightly bulky to carry around daily as an identification.
The USA also issues the Passport Card, which is a credit card size identification that has more limited uses than the passport book. The size makes it more convenient to carry a Passport Card than a Passport book. However, Passport Cards are only useful for limited ports of entry by land or sea. Here is a list of the limited countries with which a Passport Card can be used.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Virgin Islands
- Caribbean Netherlands
- Cayman Islands
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and Grenadines
- Turks and Caicos
Something to bear in mind is that if you travel to any of these countries using your Passport Card and leave your Passport book at home, you would have to travel back to the USA in the same manner. Passport cards are not good for international air travel. You would have to drive or boat back into the United States to be allowed entry using a passport card. You would not be allowed entry if you fly back.
I was curious what other uses the passport card has. It seems like it would have rather limited use for travelers. So, I did some research.
Ironically, the passport card is valid to use for boarding domestic flights. Of course, you can just as easily take your passport book for domestic flights.
The passport card is also accepted as primary identification for employment or other purposes.
For example, as your citizenship and identity have already been verified by the Department of State, you can use your passport card to get a driving license or state identification card.
You can also use your passport card to order a replacement passport book for one you have lost. You generally do not want to carry them together. You can use your passport book to order a passport card. Or, you can use your passport card to order a passport book. But, if you have neither, it's a bit more involved.
The passport card also serves as identification when traveling internationally. It won't serve for getting through customs. But, it does serve for identifying you as a foreign national so that you don't have to carry your passport book everywhere. They can tag team so you always have a backup.
A passport card is also more secure than your state identification as your home address is not displayed on the card. Your date of birth is displayed on the card, which makes it useful to get drinks at the bar. But, you won't have to worry that the sketchy bartender now knows where you live.
Overall, even though the passport card has limited travel use. The additional uses can make proving your identity in any number of situations much easier without having to walk around with your passport book.
Personally, I find it more useful as a form of identification than as a way of traveling internationally, which is very limited. For this reason, when it comes time to renew the passport card, I would not hesitate. It's the closest thing to a national identification card without the inconvenience of the passport book.