The U.S. State Department issues two types of passports, the traditional passport, and the passport card. Travelers may opt to get one or the other or both and should be aware of when and how to use each type of document.
A traditional passport covers all international and domestic travel. The book includes many pages for passport entry and exit stamps as well as pages for visas. A traditional passport is required by the U.S. Government for people entering the country on your return visit from an international destination. Airlines will not let U.S. citizens depart from the U.S. without their passport. Many foreign countries only require a U.S. passport for entry. The current cost of a U.S. passport is $145. The passport book is valid for ten years after issue for adults and five years for travelers under 16.
The passport card is the size of a drivers license and does not include any areas for visas or entry and exit stamps. It can only be used to re-enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean at a land border crossing or at a seaport of entry. A passport card may not be used for international air travel, even when you re-enter the U.S. by land. The first time fee for a passport card is $65. The passport card for adults is valid for ten years.
The State Department offers an option where travelers can obtain a traditional passport as well as a passport card for $175. For more information click here.