Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Passport Book Vs. A Card, Is There A Difference?

This is one of those subjects that is a little sour for me to talk about.  Why? Because I believe in being a straight shooter.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much straight shooting going on when a person applies for their passport.  And whichever one you get will determine if your travels will allow you to go on your adventure or not.  If you purchase the wrong one, then you will be forced to pay even more monies for the correct passport and most likely incur huge expediting fees too.  Read on…

A Passport Card will allow you to travel to Mexico and Canada via a motor vehicle or train, but not via an aircraft.  This makes it a great option for the annual fishing trips to Canada, however, when that once in a lifetime trip to Europe presents itself or your daughter announces she will be having a Destination Wedding in Mexico, unless you plan to drive there, you are not going anywhere!  A passport card is also good for cruising, however, if you get delayed and miss your ship only to find yourself stuck in Honduras, you will find it more than difficult to return to US soil since a passport card will not allow you to fly with it.  

On the other hand, a Passport Book truly opens up the possibilities for you and the world is your oyster.  You will be able to travel the world via cruise, airplane or car without any worries or restrictions.  They are valid for 10 years and if you are under the age of 16, they will need to be renewed every 5 years.

How Do I Get One?
The process is exactly the same whether you want a card or a book.  Go to your local Post Office and some DMVs do this now too.  Simply prove you are a US citizen with your certified birth certificate and a picture ID along with your completed application.  It’s a good idea to bring in your own passport photo (purchased at Walgreens or via a new app called ------)or you can have it done for you when you apply.

What Does It Cost?
New, replacement or renewal of a passport book: $110 if age 16 and older; $80 if under the age of 16. New, replacement or renewal of a passport card: $30 if age 16 and older; $15 if under the age of 16.

So Why the Sour Attitude?
I feel like people will take the cheaper route when given a choice.  Unfortunately, this will ultimately lead to spending more money than necessary once they find out that they have the wrong passport.  I once had a client who was denied boarding because she had a passport card. She honestly didn’t even know there was a difference or an option.  So she then had to delay her trip by a day so she could drive to the local passport headquarters and apply in person for a same day passport BOOK.  This cost her $110 plus expediting fees, gas, food and lodging, not to mention a day lost at the resort.  
When in doubt, pull it out!  
When booking your trip, please please please pull out your passport to verify if it’s a card or a book.  The next step would be to make sure your name matches identically to your travel documents.  Chris, I’m talking to you.  I know your passport reads Mark Christopher, but we all call you Chris.  The TSA agent needs to know this too or you will not be going anywhere.  Yes indeed, you could be denied boarding if your name doesn’t match!  Finally, is it expired?  Some countries require you have at least 6 months until your passport expires in order to visit.  You won’t know the exact details unless you take the time to pull out your passport and take a good look.  


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