In the US, there are two types of passports: the traditional passport book, and a passport card. The passport book is a thin cardboard cover with your picture and information inside it. It has several pages for visas and travel documents. The US passport card is a small passport card, about the size of a credit card, that contains your photo and identifying information. The traditional passport book is still required for most travel purposes. If you are traveling by air or to most countries, you will need a traditional passport book, with pages for your various visas.
However, you can also get a passport card. The US passport card can be useful in a number of situations. As US passport card can be used to enter Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by road or by sea, and can allow you to reenter the United States after such a trip. The US passport card cannot be used for any international air travel, but if you travel frequently to Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Canada by land or water, the US passport card can actually make more sense than a passport book.
The US passport card is less expensive to get then passport book, and is much smaller. The passport card is about the size of any credit card, and fits easily into your wallet for frequent travel. The passport card is valid for up to 10 years if you are an adult, and allows you virtually unlimited travel to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, and Canada. If you travel often to these places and do not often travel by air outside of these countries, a US passport card can be a good alternative to a passport book. You can simply keep it in your wallet and have it on your person whenever you need to travel. You can also use your passport card, just as you use your passport book, as a form of identification.
You can have both the US passport book and a passport card. Many frequent travelers require a US passport book, since the book allows you to travel to more places and allows you to secure a visa when you need one. If you have a passport book already, getting a passport card is quite simple and not very expensive. Since 2008, when the passport card was first introduced, more than a quarter of a million Americans have chosen to get this form of identification.