The similarity between the U.S. passport and the U.S. passport card are that both are issued only to eligible U.S. citizens. However, there ends the similarity. There are more differences between the two.
The U.S. passport is a small book and can be used for international travel. The passport card is a wallet-size card and is meant to be used only when re-entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land-border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. The passport card was specifically designed for persons in the northern and southern U.S. border communities crossing these borders frequently. The US passport card cannot be used for international air travel.
Like the passport, the passport card is valid for 10 years for adults and for 5 years for minors under the age of 16. The cost to apply for a passport card for first time applicants is $55 and $40 for minors below the age of 16. Renewal of a passport card costs $30 for adults.
Applying for a Passport Card
Persons can apply for both the passport book and the passport card at the same time. They need to check the appropriate boxes on the application to show that they are applying for both.
Persons who already have a passport book and are eligible to file form DS-82 can apply for a passport card through mail using the DS-82 (even if it is for their first passport card). The applicant can concurrently apply for a passport book renewal. People wanting to apply for a passport card in person need to use the form DS-11.
It takes 4-6 weeks from the time of application for a passport card application to be processed. Expedited processing is completed in 2-3 weeks door-to-door.