Passport Book vs Passport Card
If you are traveling internationally, you need a passport book. It is valid whether you are traveling by air, sea, or land. A passport card is an alternative to a passport book and can be used traveling by land and sea anywhere in the U.S. from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. You cannot fly internationally with a passport card.
American citizens living in communities bordering Canada and Mexico primarily use passport cards. These cards are less expensive and smaller than a passport book.
Both passport books and cards are valid for 10 years for adults and 5 years for minors.
Traveling by Air
Everyone who travels internationally by air, no matter their age, must have a valid passport book.
Traveling by Cruise Ship
The rules change depending on where you are cruising. Check with your cruise line to make sure you have the appropriate documents. Our advice would be to bring along your passport book, even if it means you don’t have to carry along your birth certificate. You may be able to get away with using a passport card if you are traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda, but again, contact the cruise line.
Traveling by Car
If you are driving to Canada or Mexico from the U.S., you may use a passport card. If you already have a passport book, you do not need a passport card.
Adult passport card (if you do not currently hold a valid passport book or card): Application fee = $30; Execution fee = $25.
You must apply in person if:
• You are applying for your first U.S. passport.
• Your previous passport was issued when you were under the age of 16.
• Your previous passport was lost, stolen, or damaged.
• Your previous passport was issued more than 15 years ago.
• Your name has changed since your passport was issued and you are unable to legally document your name change.
You may apply by mail if:
• Your most recent passport is undamaged and can be submitted with your application.
• Your passport was issued when you were at least 16 years old.
• Your passport was issued within the last 15 years.
• Your passport was issued with your current name or you can legally document your name change—like with • your marriage certificate.
Many post offices and municipal government offices accept passport applications. Call your local post office to find out if they accept passport applications. You can also find the closest passport agent by visiting www.iafdb.travel.state.gov.
You can pick up the passport application, called a DS-11, where passport applications are accepted, or you may visit www.travel.state.gov and fill out the form online and print it out.
Here is a list of what you will need to provide the passport agent in person:
• Completed application.
• Evidence of citizenship, which includes one of the following: a previously issued passport, certified U.S. birth certificate, consular Report of Birth Abroad or certification of birth, naturalization certificate, valid driver’s license, current government ID, or current military ID.
• Photocopy of the identification documents submitted. Photocopies must be on standard white copy paper showing the front and back of your ID.
• Passport photo. You can get your photo taken at a variety of places. Contact your local big box store, drug store, or post office to inquire.
• Passport fee. Adult passport book: Application fee = $110; Execution fee = $25. If you are renewing your passport, the application fee is the same, but there is no execution fee. You can choose to pay an additional $14.85 for passport book overnight delivery for U.S. applicants. Bring your checkbook along to pay your fees, as not all places (including the post office) will accept credit cards. Don’t have a checkbook? You may purchase money orders at the post office with your debit card (not your credit card).
Processing times for passports varies depending on the time of year. The summer travel season is the busiest time, so plan on applying for your passport a few months in advance of your honeymoon. If you are applying during the busy season or traveling in less than six weeks, you may pay a $60 fee (for U.S. applicants only) to expedite your application.
Should I get a passport book or passport card?
We suggest you go ahead and get yourself a passport book. It’s more expensive up front, but will cover you in case of an emergency. For example, if you are on a cruise ship and fall ill or have an emergency where you need to fly back to the U.S. from a foreign country, you will need a passport book. Passport cards are not valid for international air travel.
What last name should I use?
Use your maiden name when booking your honeymoon if you are traveling right after your wedding. It takes a couple of weeks to process and issue the marriage certificate, and then even more time to issue your passport in your new married name. Traveling under your maiden name will cut down on the stress of receiving these documents on time.
Once you get back from your amazing trip you can apply for a name change on your passport. Your passport, with all the stamps from your honeymoon, will be returned to you (to keep for sentimentality) along with your brand new passport with your new last name. As long as you file the name change form for your passport (called a 5504 form) within 12 months of your wedding, you will not have to pay an additional fee.
How do I know if I need to renew my passport?
If you were 16 or older when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 10 years. Please note that some countries and airlines require that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond the dates of your trip! Check the expiration date on your passport—if it expires less than six months past your honeymoon return date, you should renew your passport.