In 2008, the US Department of State introduced a new passport option: the US passport card. The wallet-sized card was meant to make international travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean more convenient and less expensive. Passport cards are the same size and shape as a driver’s license, and they cost much less-only $45 for a card compared to $100 for a passport book.

Passport cards are gradually becoming more and more popular, but as Las Vegas’ Fox 5 News reports, there is still a lot of confusion about what type of travel they can actually be used for, and that means people are missing their vacations.

You see, passport cards may be much cheaper than a regular passport, but they are much more limited in terms of where and when you can use them. They are ONLY valid for land or sea travel to Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean. They aren’t valid for travel to any other countries. Equally important, they can’t be used for air travel at all. So, even if you are flying to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean, you need a passport book, not a passport card. If you show up at the airport with a passport card, they won’t let you on the plane. That’s exactly what happened to Wendy and Jason Baxter, as described by Fox 5 News:

“You have to have a passport book,” the agent told the family.Last year, when Wendy and Jason Baxter ordered new passports, they were told they could order the passcards to fly to Canada instead of the more expensive passport, they said.“We asked what the difference was” between the two, Wendy Baxter said. Baxter said they were told passports were needed to fly overseas, while the passcard would get them into Mexico and Canada.“(You) get everything packed, everything’s done, (and) you get to the airport … and they say, ‘You can’t go,’” Wendy Baxter said.

Did passport card confusion catch you by surprise? If you need a new passport in a hurry, you have 3 different options: order a new passport with expedited processing, which costs an additional $60 and will get your application processed in 3 weeks instead of the normal 6, make an appointment at a passport agency office, or use a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport.

Of these options, an expediting company is the most convenient way to get super fast service. At RushMyPassport, we walk you through the application process and hand-deliver your application to the Department of State, resulting in processing times as low as 24 hours.

Apply for your new passport today!