International travelers must have a passport book or passport card to gain entry into foreign countries and back onto Unites States soil. When planning to travel to another county, allow enough time to apply for and obtain your passport.
From the time the passport application is received, it takes approximately four to six weeks to process and complete. The U.S. Department of State recommends that people plan for the passport to take the full six weeks to complete.
When a passport is needed immediately, the applicant can request expedited service. This request allows the application to be processed quickly. As of 2010, expedited passport service costs an additional $60, and typically takes two to three weeks to compete. If that much time is not available, the applicant should schedule an appointment with a passport agency.
A passport card is only valid for re-entry into the U.S. when traveling by land or sea ports from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean. A passport book, on the other hand, is valid for all types of international travel. The book costs more than three as much as the card to obtain.