4

I have the right to get any or all of the following:

  • US Passport ($110)
  • US Passport "card" ($30)
  • state Enhanced Driver's License (+$30 on normal DL cost)

My travel would be amongst the US, Canada, Mexico and possibly the Caribbean, possibly by air, and I would be thrilled to have a credit card sized thing instead of a book. The EDL would also be a + since it means 1 card instead of 2.

How do these items differ in terms of travel rights, in particularly the Passport Card vs the EDL? Does EDL do everything a PPC does and then some? Or vice versa? Is it silly to have both? I am not concerned with cost or expiry date.

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    If you move out of state, you have to apply for a new EDL which I assume is $30 more. However if you had the passport card and DL separate, you would only need to get a new DL. Also passport cards valid for ten years while EDL’s are typically shorter. Basically just get the passport card separate and a separate DL. You can’t do without the book though. – cHiEf Immigration vIoLaTer Feb 22 at 23:32
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    @ThEiLlEgAlaLiEn: That's a good point, and furthermore, if you move to one of the 45 states that doesn't offer an EDL, you'll have to go to one of the other options anyway. – Nate Eldredge Feb 22 at 23:37
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    @NateEldredge also DC or any US territory. – phoog Feb 23 at 1:38
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    It appears that EDLs are only currently issued in the states: Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington. – zaph Feb 23 at 4:10
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    I have wanted to get an EDL but my state doesn't offer it. In the end I'll probably go ahead and get a Passport Card the next time I renew my US passport, as, as @ThEiLlEgAlaLiEn mentioned, it doesn't need to be updated if I move. – Robert Columbia Feb 23 at 13:04
11

The EDL and the passport card are both governed by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and as far as I know, they are equivalent as far as international travel purposes.

Importantly, neither of the two allows you to travel internationally by air. So if you want to have that option, you are going to have to get a passport book anyway.

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    +1. It's easier to get the card and the book at the same time, so if you at all think that traveling internationally by air is a possibility in the next 10 years, consider getting the book, so you don't have to worry about it later. – Zach Lipton Feb 22 at 23:36
  • @ZachLipton how much easier, and why? – phoog Feb 23 at 1:39
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    @phoog In addition to the fee for the passport book or card, there is a $35 application fee. If you apply for them together at the same time, you only pay the single $35 fee, but if you apply for them separately, you have to pay the $35 fee twice. Not to mention possibly get new passport photos. – Michael Hampton Feb 23 at 2:58
  • @MichaelHampton my understanding is that the $35 execution fee only applies to a first application. Has that changed (I'll be renewing my passport in a couple of months, so I guess I'll find out then)? – phoog Feb 23 at 4:14
  • @phoog I'm not 100% positive based on the website that you can get a passport book by mail if all you have is a card (you can definitely get a card by mail if you have a book). But at a minimum, it's a separate application, photo, waiting the appropriate number of weeks (or paying expedite fees because you didn't plan far enough ahead), etc... If you're dealing with all the paperwork anyway, it's probably worth getting the book at the same time, unless you're confident that you're really not going to travel internationally by air anytime soon and want to save on the passport fee. – Zach Lipton Feb 23 at 4:36
6

If you move out of state, you have to apply for a new EDL which I assume is $30 more. However if you had the passport card and DL separate, you would only need to get a new DL.

Assitionally passport cards valid for ten years while EDL’s are typically shorter. Basically just get the passport card separate and a separate DL.

You can’t do without the book though if you’ll be visiting the Caribbean or any international location by air.

5

I have a passport book and EDL. As far as I can tell, the EDL and passport card give the same travel rights. The only distinction I can think of that might make you want to have both an EDL and a passport card is the information on the face of the cards. My EDL only has my middle initial. If I had a passport card and always carried it, I'd be able to prove my full middle name if I unexpectedly needed to. (If I knew ahead of time it might be a problem, I could bring my passport book.) Other people might have other name variations and want to have a form of ID in both versions, but the respective agencies will have their own rules about how much of a variation they will allow.

Also, if I wanted to show my identity without showing my home address, I could use the passport card.

  • Very important distinction, thanks for pointing this out! – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Feb 23 at 0:27
  • IMO the passport card is a better ID out of the U.S. since it also contains the passport number, is issued by the U.S. government and the EDL will not be equally recognized as a passport card. – zaph Feb 23 at 4:15
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    @zaph what does the passport number have to do with it? The number of a passport card is unique, as is the number of a passport book. The number identifies the document, not the person. – phoog Feb 23 at 5:23
  • There are instances where a passport number is needed such as at hotels and Airbnbs when checking in. – zaph Feb 23 at 12:55
  • But it is not the passport number - it is the card's number. And most countries will not accept it as replacement - the need the number of the passport that contains the immigration stamp, and they are legally required to verify that stamp. – Aganju Feb 23 at 14:17

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