U.S. Passort Rules
U.S. citizens are required to have a passport for visiting any destination outside of the United States. This includes Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, whether visited by sea or by land. Hawaii cruises from California even require a passport.
As of June 1, 2009, a passport (or other accepted document) is required for U.S. citizens who travel by air, sea and land to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central and South America, Canada and Mexico, as well as outside the Western Hemisphere.
Click here for: Passport Application.
Click here for: Passport Renewal Application.
What You Need to Know
On June 1st, 2009, the final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI for short) went into effect. Now, most Americans traveling to other countries do need passports to travel. Here are the details of the new passport laws:
Americans traveling to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean by plane need a passport book. Americans traveling to these countries by sea need a passport book, a passport card, or a WHTI-approved alternative, like an enhanced driver’s license, a NEXUS card, a FAST card or a SENTRI card. For most Americans, the passport book and the passport card are easiest to obtain, but the passport card can only be used for land or sea travel, not for air travel. The passport book is a better choice, because there is always the possibility you might have to fly home in an emergency.
There are a few exceptions to the new requirements, but they only apply for land or sea travel, never to air travel. So, again, even though you don’t technically need a passport if you fall into one of the following categories, it’s a good idea to carry one anyway in case you need to fly home.
Here are the exceptions:
Children under the age of 16 traveling by land or sea can use their birth certificates, naturalization certificates or certificates of citizenship.
Children under the age of 19 traveling by land or sea with a school group, religious group, social or cultural organization, or sports team accompanied by an adult chaperon can use their birth certificates, naturalization certificates or certificates f citizenship.
Cruise ship passengers on a closed-loop cruise, one that begins and ends at the same US port, can use government-issued photo ID (like your driver’s license) and a birth certificate, certificate of naturalization or certificate of citizenship.
For more information on where to apply, photo requirements or how to make changes or corrections to your passport please click on the link below.