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Do You Need A Passport To Go To The Bahamas?

UPDATE: Effective June 1st, 2009, the requirements to travel to the Bahamas have changed. Please see this entry for the most up-to-date information.

Changing travel regulations have left many people scratching their heads, wondering whether or not you need a passport to go the Bahamas.

Actually, it depends. Right now, if you’re traveling to or from the Bahamas by sea, all you need is government-issued photo identification and proof of citizenship, such as your birth certificate.  However, if you’re flying, you have to have a US passport to re-enter the US from the Bahamas.

On June 1st, 2009, the rules are changing again. After that date, almost everybody who is traveling to the Bahamas will need a passport to re-enter the US, whether they are traveling by land or by sea.  There are only a few  exceptions:

  • Children under the age of 16  can use their birth certificates if they are traveling by sea.
  • Children aged 18 and under traveling by sea can also use their birth certificates if they are on a chaperoned trip with a school group, church group or sports team.
  • Passengers on “closed-loop” cruises, cruises that begin and end in the same port in the United States, can use government-issued photo ID and a copy of their birth certificate.

Even if you fall into one of the groups listed above and are not required to carry a passport,  it’s still a good idea to bring one with you. That way, you’re protected if you need to fly home unexpectedly.

If you need to get a passport to go the Bahamas, you should apply for it as soon as possible. It can take 6 weeks or longer for you to receive your passport if you apply for regular processing, so make sure you allow enough time.

If you need your passport more quickly, a private passport expediting service like can help. Expediting companies will deliver your passport application by hand to the US Passport Agency, resulting in faster processing times and an easier passport application experience.  Check out the different passport packages we have available, and see how easy it can be to get a passport to the Bahamas!

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124 Responses to “Do You Need a Passport to Go to the Bahamas?”

  1. Lisa

    Hi, My friends and i are planning to go on a cruise this summer to Hawaii, Bahamas or Bermuda, but currently i only have my US work permit, would i be able to go with them on the cruise if i brought my work permit, DL and if needed a letter written by my layer? thank you.

  2. Flaca

    Hi my husband and I are planning to go to the bahamas on a 2 days cruise but want to stay there for 2 days and come back on the same cruise.. is what they call cruise and stay do we need a passport for that.. since we are coming back on the same cruise 2 days later but staying there 2 days.. cruise

  3. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Flaca,

    You should be all right with a driver’s license and a birth certificate since you’re leaving and returning on the same cruise ship, and per the Department of State, “the Bahamian government only requires proof of citizenship and identity in order to enter The Bahamas.” However, PLEASE contact your cruise line and verify what you need, since they have final say over whether or not you get on board the ship.

    Have fun!

  4. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Lisa,

    That documentation would definitely be okay for a Hawaiian cruise, provided there aren’t any stops on the itinerary outside of the US. Otherwise, please ask the cruise line what documentation they will require. You’ll probably also need a valid passport from your country of origin. Have a great trip!

  5. Shelly

    Hi, i’d like to know what documents I need for sure to take a cruise from miami to caribean islands, I’m mexican citizen I got my turist visa and mexican passport, will be enogh??

  6. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Shelly,

    To know for sure, please check with your cruise line, as they have the final say over whether or not you board.

    Thanks, and have a great cruise!

  7. Andy

    Can a person aged 17 travel to the Bahamas without their parents? And what identification do they need?

  8. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Andy,

    Yes, and you will need a passport. Also, bring a notarized letter signed by your parents giving you permission to travel with the people you are traveling with. Have a great trip!

  9. Nick Lianos

    My girlfriend and I are going to the Bahamas I do not have my passport. We are going via cruise from what I can tell I should be alright without a passport since we are returning on the same cruise, is this correct and where do you get your information regarding this issue.

  10. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Nick,

    You should be fine as long as you have a certified copy of your birth certificate to use as proof of citizenship, but please contact your cruise line to be sure, since they have final authority over whether or not you board.

    The official government page describing required documents for closed-loop cruises can be found here:

  11. Justine

    I plan on leaving for a cruise from New Orleans that is going to the Bahamas and Florida and returning to the same port. I have Xanadian citizenship but am a permanent resident of the United States. I do not have a passport but do have a valid Texas license and a birth certificate. Is this enough?

  12. Justine

    * Also have a permanent resident card

  13. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Justine,

    You should be fine to get back into the US with your permanent resident card, but contact the cruise line to be sure that’s all they require.

    Have a great trip!



  15. Kerri Kaufmann

    Hi Albert,

    It looks like they will actually need a passport in addition to their resident cards. See the Bahamas Permanent Mission website for details.

  16. Max

    Can you haved a faxed birth certificate to get in if you are under 16?

  17. Kerri Kaufmann

    Hi Max,

    You’ll need a passport book if you’re flying in, no matter how old you are. If you are on a cruise, please double-check with your cruise line, but minors under 16 should be fine with an original or certified copy (with a raised seal, so not a fax) of their birth certificate. Have a great trip!

  18. Jamie

    I want to travel to the bahamas with my son who is 11 months old, does he need a passport? we would be flying.


  19. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Jamie,

    Yes, he will need a passport.

  20. gerry

    my passport expired a month ago and we are planning to cruise from baltimore, maryland to bahamas. do i need to renew my passport?

  21. gerry

    can i bring my grandchilden in a cruise with me? what is needed from them to cruise from batimore, md to bahamas.

  22. Martin

    I am traveling with my family from Miami to Bimini in May 2013 and staying at the Guy Harvey Hotel.I was born in Miami, have a valid FL driver’s license and original birth certificate and also work for the state which I can provide and photo ID as well. Question is, is the enough or do I still need a passport? Please help me..!

  23. Valerie

    I know this post is old but I thought if ask anyways- if I’m taking a ferry to/ from ft Lauderdale over to the Bahamas do my husband and I need a passport? What about my 4 kids?

  24. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Valerie,

    You would need a passport or a passport card, but your kids under the age of 16 can use birth certificates. Hope this helps!

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