Do you need a passport to go on a cruise? That depends on where you are going. If your boat only stops at US ports, then no passport is necessary. If you are cruising outside of the Western Hemisphere, you definitely need a passport.
However, as of June 1, 2009, if you are cruising from the US to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean, US Citizens are required to present one of the following documents to re-enter the country:
- A US passport book
- A US passport card (Note: Unlike the US passport book, the US passport card is not valid for air travel)
- A NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST card
- An enhanced driver’s license (only available in certain states)
There are a few exceptions for cruises in the Western Hemisphere:
- US citizens on a closed-loop cruise, one that begins and ends at the same US port, can use a driver’s license or government-issued ID card and a birth certificate, certificate of naturalization or certificate of citizenship.
- Children under the age of 16 traveling by land or sea can use their birth certificates, as can children under the age of 19 if they are under adult supervision and are traveling with an organization such as a school group, church group, volunteer organization or sports team.
- If you have a medical, family, personal or business emergency and need to fly back to the U.S. before your cruise ends a passport is required or you could experience significant delays and complications. See Why You Should Consider Getting a Passport for a Closed-Loop Cruise
- If you need to fly to meet your ship at the next available port should you miss your scheduled embarkation in a U.S. port or if you miss a ship’s departure from a port of call.
- Some ports may have their own entry requirements. Talk to your cruise line to confirm the documents you need for your cruise.
Also, here are some additional articles about passport requirements for different cruise destinations:
No matter where you’re cruising to, RushMyPassport can help you get your passport in time. We personally deliver your passport application to the Department of State, resulting in processing times as low as 24 hours.