Most people are aware that you need a passport to go to Europe, Africa and Asia. But what if you’re staying closer to home?
A decade ago, getting into Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean was as easy as saying “I’m an American citizen,” but not anymore. After 9-11, The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was enacted making it much harder to get in and out of the US without a passport.
Don’t get caught off-guard if you’re heading to one of these destinations:
Visiting Canada? Check your passport, eh? You definitely need one if you’re flying in or out of the country, unless you have a NEXUS trusted traveler card and you are flying to a Canadian preclearance airport with a NEXUS kiosk.
If you’re traveling by land or sea, you need one of the following to re-enter the US: a passport, a passport card, an enhanced driver’s license (currently only 4 states offer these), or a NEXUS, FAST or SENTRI trusted traveler card.
If you’re flying to or from Mexico, you need a valid passport.
If you’re traveling by land or sea, Mexico requires all US citizens to have a passport if they’re traveling beyond the “border zone,” about 12 miles in. However, the US government requirements for re-entering the US are the same as for Canada above, regardless of whether you stay within the “border zone” or not.
To visit Aruba, you need a passport if you’re flying and a passport or a passport card if you’re traveling by sea.
To hang out in this island paradise, you need a passport and a ticket back out of the country.
Bermuda requires all US citizens to present a passport to get into the country.
If you’re traveling by air, you need a passport book.
If you’re traveling by sea, you can use a passport, passport card, enhanced driver’s license, NEXUS, FAST or SENTRI card.
The British Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands are part of the United States, but should you want to visit their British siblings, you’ll need a valid passport book if you’re traveling by air.
If you’re traveling by sea, you’ll need a passport, a passport card, an enhanced driver’s license or a NEXUS, FAST or SENTRI card.
The Cayman Islands
As of January 23, 2007, you must have a valid passport book to enter the Caymans.
Trinidad and Tobago
Unlike many Caribbean countries, a US passport book is the only accepted form of ID to enter this island nation, no matter how you’re traveling. (more…)