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Do You Need a Passport to Go to the Caribbean?

Passport requirements for travel to the Caribbean have changed! Click here to see the most up-to-date information.

US travel regulations have been changing over the past few years, so you may need a passport to go to the Caribbean even if you were able to travel without one in the past. Here are the details you need to know to  plan your Caribbean adventure, including current requirements and upcoming changes.

Right now, whether or not you need a passport to go to the Caribbean depends in part on which Caribbean country you are traveling to. There are 17 Caribbean countries that are part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI):

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • Montserrat
  • Netherlands Antilles
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Turks and Caicos

Currently, if you are flying to any of these countries, you must have a US passport.  However, if you are traveling by boat, all you need is government-issued photo identification and proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate).

On June 1st, 2009, the final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel initiative will go into effect. After this date, everyone traveling to these 17 countries, whether by air or by sea, will have to have a US passport to reenter the country. The only exceptions are as follows:

  • Children under the age of 16 can use their birth certificates (either an original or a copy).
  • Children aged 18 and under can use their birth certificates if they are on an organized, chaperoned trip with a school, church or sports team.
  • Passengers on closed-loop cruises that begin and end at the same US port can use their birth certificates and photo ID.

If you are traveling to a Caribbean country that is not part of the WHTI, you need to have a passport no matter how old you are and no matter when or how you travel.  The exceptions listed above are only for countries that are part of the WHTI.  To view entry requirements for countries not on this list, check with the US Department of State.

If you need a passport to go to the Caribbean, travel experts recommend applying well in advance, at least 2 months prior to your departure date. If you’d like faster service that comes with a guarantee, a private passport expediting company can help you get your passport more quickly. offers several different pricing options for expedited passports to meet your budget and time constraints.  Look over the options we offer and order an expedited passport to the Caribbean today!

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9 Responses to “Do You Need a Passport to Go to the Caribbean?”

  1. Do You Need a Passport to Go to the Virgin Islands? - Blog

    […] For more details on changing passport regulations in the Caribbean, see “Do I Need a Passport to go to the Caribbean?” […]

  2. Conklin

    I have a passport that expires in January 2010. I wish to travel to Mexico in December. Will I need to renew prior to taking the trip to Mexico in December?

  3. Sandra Gil

    I wish to vacation in St Maarten in August but my passport expires in January 2011. Will my passport be valid or do I need to renew? I guess what I am asking is that some places require a valid passport for 6 months after travel. Does this apply to this vacation?

  4. JJones

    On December 4, 2010, we leave on a 7-day cruise to Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and St.
    Maartens Islands, returning on Dec. 11. My daughter’s passport will
    expire on Jan 8, 2011. Will her passport be valid in for this trip or
    should we get a expedited renewal prior to the cruise?

  5. Alison Kroulek

    She should be fine. Enjoy your cruise!

  6. jay

    ive been searching for a while on info for traveling to other countries. most are about flying or taking a cruise, but what about my own sail boat? i mean i want to sail across the ocean to other countries but dont know if i need any kind of passport. i only plan to stay at each place for maybe a day.
    im planning a world trip to sail the ocean and only really need to stop at other countries for supplies.

  7. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Jay,

    Yes, for the type of trip you’re talking about, you would need a passport. Have fun!

  8. Boris

    I’m going on a closed loop cruise from San Juan on October 31st and returning on November 7th. The itinerary includes St. Lucia, Antiqua and Martinique. My passport will expire on January 29th of next year. Will this be a problem? Should I renew my passport or will it be enough to also bring my naturalization certificate?

  9. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Boris,

    St. Lucia has a six-month-validity rule. I’d go ahead and renew.

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