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Do You Need a Passport to Go to Jamaica?

Jamaica is a popular destination for American tourists. The blue skies, white sandy beaches, excellent coffee and laid-back reputation make it an excellent place to go if you need to decompress. However, if you are planning a trip to Jamaica, there are some new passport requirements you need to be aware of.

On June 01, 2009, the final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) went into effect. Here’s what that means to you:

  • If you are flying to Jamaica, you must have a valid passport book to travel.
  • If you are traveling by boat, you need either a US passport book, a US passport card, a NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST card, or an enhanced driver’s license.

To make things even more complicated, there are a few exceptions to the above requirements:

  • Children under the age of 16 can use their birth certificates instead of a passport if they are traveling by sea. If they are traveling by plane, they still need a passport book.
  • Children under the age of 19 can also use a birth certificate if they are traveling by sea with a school group, religious group, social or cultural organization, or sports team. The group must be accompanied by an adult chaperon. Again, if the group is traveling by plane, everyone needs a passport book.
  • US citizens on a closed-loop cruise, one that begins and ends at the same US port, can bring a copy of their birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID.

If you are traveling to Jamaica, don’t forget to make sure that you have your passport and that it hasn’t expired.  If you need to get a passport in a hurry, a passport expediting service like RushMyPassport can offer a speedy alternative.

When you apply through, we’ll help you fill out the application and then personally deliver your application to the Department of State. This puts your application at the top of the stack, for processing times as quick as 24 hours.

Apply for your passport with us today!

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29 Responses to “Do You Need a Passport to Go to Jamaica?”

  1. Do You Need a Passport to Go to Jamaica? - Blog

    […] US passport regulations for travel to Jamaica have changed! Please see this updated entry for the most current […]

  2. Jesie

    I am planning on taking a 6 day cruise to Jamaica….leaving Port Canaveral in Orlando FL and returning to the same port. I don’t have a passport, and I am wondering if I need one? I have my FL Dirvers Licence and my Birth Certificate. I hear a lot that the laws are changing, so I just wanted to know about this one.

  3. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Jesie,

    You should be all right, but please verify that with your cruise line. Thanks, and have a great trip!

  4. ayesha

    Hey I’m going to a resort called ocho rivas can I just get a passport card from the dmv?

  5. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Ayesha,

    First of all, you can’t get a passport card from the DMV, you have to apply at a post office that accepts passport applications. Second of all, whether or not you can use one depends on whether you are sailing or flying. It sounds like you might be flying, and if so, you’ll need a passport book (not the card). See Passports vs. Passport Cards for Details. Have a great trip!

  6. stephanie

    My boyfriend is a felon with a drug charge, he isnt in trouble anymore or on probation. can he still get a passpot to go to jamaica??

  7. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Stephanie,

    In all likelihood, yes. But do check with the Jamaican Embassy and make sure his record won’t lead to him being denied entry.

    Good luck, and have a great trip!

  8. Nick Reynolds

    I will be going to Dec.I yet to get my passport. But I get it in late June-eary July.

  9. Alison Kroulek

    Good luck, Nick!

  10. Nan

    My daughter has been trying to get a passport for a college graduation trip to Jamaica for the last two months. The first hurdle was she was in NC, and she was born in L.A., and the birth certificate I had did not have the raised seal, and it was in N. Cal. So she ordered a new birth certificate through vital something, and they sent an email saying it was mailed via USPS, but more than a month passes, and it had not arrived. So we tried the back up plan, which was me sending the other forms a proof to her in N. Cal, including the birth certificate I had, her baptismal certificate, some records of post natal care, and a notarized statement from me saying how I know she was born in the US. She takes that to the NC post office,, pays hundreds of dollars to overnight it both ways and have it rushed. She graduated last weekend, moved back to N. Cal, and yesterday got a letter here saying they need a birth certificate with a raised seal, and mom and dads name.

    We are scheduled to leave in 10 days. What can we do?

  11. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Nan,

    You need to get the birth certificate…contact Vitalchek and see if they can rush it to you. Then, when you have it, either contact us or call the National Passport Center (1-877-487-2778) to get an appointment at the nearest Regional Passport Office. Good luck!

  12. Karen

    We are heading to Jamacia on June 19. My daughter is getting her passport Tuesday–expedited in person in Chicago. I read on line today tthat passports must be 6 months old? We are staying At a sandals in Ochoa rios where my son is getting married. We have worked with a wedding planner who mentioned nothing of this requirement. What should we do?

  13. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Karen,

    You should relax…passports have to have at least six months left before expiration to travel to some countries. There’s no requirement that they be more than six months old, though. Congratulations on your son’s marriage!

  14. Karen

    Thank you for your response and well wishes. You have put my mind at ease

  15. Fred

    I am getting married in Jamaica in August 11th 2012 and I apply for my passport but they say I hope money to the IRS but before I apply the IRS say I did not owe any money so how come the passport office say I owe money . I really want to married my love of my life. I plan to return to the USA am not planning to stay there I just want to get married and return back so I can get back to work.

  16. Alison Kroulek

    Congratulations on your marriage, Fred! Sounds like the passport office and the IRS are having some sort of communication difficulty. Call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 and ask them what documents you need or what you need to do to lift the hold. Good luck!

  17. Toni

    I am traveling to Jamaica at the end of Sep. 2012 by cruise, at first I was told I did not need a passport but now I am being told I do. I am confused. Do I need to have a passport?

  18. nyron

    oh crap, after reading all of these comments i guess i’m out of luck my passport expires from last year,and i bought ticket yesterday to travel to jamaica on wednesday, i guess they are going to deniy me at the airport wednesday morning

  19. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Nyron,

    Yes, you will need a valid passport to fly to Jamaica. We may be able to help – call us at (877) 503-9838 or chat with one of our live operators to see if we can assist you. Or, depending on where you live, you may be able to make an appointment at the nearest passport agency office and get it renewed in time.

  20. Mike

    I’m getting married in Jamaica in June of 2013 and my fiance’s brother has 2 year old triplets and we were wondering how to go about getting passports to Jamaica.Do they need passports or just birth certificates?

  21. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Mike,

    Congratulations! If you’re flying to Jamaica, the triplets definitely need passports. See How to Get a Child Passport for the details. If you’re traveling by sea, adults will need a passport or a passport card but kids under 16 can travel with just birth certificates. Hope this helps!

  22. Michelle Williams

    Hello, My husband and I are going to Jamaica in April of 2013, and he owes the IRS for last years taxes, we have not applied for our passport yet but we are paying on the trip, will he be denied a passport?

  23. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Michelle,

    Generally, you can still get a passport as long as the IRS isn’t garnishing your wages, issued a subpoena or started any sort of criminal or court proceedings against you. You can call the IRS and verify your eligibility.

    Here’s more info:

    Hope this helps!

  24. Clarissa

    Do we need to have a passport card to enter into Jamaica via cruise. We leave on Dec 15?

  25. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Clarissa,

    You should be fine with just your driver’s license and birth certificate, but please confirm this with your cruise line. Have a great trip!

  26. kim

    we want to honeymoon in jamaica, turks and caicos, or bora bora. I was told if you owe over 2500.00 in back child support that you can’t get a passport to go anywhere. Do we need a passport to travel to any of these destinations or will a photo id and birth certificate work?

  27. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Kim,

    That’s correct, and you’ll need a passport to go to any of these places unless you are going as part of a closed-loop cruise.

  28. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Kim you will need a passport to go to any of these locations.

  29. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Kim, You will need a passport to travel all of these locations.

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