Air travel to Jamaica requires a valid US passport for everyone, of all ages. For adults, land or sea travel requires a passport, passport card or a membership card from one of the following trusted traveler programs: NEXUS, FAST or SENTRI. Children under the age of 16 may travel with a copy of their birth certificate only if they are traveling by land or sea. Children under the age of 19 may use a birth certificate for land or sea travel as long as they are traveling with an organized school, church, sports or volunteer group with adult supervision.

With US travel regulations changing so frequently over the past few years, you may be wondering whether or not a passport is required to go to Jamaica. The answer depends on a few different factors.

First, are you sailing to Jamaica or are you flying in? All American citizens, even children, must have a US passport to re-enter the US if they are traveling to Jamaica by plane.

Next, when are you traveling? Currently, US citizens who sail to and from Jamaica can re-enter the country using proof of citizenship (a birth certificate or naturalization certificate) and government-issued photo ID (like a driver’s license or state ID card).  This only applies to tourists-if you are entering Jamaica on a business trip, you must have a US passport regardless of your method of travel.

However, on June 1st, 2009, the rules will change. June 1st is when the final stage of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative becomes effective. After that date, all travelers to and from Jamaica will need to have US passports to re-enter the United States. There are a few exceptions to this requirement, including:

  • Passengers on closed-loop cruises that begin and end at the same port in the United States can continue to use photo IDs and birth certificates.
  • Children under the age of 16 can use their birth certificates.
  • Children aged 18 and under can use their birth certificates if they are traveling in an organized, chaperoned school group, church group or sports team.

If you need to get a passport for a trip to Jamaica, experts recommend that you apply a few months in advance to make sure you have your passport in time.  If you are leaving within the next month or two and need a passport, submitting your passport application through a private passport expediting service will ensure you have your passport in plenty of time for your trip.

Expediting companies work with the US Passport Agency, hand-delivering your application to them for faster processing. Expediting companies also offer personal service and instructions to make the expediting process easier.

With an expediting company, you can have your passport application processed in as little as 24 hours, or choose a more affordable option and wait just a few days more.  Visit RushMyPassport.com and see how easy it is to get an expedited passport for your trip to Jamaica!