Americans can travel freely within the United States and its territories without a passport.
U.S. residents can visit a few out-of-country destinations with just a valid driver’s license and certified birth certificate, but only if they travel on cruise ships that depart and arrive at the same port. All out-of-country flight travel necessitates the use of a passport.
Territories of the United States of America
There are five inhabited territories in the United States. Citizens of the United States do not need a passport to visit any of the territories as long as they do not travel to other countries simultaneously.
American Samoa is a territory of the United States of America.
American Samoa is a group of seven islands in the South Pacific. It’s a fantastic eco-tourism destination because it’s a stunningly gorgeous island paradise that hasn’t been overdeveloped. There are no five-star resorts or tourist trap activities here. Instead, you’ll find peace and beauty in the form of mountains, lagoons, coral reefs, and other natural wonders. When you visit American Samoa, make sure to visit the National Park.
Guam is a western Pacific island with a tourist center (Tumon) that has everything you’d expect to find in a popular travel destination: lots of shopping, a wide range of cuisine, luxurious and budget-friendly lodgings, attractions, and famous beaches. When you leave Tumon, you’ll be able to appreciate the island’s natural beauty, including its craggy coastline and quiet beaches.
Mariana Islands (Northern Marianas)
The Northern Mariana Islands, located just north and east of Guam, are beautiful destinations in the Philippine Sea. 15 little islands make up the island chain. Saipan, Tinian, and Rota are the most popular tourism islands. Scuba diving a WWII shipwreck, touring historical structures, learning about the local culture, and (of course!) going to the beach are all popular activities. On the islands, there are also casinos.
Puerto Rico is a United States territory.
Even though Puerto Rico is still recuperating from Hurricane Maria as of this writing (July 2018), the island is open for business and visitors. The Islands of Puerto Rico website has information on which resorts are available and when others are expected to reopen. The environment is breathtaking, with everything from beaches to lush jungles and even caves.
Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, United States of America
The Virgin Islands, United States of America
The US Virgin Islands consist of three islands: St. John, St. Croix, and St. Thomas. These charming islands have long been popular tourist destinations for those looking to unwind on a tropical island. Water-based activities and beach visits are available, as well as jungle trekking, horseback riding, golfing, and other activities. There are numerous planned tours available, but you can also explore independently.
Cruises in the Western Hemisphere
Suppose you are a U.S. citizen and take a “closed-loop” cruise (one with the exact departure and arrival ports) to a non-U.S. location with all ports in the western hemisphere. In that case, a driver’s license and certified birth certificate are all you need to re-enter the US. However, you should be aware that some countries you visit on your trip may require you to show your passport. Check with your cruise company or travel agent to ensure you have all the paperwork you’ll need to enjoy your holiday to the fullest.
Popular Cruise Destinations
Like many Caribbean cruise locations, Bermuda is an example of a closed-loop cruise destination where you can travel without a passport. Nassau, Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, and St. Lucia are all popular ports of call on Western Caribbean cruises.
What Should You Do?
When you cruise to these destinations, you’ll spend most of your time at sea, with a few hours in port to explore the area on a land. While you can explore independently, most cruise passengers choose one of the pre-planned excursions. Enjoying the water on various boat rides and viewing local monuments are typical outings at these locations. You can relax on the beach and soak up some rays during your time away from the ship. If you wish to spend a longer time in these locations, you’ll need to get a passport and fly or drive there (where possible).
Even those arriving on a closed-loop cruise will be denied entry to select Caribbean ports if they do not have a passport. Avoid cruises that stop at Barbados, Guadeloupe, Haiti (unless you’re on a Royal Caribbean cruise stopping at the cruise line’s private island in Haiti [Labadee]), Martinique, St. Bart’s, St. Martin, and Trinidad and Tobago if you don’t have a passport. This list may not be complete because travel needs might change at any time. Always double-check regulations with your cruise line or a travel agent.
Please keep in mind that if you become ill in a foreign port of call and don’t have a passport, you may be unable to return to the United States for medical treatment. So, while there are some countries where you can cruise without an essential passport, it is not without risk.
Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDLs) are a type of driver’s license.
If you live in a state where Enhanced Drivers Licenses are available, you can obtain a unique driver’s license that serves as a confirmation of both identification and citizenship. It allows you to travel by land between Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. Instead of a documented birth certificate and a conventional driver’s license, it will also work on a cruise ship that cruises to these areas. This document, however, is not appropriate for plane travel.
Exceptional Circumstances in the Country: Alaska
Highway to Alaska
While citizens of the United States can travel within the country without a passport, land travel to Alaska is a different story. If you’re traveling by land from the United States to Alaska, you’ll have to transit via Canada. As a result, you’ll need a passport or an improved driver’s license to get to your destination. This does not apply to flights to Alaska, as you can fly straight to the state without stopping in Canada.
Americans can travel without a passport.
You may recall being allowed to travel freely to Mexico and Canada without a passport, depending on your age, but those days are long gone. Tickets are required for most foreign travel, with a few exceptions for minors who are US citizens traveling to or from Mexico or Canada by land or sea in certain circumstances. They are necessary for all out-of-country air and land travel and any maritime travel that does not depart the western hemisphere. If you wish to go somewhere exotic, arrange a trip to one of the United States’ territories or a qualified closed-loop cruise.
Starting over with a new identity, anonymous travel, and anonymous living is extremely difficult, make one small mistake in the process and you will fail. When your life and liberty are on the line, trust Amicus Intranational Consulting to deliver a safe, legal, and secure new identity.