Can you Travel Without a Passport?

Published by Travel Visa Pro on Sun Mar 15 2020

Real ID laws are starting to take effect, with residents of certain states being required to update their local state IDs to be compliant for air travel. The alternative, of course, is to simply use a ID issued by the federal government, like a passport book or card, to fly.

With the aforementioned exception (and only for air travel), US citizens are legally able to travel anywhere in the United States without carrying their passports, including “overseas” flights to Hawaii and Alaska. Long-distance domestic travel on trains and buses may require a state-issued photo ID, but never a passport. That having been said, where else in the world can you travel without a passport, as a US citizen?


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The Caribbean


The United States maintains close diplomatic ties to many island nations in the Caribbean due to their proximity and resources. However, though residents of Miami might find the flight time to Cuba shorter than that to New York, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be easier. Not all countries in this region require visas for US citizens, but when it comes to flying, you will need a passport book to gain entry.

Are there any circumstances under which a US citizen can travel to these Caribbean nations without a passport? Take a cruise! Passengers on cruises departing from and returning to the United States (usually from Florida) are not always required to carry their passports, provided their ship is on a closed-loop path. In this situation alone, you can gain entry to a foreign country with just a photo ID and proof of accommodation on the ship.


US Territories


The US still has control over several islands from its days of trying to resemble the British Empire. Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam are all administered by the United States. Legally, US citizens can fly all the way across the Pacific Ocean – most likely making 1-2 stopovers – to reach Guam, and be granted entry with just a Real ID compliant photo ID. While some travelers may not have any qualms doing this, it’s always a good idea to carry a passport book for such a long trip “overseas”; you may want to continue on to Asia, or be forced to land in another country due to inclement weather.


Should you travel without a passport, even if you can?


Let’s not forget that with the exception of US territories and ports along closed-loop cruises, most of the world requires a valid passport book with 1-2 blank pages from US citizens for entry. Even when you can legally enter a Caribbean island nation with a state ID, your passport is the most powerful and internationally recognized form of identification you can hold, granting you entry to US consulates and embassies, and making it easier to be repatriated if there are any problems.

In addition, some countries require proof of ID as part of local laws, meaning you should carry an international ID like a passport book or card with you at all times. Natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes may require an emergency evacuation, made easier with a passport book. Most recently, US citizens were given the option to evacuate areas of China following the Coronavirus outbreak.


Travel Visa Pro provides passports for all


So, do you think you need a passport for your trip after all? Even if you don’t need one when you start, what if you decide to extend your trip by adding a stop in a country or two? Having a valid passport book prior to any overseas travel can help you focus on your holiday rather than dealing with paperwork at a local embassy or consulate.

At Travel Visa Pro, we want to prepare our clients for everything they encounter, from last-minute changes to their itinerary to unexpected weather. Our travel experts work to lighten the load so you can enjoy the perks and pleasures of international travel. Whether you need a passport book for the first time or a renewal a few days before your trip to Europe, trust in Travel Visa Pro. We’ve been in business for over a decade and continue to provide outstanding service for all our clients.

Do you think you would want to travel without a passport?