Do you need a passport to go to Jamaica?
The short answer? Yes. Travel Visa Pro can help you with all your passport needs. Just contact our office and let them know what you need, or you can order our passport service online in here.
Let’s look at the reasons why do you need it.
The US passport is an impressive travel document, allowing its citizens access to over 160 countries without a visa or with a visa on arrival. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not always subject to other countries’ immigration policies and relations between the US and foreign governments, which can change visa policy overnight – recently, there was a “scare” that Americans might need a visa to enter the EU.
There are definitely some countries easier for US citizens to visit than others. For example, it wasn’t too long ago that Americans were not required to have any piece of identification beyond a state driver’s license to enter Mexico or Canada by land or sea. That policy has since changed to require US passport cards (or books), but bordering nations are typically easier to access for friendly neighbors.
On the other hand, there are many places well beyond the continental United States that might surprise Americans they can visit without a passport or visa of any kind. These, of course, are US territories: regions across the world that are still subject to the full authority of the federal government of the United States.
That’s right; you can travel to a remote island in the Pacific Ocean or Caribbean Sea and may never be required to present a US passport. Notable territories include Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. There are many outlying islands as well: Bajo Nuevo Bank, Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Palmyra Atoll, Serranilla Bank, Wake Island. And, of course, Hawaii is a welcome addition as the 50th state.
The Philippines were once a US territory as well, but this changed following the end of World War II. At this time, Americans could fly or take a boat into Manila without a passport and be granted entry… though it was probably unwise to leave the United States without international travel documents in a more tumultuous time period.
Now, of course, Americans may not be required to have a visa to visit the Philippines, but they still need to carry their passports.
What do I need to travel to Jamaica?
Jamaica has never been a US territory. In fact, it was a British colony until its independence in 1962. As a result, it’s just like any other country when it comes to US citizens wanting to visit, subject to international relations, reciprocity of visa fees, and immigration officials’ moods.
Fortunately, the United States and the island nation are on good terms when it comes to travel, and US citizens are free to visit Jamaica for up to 90 days without a visa provided they have a valid passport with six months’ validity and at least one blank page… if they’re traveling by air.
There is one exception to this rule that applies when Americans are planning to visit Jamaica as part of a stop on a Caribbean cruise. In that event, and because no visa is required for stays up to 90 days, US citizens may enter Jamaica provided they have another document in accordance with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative:
1. US Military identification card (if traveling on orders)
2. Trusted Traveler Program Card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST)
3. US Merchant Mariner documents (when traveling for official maritime business)
While a US passport technically isn’t required for travel to Jamaica by sea, it is still necessary for departure by air (possible medical evacuation or otherwise). As a result, travelers from the United State should consider applying for a passport book if they plan to visit Jamaica.
New passports and passport renewals
If you do need a new US passport for your first international trip or a renewal application to make sure your old book won’t expire while you’re cruising the Carribean, be sure to stop by any one of Travel Visa Pro’s nine offices. We will process your application quickly and efficiently, ensuring you make it to Jamaica on time and with the proper travel documents.