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Passport Information
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http://travel.state.gov

Passport Requirements

A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer.  A valid passport is required to enter and exit most foreign countries including the United States. Some countries require that a traveler’s U.S. passport be valid at least six months or longer beyond the dates of the trip. 

Some countries may allow you to enter with only a birth certificate, or with a birth certificate and a driver’s license. If you are traveling by land or sea, make certain that you can return to the United States with the proof of citizenship that you take with you.

For more information about U.S. passport requirements visit: http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html

Requirements at a glance:

Returning to the U.S. From Type of Travel Document Required
Any International Location Airplane icon Air
Commercial airplane, private airplane, etc.
U.S. Passport Book
Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean Region Car icon Land
Car, bus, train, by foot, etc.
U.S. Passport Book or Card
Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean Region Cruise Ship Icon Sea
Commercial cruise line, private boat, etc
U.S. Passport Book or Card
A U.S. Territory Plane, Car, Ship icon Air, Land or Sea Valid Photo ID

U.S. Citizens:

  • U.S. citizens will require a passport to exit and reenter the United States and to enter and exit most foreign countries. Currently, exceptions include travel by cruise ships departing a U.S. port and sailing to Mexico, and some countries in the Caribbean, where a U.S. birth certificate and photo ID may be accepted.   Please note, not all Caribbean countries allow this exception.

Resident Aliens:

  • Resident Aliens who are permanent residents of the U.S. must have their passport and Alien Registration card (Form-1551.) In some instances resident aliens may be required to have sailing permits and or visas to enter some countries.

Foreign Passengers:

  • Foreign passengers must be in possession of a valid passport and multiple entry Visa for the United States (B-2 Visitors Visa.)

Health Requirements:

Regulations with regard to vaccination certificates and other health requirements for the various embarkation ports and countries may vary by destination and change from time to time. It is the sole responsibility of the passenger to obtain the necessary and appropriate documents as well as to have them available.

Visas and Entry/Re-entry Permits:

Some countries require additional documents such as Entry/Re-entry permits or Visas. 

**Information on entry requirements per country is available at http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html or by contacting the appropriate consulate, embassy, or government agency being visited.

Please Note!

With the number of international child custody cases on the rise, several countries have instituted passport requirements to help prevent child abductions. For example, Mexico has a law that requires a child traveling alone, or with only one parent, or in someone else's custody, to carry written, notarized consent from the absent parent or parents. No authorization is needed, if the child travels alone and is in possession of a U.S. passport. A child traveling alone with a birth certificate requires written, notarized authorization from both parents.

How to Apply for a U.S. Passport

Apply for your passport several months before your planned trip, and, if you will need Visas from foreign embassies, allow even more time.  Even if you don’t have specific travel plans, but have family living abroad or are waiting to find a bargain trip, it is a good idea to apply as early as possible. Information about applying for a U.S. passport may be found at http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html.  

Reprinted with permissions granted at http://www.travel.state.gov/about/about_4955.html

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