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Should I get a passport card for my children instead of a passport book when traveling on a cruise to Bahamas?

by Alicia
(Hagerstown, Maryland, United States)

Question: We are traveling with a 4 and 2-year-old on a Disney cruise. We fly from Maryland to Florida where we board our ship and sail to the Bahamas. Four days later, we sail from the Bahamas back to Florida and then fly from Florida to Maryland.

The information on the Disney website states we need to obtain passports for our children. I saw the information about the passport card instead of a passport book and was wondering if that would work as identification for our children or if we need to get them actual passports.

Answer: Passports are not required for re-entry to the United States when traveling on a closed-loop cruise. Children age 15 and under arriving by land or sea from a contiguous territory may present an original or certified copy of his or her birth certificate. You may want to call Disney and verify the passport requirement.

The U.S. Passport Card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry and is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book. The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air.

The requirements are the same for the passport card as those for the passport book. It also takes the same amount of time to process.

If you think that your children might need a passport book in the near future, then you might want to apply for this. If not, then the passport card should suffice for your trip to the Bahamas.

Due to an increased demand for passport cards and the time of year, the State Department encourages travelers to apply well in advance of their scheduled trip.

Routine service takes 4-6 weeks to process an application. Expedited service takes 2-3 weeks.

If you need to obtain the passport cards for your children in less than two weeks, you will have to visit the regional agency or request the services of a professional passport expediter.

For more information, click the links below.

How to Get a Child's Passport

Maryland Passport Offices

Washington DC Passport Agency

Get Passport Fast

Return to Passport Card FAQ.

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