Who Needs a Passport?
Most American citizens or non-citizen nationals with plans to travel abroad
need a passport. There are a few exceptions for special groups such as minors under age 16 traveling to Canada by land or sea.
U.S. citizens are not required to present passports to travel from one state to another, to U.S. territories
, within the border zone of Mexico or on closed-loop cruises
. However, if you are an American citizen, you will need this travel document
now more than ever. A passport was always needed in order to fly to
Europe or Asia or beyond. Now you also need a passport to fly to
Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
It used to be that to travel to and return from Canada
or most of the Islands of the Caribbean, all you needed were your birth
certificate and proof of identity such as a valid driver's license.
September 11, 2001 changed all that.
To re-enter the United States from Canada and Mexico by land or by sea
(that is driving or cruising) you currently need a passport book, a
passport card, enhanced driver's license
or other document compliant with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
. This includes the FAST
card programs. If you think you qualify for one of them, you should
check the regulations and submit the application to the
On July of 2008, the U.S. government began issuing U.S. Passport Cards
. These wallet-size cards are convenient and less expensive, but they cannot be used for international AIR travel.
Children, including infants, must have their own valid passports
in order to travel abroad. Expired passports cannot be used for travel
Depending on the country or countries you plan to visit, you
may be required to have 3 to 6 months of validity remaining in your
passport. This is especially true if the country requires an entry visa
. Not all countries require additional validity in a passport buy many do. Please verify entry requirements
early so that you can get the necessary documents in time for your trip.
It is essential that you have the correct documents before you arrive
at the airport. The airline you're traveling with or your travel agent
should be able to assit you. If you plan to travel beyond the borders
of the United States, the best thing you can do in order to avoid
problems is to get a passport
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