Important Due to Covid-19, processing times for passports are taking longer than normal for both standard and expedited services.

Passport for Cruise to Bahamas

by Cheryl
(Burlington, NC)

Question: We are planning on taking our teenage grandson on a cruise this summer, probably to the Bahamas. Does he need a passport? It could possibly go to Bermuda but would not go to Europe or such. We would need it by June or July.


Answer: U.S. citizens traveling to The Bahamas by sea on private watercraft or most commercial vessels must have a valid passport.

Those traveling by sea on an officially-designated “closed-loop cruise”, meaning that the port of entry is the same port as the port of re-entry upon return to the U.S., may enter using a passport, passport card, or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document. However, it is prudent to obtain a passport before travel in case of an unforeseen emergency that requires a cruise passenger to disembark and return by air.

Please verify with your cruise line if your intended cruise is designated a closed-loop cruise and whether or not you need a passport.

Return to Passports for Cruises.

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UPDATE: Mailing delays are impacting passport processing. The Department of State's processing times begin when applications are received at a passport agency or center and not when you mail them or apply at a local acceptance facility. Standard service may take between 6 and 9 weeks. This timeframe does not include delivery time. Mailing times vary across the country.

Expedited service takes from 3 to 5 weeks exluding mailing times on the front and back end. Mailing delays may be significant so requesting 1-2-day mailing may greatly help.

Regional passport agencies are offering two types of appointments: Life-of-Death Emergency Service and Urgent Travel Service.

Life-or-death emergencies are serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, sibling, and grandparent) that require you to travel outside the United States within 3 business days.

If you need to travel due to a qualified life-or-death emergency, please call the National Passport Information Center for an appointment:

Mondays through Fridays 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. ET, call 1-877-487-2778 (TDD/TTY:1-888-874-7793) Outside of these hours, call 202-647-4000.

For Urgent Travel Service, you need to call 14 days before your scheduled international travel or 28 days if you also need to secure a foreign visa.

If you need to travel urgently for reasons other than a life-or-death emergency, please call the NPIC at 1-877-487-2778 Mondays through Fridays 8 A.M. to 10 P.M. ET.

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