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Passports for Closed Loop Cruise

by ML
(Eden Prairie, MN )

Question: If we are leaving Miami on a cruise to Belize and Honduras then returning back to Miami, do we need a passport?

Answer: A cruise that originates and terminates in the same U.S. city is referred to as a closed-loop cruise.

Questions concerning the need to obtain a passport for such a cruise are answered as follows.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection states,

"U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end at the same U.S. port) will be able to enter or depart the country with a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID. Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the countries your cruise ship is visiting. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents."

Therefore, it is not necessary for U.S. citizens who take a closed-loop cruise to present a passport upon their return. The question remains as to whether cruise passengers need a passport to travel to Belize or Honduras.

An article in the Houston Chronicle states,

"According to law in Belize and Honduras, all Americans must have a passport to enter either country. The State Department's Consular Information Sheets for Belize and Honduras also specify that a passport is required. But Belize and Honduras are currently waiving the requirement for cruise passengers unless those passengers start or end their voyage there.

While a passport is neither required to visit these two destinations nor to enter the U.S., it is highly recommended by both the U.S. Department of State and Carnival Cruise lines.

From Carnival's Web Site:

"Carnival Cruise Lines strongly recommends all of our guests travel with a valid passport. However, as of June 1, 2009, U.S. citizens embarking on a cruise that both originates and terminates at the same U.S. port are not required to have a passport, but will need proof of citizenship such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization, a passport card, an enhanced driver's license (EDL) as well as Carnival Cruise Lines strongly recommends all of our guests travel with a valid passport."

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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