Passports and travel documentation for US citizens.

International trips require valid travel documents such as, but not limited to: passport, visa, re-entry permit, health certificate, inoculation record, a ticket for the return journey or continuance of your trip, or ANY combination of those listed.

Cruise lines and travel agents try to keep current on travel document requirements. However, knowing, securing and bringing the required identification is solely the responsibility of the passengers. Cruise lines and other forms of transport will NOT refund your fare if you or a member of your party does not possess the necessary documentation.


US Citizens

When traveling by air, sea, or land, U.S. citizens need to present either a passport, passport card, or WHTI-compliant document.

For your convenience we are providing basic information that was obtained from the Dept of State website and is accurate at the time of writing. However, do not depend on this information as it may change by the time you actually take your cruise. Please confirm you have the correct documents by checking with the Dept of State and your cruise line prior to departure.

Up to the minute information can be found at the US Department of State Website, at your local post office, and your County Clerk's office. You can find the nearest passport application location by filling in the form at


WHTI-compliant document

For cruises to Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean

Before you travel, learn the entry requirements of the foreign country you are traveling to.

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative Passport Requirements
Returning to the U.S. From
Type of Travel
Document Required
Any International Location
Travel by air

  Commercial airplane, private airplane, etc.

U.S. Passport Book
Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the
Caribbean Region
Travel by Land
  Car, bus, train, by foot, etc.
U.S. Passport Book or Card
Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the
Caribbean Region
Travel by sea
Commercial cruise line, private boat, etc
U.S. Passport Book or Card
A U.S. Territory
Travel by Air, Land or Sea
Air, Land or Sea
Valid Photo ID



Passport Card

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.

Validity and Cost

All U.S. citizens may apply for a passport card.

Adults (Age 16 and Older) First-Time Applicant Cost: $55 Previous Passport Holder Cost: $30 Validity: 10 years

Minors (Under Age 16) Cost for All Minors: $40 Validity: 5 years

If you have a U.S. passport book and are eligible to use Form DS-82, you may apply for the card by mail. You can use Form DS-82 to renew your passport book at the same time that your apply for your passport card.

If you have never had a U.S. passport book or are not eligible to use Form DS-82, you must apply in person using Form DS-11.

All passport cards will be returned using First Class Mail. Passport cards cannot be shipped to you using overnight delivery.


To increase speed, efficiency, and security at U.S. land and sea border crossings, the passport card contains a vicinity-read radio frequency identification (RFID) chip. There is no personal information written to the RFID chip. This chip points to a stored record in secure government databases.

With RFID technology, Customs and Border Protection inspectors will be able to access photographs and other biographical information stored in secure government databases as the traveler approaches an inspection station.

The passport card uses state-of-the-art security features to prevent against the possibility of counterfeiting and forgery. A protective RFID-blocking sleeve is provided with each passport card to protect against unauthorized reading or tracking of the card when it is not in use.

International travel requires a passport.



If you qualify for diplomatic, official, or regular no-fee passports, click HERE.

You must apply in person if:

  • You are applying for your first U.S. passport or
  • You are under age 16 or
  • Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16 or
  • Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged or
  • Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago or
  • Your name has changed since your U.S. passport was issued and you are unable to legally document your name change

Minors under age 16 must:

  • Minors under age 16 must apply in person
  • All minors regardless of age, including newborns and infants, must have their own passport when traveling internationally by air
  • Learn if your child requires a U.S. passport to travel by land or by sea.
  • There are special requirements for all minors ages 16 & 17 (see below)

Minors ages 16-17 must:

  • Appear in person at the time of application
  • Have a parent or guardian present photo identification if the minor does not have identification of his or her own
  • Provide a photocopy of the same ID document that will be presented at the time of application (applicant or parent/guardian).  See photocopy requirements under STEP 4 of How to Apply for the First Time (In Person)
  • Establish parental consent (You may be requested to provide written parental consent for a child age 16 or 17 if it is not implied on the application)

NOTE: Many governments have initiated procedures at entry and exit points to protect children from being abducted and removed from their country of origin. If you are traveling with a minor, be prepared to provide documentary evidence of your relationship to the child. If only one parent is traveling with a minor child, or if the minor child is traveling alone, or with a grandparent, other relatives, a legal guardian, or friends, you must obtain a notarized statement from the absent parent(s) stating the child has permission to travel (name their traveling companions even if it is the other parent) and receive emergency medical treatment. If only one parent has legal custody, bring a copy of the sole custody document or death certificate of the absent parent. If your child has a different last name than their parents or adult guardians, carry evidence such as a birth certificate or adoption decree to prove your relationship.


The Process:

1. Fill Out Form DS-11: Application For A U.S. Passport

Please note that you:

Must provide your SSN in accordance with 26 U.S.C. 6039E.  Failure to provide your Social Security Number may result in significant processing delays and/or the denial of your application.

2. Submit Completed Form DS-11 In Person

You must submit Form DS-11 in person at an Acceptance Facility or Passport Agency

NOTE:There are special submission requirements for All Minors Under Age 16

3. Submit Evidence of U.S. Citizenship

4. Present Identification        

  • Previously issued, undamaged U.S. passport
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Valid Driver's License
  • Current Government ID (city, state or federal)
  • Current Military ID (military and dependents)

5. Submit a Photocopy of the Identification Document(s) Presented (Step 4)

  • Bring a photocopy of the front and back of each ID document that you will present when you apply.
  • Photocopy must be on plain white, 8 1/2 x 11" standard paper stock, showing the front and the back of your ID
  • Photocopy must contain images on only one-side of each page submitted.
  • If copies cannot be made on the same side of one page, you may present two separate pages; one displaying the front of the ID and the second displaying the back of the ID.
  • The paper should be free of other images and/or markings.
  • The 8 1/2 x 11" paper size cannot be substituted with a larger or smaller size paper, even if the alternative folds down to the 8 1/2 x 11" size.
  • You may enlarge the image of your ID on the 8 1/2 x 11" page, but you may not decrease the size of the image.

Other situations that require a photocopy of identification, but are less common, include:

If you are presenting Secondary Identification, you must provide a photocopy of the front and back of each document being presented with your application.  A photocopy of your credit card will not be requested if it is to be presented with Secondary Identification.

If you submit out-of-state primary identification, you must provide a photocopy of your primary identification document and the second ID to be presented with your application.  Both sides of all identification documents must be photocopied according to the photocopy requirements above.  If a credit card is presented as your second ID, a photocopy will not be requested.

An assistant to a disable applicant who witnesses the signature or signs on the disabled applicant's behalf must present a photocopy of his or her ID

A person acting as an Identifying Witness must present a photocopy of his or her ID

6. Pay the Applicable Fee

Please see Current Passport Fees and methods of payment.

7. Provide Two Passport Photos

To avoid processing delays, be sure your photographs meet all quality requirements and are properly submitted with your application.

When submitting Form DS-11 in person, your photos should not be attached to the form. 

When submitting Form DS-82 by mail, staple one photo to the application within the space provided using four vertical staples, one in each counter. Enclose the second photo with your application, unattached.

Your Photographs Must Be:

  • Identical
  • In color
  • 2 x 2 inches in size
  • Printed on thin, photo-quality paper
  • Taken within the past 6 months, showing current appearance
  • Full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background
  • Between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head

Taken in normal street attire:

  • Uniforms should not be worn in photographs except religious attire that is worn daily
  • Do not wear a hat or headgear that obscures the hair or hairline
  • If you normally wear prescription glasses, a hearing device, wig or similar articles, they should be worn for your picture
  • Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons (a medical certificate may be required)


Vending machine photos are not generally acceptable

Professional photographers see Guidelines for Producing High Quality Photographs for U.S. Travel Documents


Renew your passport

From Inside the United States:

To renew your U.S. Passport by mail, you must submit Form DS-82, Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail. Locate Form DS-82 and step-by-step instructions at Form DS-82: Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail.

How long will it take to process your passport application? See Application Processing Times.


  • If your most recent U.S. passport has been mutilated, altered or damaged, you cannot apply by mail - you must Apply in Person.
  • We strongly encourage you to mail your passport application and any personal documents using a traceable delivery method.
  • In order to protect the contents of your mailing from the elements throughout the delivery process, we strongly encourage you to mail your passport application and any personal documents using a secure means of packaging, such as a Tyvek envelope.
  • Passports renewed by mail in the United States may only be mailed to United States and Canadian addresses.
  • If you are behind in child support payments, you may not be able to get a passport (See Child Support).

From Outside the United States:

U.S. citizens residing abroad (except those living in Canada) should renew their passports at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.

U.S. citizens residing in Canada may submit Form DS-82: Application for U.S. Passport by Mail to the address listed on the form.  


If you need a passport immediately:

You should make an appointment to be seen at a Regional Passport Agency only if:

  • The U.S. passport is needed in less than 2 weeks for international travel
  • The U.S. passport is needed within 4 weeks to obtain a foreign visa

Contact the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment or locate a Passport Agency.

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User Comments

I owe more than 100,000 in child support, can I get a provisional passport to Mexico?... I could not renew my passport . Thanks.
How about you take care of business first and then go to Mexico.
i owe 6,000 in child support can i travel on sea?
What is a provisional passport? I also owe back child support but I need to travel to Mexico for surgery (surgery I cannot afford in the US).

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