Many have asked, do I need a passport for a cruise? Today we will answer this question and give you all the information you need to get your passport for a cruise vacation.
The short answer is yes; you do need a passport if you are planning on taking a cruise. The long answer is yes and no; you need a passport if you stop at international ports, and no, you don’t need one if you are cruising in the U.S.
Why Do I Need A Passport For A You Need A Cruise?
You need a passport for a trip abroad because you need one to enter a foreign country on an international cruise. A passport gives officials proof of who you are as well as proof of citizenship. They cannot let you into their country without both of those things. Or, if you are taking an international flight to or from a cruise port, you will also need a passport.
However, if you are boarding in a U.S. port and disembarking in a U.S. port, known as “closed-Loop” cruises, you don’t need a passport. The cruise line requires a passport or an EDL (Enhanced Driver’s License), a government-issued birth certificate issued by the government from the state you were born.
How Can I Tell If My Driver’s License Is An EDL?
Compliant ID licenses have a star on the card at the top. The best way to know for sure if you have an ID-compliant license is to check the department of revenue for your state.
So if a cruise is coming up and it is a “loop cruise,” you can go with only an EDL license or a birth certificate.
The EDL requirement will change on May 3, 2023; anyone 18 or older must have a REAL ID to fly on domestic flights. You cannot pass a TSA security checkpoint without one.
So Onward, How Can You Get a Passport?
There are 2 ways to apply for a passport; however, there are some stipulations which we will cover in a moment.
- You can apply in person at your local post office
- You can apply online at travel.state.gov
The stipulations I spoke of above require you to apply for a passport in person if:
- If you are under 16 years old
- Or this is the first time you will apply for one in the U.S.
- Also, if you had a passport but were less than 16 years old
- If you had a passport that was damaged, lost, or stolen
- Or your last passport was longer than 15 years ago
- And if your name is changed or there is no legal document of a name change
Even though you will need to apply in person, you can prepare all the documents and fill out the application online.
What Documents Will You Need For Your Passport?
So to begin, let’s talk about the documents you will need so you can get all of them ready to go.
- You will need your official birth certificate, which is your state-issued birth certificate or certificate of naturalization, or a consular report of your birth in another country. Whichever document applies to your U.S. citizenship.
- Also, you will need an ID issued by the government, such as a driver’s license, which you will need to make a front and back copy to hand in with your application.
- Next, it is time to get a passport photo. You can get one at Walgreens, UPS store, CVS photos, and numerous other places. Even a photo from your phone is allowed. But a passport photo has strict guidelines. These guidelines are on the government site.
The guidelines for a passport photo are strict and extensive. They will not accept your photo if you do not explicitly follow the rules. It may be easier to have it taken at a designated passport photo place.
- You will need money to pay for the passport. Forms of payment you can use are cash, a credit card, a money order, or a check. On the government site is a calculator to determine how much the fee is. Just answer a few simple questions to find the amount you will need to pay. It can range from $80 to $145, depending on your age and what you need. An expedited passport can cost as much as $227, depending on the calculated fees.
The Next Step – How Do You Get A Passport?
So, you have all the documents you need in hand. Now, go to your computer and type in travel.state.gov. It will take you to the online passport application process. Then click on the second box that says “Get U.S. passport.”
You can download and print the application from this site; however, you will need to wait to sign it if you are required to apply in person. A person at the post office will need to see you physically sign the form.
Next, print the application and fill it out. You now have all you need to apply in person for your passport. Call or go to your local post office to see if they accept passport applications and if you need an appointment. After you apply in person, you are all set to wait for your passport to arrive in the mail.
If you do not have any of the above stipulations, you may apply online at travel.state.gov. Follow the link and click on the appropriate box that applies to you. Then just follow the instructions for a new or renewed passport.
How Long Will It Take You To Get A Passport?
The time it takes to get your passport will begin when the paperwork is at the passport office. In some places, it states the processing time is 4-6 weeks, while other areas say it takes up to 8-11 weeks. In either case, it is a long process.
So, if you are planning an international cruise, please allow up to 11 weeks to receive your passport. But if you need an expedited passport, you are in business. To get one fast, you will still need to allow 2 weeks for processing.
At times you may need an expedited passport. There are 2 situations where the government allows one to apply for a fast passport. If you follow this link, you will see the first 2 boxes and choose from one of these.
The first box is for medical emergencies or family emergencies and life and death situations, while the second is for travel plans within 14 days. These expedited applications require an appointment, but there is no guarantee you will get an appointment. However, there are only 26 appointment centers across the United States.
Do I Need A Passport For A Cruise – Conclusion
So, yes, you will need a passport for most cruise ships. Although you can apply for a passport, it does take time and requires a few documents. Please allow plenty of time so you can make your trip and not have undue stress.