• Credit cards
  • View all credit cards
  • Banking guide
  • Loans guide
  • Insurance guide
  • Personal finance
  • View all personal finance
  • Small business
  • Small business guide
  • View all taxes

You’re our first priority. Every time.

We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free.

So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Here is a list of our partners .

Do You Need a Passport to Book an International Flight?

Anya Kartashova

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Imagine for a moment that it’s morning and you're about to wake up: Your alarm rings and you grab your smartphone from the bedside table. You’re still disoriented, but you decide to check your emails and something you see on the screen jolts you wide awake.

It’s a cheap flight alert to Japan from a subscription service you’d signed up for ages ago.

The deal looks too good to pass up, but there’s one problem: You don’t have a passport. So you wonder, “Can I book an international flight without a passport?”

Whether someone has never held a passport or they're still waiting on a passport renewal , not everyone has a passport on them at all times.

So, can you book an international flight without a passport? Let’s take a closer look.

Do you need a passport to book an international flight?

Thankfully for daydreaming travelers, the answer is no.

In most cases, U.S. citizens don’t need a passport to book an international flight. However, you do need one to check in for your flight and get on a plane, and the document has to be valid. For instance, European countries that are in the Schengen area require at least six months of passport validity. Otherwise, you won’t be able to board a plane to countries in the region.

Other countries have different rules. For example, Mexico only requires your passport to be valid at the time of travel, so make sure to check the U.S. Department of State website for your destination's requirements before traveling abroad.

Domestic trips within the United States don’t require a passport as long as you have a state ID or are enrolled in Clear.

» Learn more: TSA PreCheck vs. Clear: What to know

How much does a U.S. passport cost?

The cost of a U.S. passport depends on whether you’re applying for the first time or renewing an expired passport.

First-time adult applicants will pay the following to get a new U.S. passport:

Passport book: $130.

Passport card: $30.

Passport book and card: $160.

Execution (acceptance) fee: $35.

The execution/acceptance fee must be paid for first-time applications, so all in: First-time passport book applicants can expect to pay around $165 total.

Applicants requesting to renew their passport will pay less because the acceptance fee doesn’t apply, so they'll just pay the passport book or passport card cost listed above.

If you need a fast turnaround, expedited service costs an additional $60, and two-day delivery is listed for another $19.53.

Video preview image

» Learn more: Key differences between passport book vs. card

How to apply for a U.S. passport

If you’re applying for a passport as a first-time applicant, follow the steps for an in-person application at a passport acceptance facility.

Fill out a form (new passport, renewal, data corrections, name changes).

Provide evidence of U.S. citizenship (with a photocopy).

Present ID (with a photocopy).

Provide a photo.

Calculate fees and provide a check or a money order payable to the U.S. Department of State (debit or credit cards aren’t accepted).

Submit all the documents to a passport acceptance facility.

Track your application status online.

Note that the acceptance fee will be charged separately. To locate a passport acceptance facility in your area, enter your ZIP code on this page .

In most cases, it’ll be a public library, a post office or a local government office.

Some states have passport agencies that can process your passport application within 14 days of international travel or within 28 days if you need to apply for a visa, but they’re open by appointment only.

» Learn more: Need a passport for a trip? Give yourself a big time cushion

How to renew a U.S. passport

Renewing a U.S. passport requires sending an application by mail. In fact, it’s not possible to renew a U.S. passport at a passport acceptance facility unless you don’t qualify for a mail-in renewal.

To be eligible for a renewal by mail, the following must be true:

You can submit your old passport with your application.

The passport isn’t damaged.

It’s never been reported lost or stolen.

It was issued in the last 15 years.

It was issued when you were 16 or older.

It was issued in your current name (unless you have a marriage certificate or a divorce decree to support a name change).

It wasn’t limited to fewer than 10 years because of multiple issues with passport theft, loss or damage.

Note that once you renew your passport, you’ll get a new passport number, so if you saved your passport number in a frequent flyer account, you’ll have to update the number and the expiration date before you can check in for an international flight.

The U.S. Department of State also has tested online renewals, but the service has been put on hold for now.

How long will you wait for a U.S. passport?

The U.S. Department of State's current processing timelines are as follows:

Routine processing: Six to eight weeks.

Expedited processing: Two to three weeks.

It’s worth noting that mailing times aren’t included in these estimates, so you’ll have to account for that as well.

In short, you will need plenty of lead time to receive it before the travel date.

The bottom line

You don’t need a passport number to book an international flight. However, make sure to leave enough time for a passport renewal or a new application because it can take a while to process.

If you think you’re going to travel internationally, we recommend applying as soon as possible to have a passport ready. You don’t want to miss out on a great flight deal to Japan — or anywhere else — simply because you don’t have the required documents for international travel.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024 , including those best for:

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

1x-5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

1.5%-6.5% Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

$300 Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

2x-5x Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

75,000 Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

only passport to travel

  • How to Tie a Tie
  • Best Coffee Beans
  • How to Shape a Beard
  • Best Sweaters for Men
  • Most Expensive Cognac
  • Monos vs Away Luggage
  • Best Luxury Hotel Chains
  • Fastest Cars in the World
  • Ernest Hemingway Books
  • What Does CBD Feel Like?
  • Canada Goose Alternatives
  • Fastest Motorcycles in the World

Do you need a passport to travel in the U.S. in 2024?

Find out what kind of id you need to travel domestically.

Mike Richard

Travel is tricky enough, but to add to the already confusing world of air travel, the U.S. government has been teasing us with updated identification requirements for what seems like forever. After years of changed dates, extended deadlines, and general defiance at the state level, there’s still a lot of confusion around the REAL ID Act, particularly when it comes to modern air travel . So, do you need a passport to travel within the U.S. once this goes into effect?

The REAL ID Act basics

Do i need a passport to fly domestically, what kind of id do you need to travel domestically within the u.s., do you need a real id to fly in the u.s., what do you need to travel within the u.s., where can i fly without a passport.

Direct answer:  You will not need a passport to travel within the US in 2024 or 2025, when the REAL ID Act goes into effect, though you can use one. Most people will use a REAL ID compliant driver’s license. These are already being issued and can be identified by the star in the upper right hand corner of the ID.

Read on to see more about what this means and how do you prepare if your ID isn’t already compliant? We’ll clear a few things up regarding this issue and explain the use of your passport when traveling domestically.

For starters, the REAL ID Act was slated to become law back on Oct. 1, 2020. However, the unprecedented circumstances of the last few years — traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic in particular — pushed the execution date. Now that date has been changed yet again . According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), all U.S. travelers must meet the REAL ID requirements to board domestic flights by May 7, 2025 (it was last slated for May 3, 2024, with October 1, 2021, and then to May 3, 2024, as the dates before then). While you may not need a passport to travel, you will need a REAL ID.

Every state will require a REAL ID

If you thought maybe your state wouldn’t comply with the act, we’re sorry to say that every territory and state will require a REAL ID. Some states have already started issuing them, so you may have one.

  • The best luxury cruise lines for an extraordinary experience
  • Do you need a passport to go to Canada?
  • Why you need to take a cold shower after a flight

The REAL ID won’t get you everywhere

For trips to Mexico (by land) and Canada, and other international travel , you will still need a passport to enter. The REAL ID isn’t a substitute for your passport.

The REAL ID isn’t a passport

When you get your new ID, it doesn’t replace a passport. This can’t be used to fly outside of the U.S., but it could be used as a second form of ID. It’s also not a visa, it’s just your ID taken up a notch.

According to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), all adult passengers (18 and above) must show valid identification at the airport to travel. The identification must show your picture, name, and state of residence. It doesn’t necessarily need to be your passport, which means you can fly domestically in the U.S. in 2024 without a valid passport for travel.

If you don’t have a passport, there are other acceptable forms of identification, including:

  • U.S. passport card
  • State-issued driver’s license
  • DHS trusted traveler card
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
  • Border crossing card
  • Permanent resident card
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) ID
  • Tribal-issued photo ID

Believe it or not, even if you don’t have any form of ID because, say, you forgot it at home, it’s lost, or you’re a “sovereign citizen,” you’re still able to fly within the U.S. You’ll need to complete an identity verification process as required by the TSA.

Don’t plan on breezing through airport security , though, because you’ll be subject to additional (i.e., lengthier, more intensive) screening. Children under the age of 18 are not expected to provide identification when traveling domestically.

For domestic US travel in 2024 , an in-date driver’s license or other DMV-issued photo identity card with work. For other methods of identification, check the TSA’s acceptable identification guidelines .

Starting on May 7, 2025 , you will need a new REAL ID if you plan to use an ID to board. Fortunately, you are likely to already have one. As, according to the DHS, “All 50 states are now in full compliance issuing these cards, with most states becoming compliant in the last four years.” Again, a REAL ID has a star in the upper right hand corner. If you happened to renew your last ID before your state was compliant, you’re now able to receive a REAL ID-compliant version at your next visit. In the absence of a REAL ID, you will be able to use a valid passport, a U.S. military ID, or a federal government PIV card for domestic travel.

Without a passport, REAL ID-compliant card, or any other accepted forms of identification, you won’t be allowed through TSA checkpoints, meaning you won’t be able to fly within the U.S.

  • If the new date sticks, when it gets here, then yes, you will.
  • You’ll also need it if you want to enter federal facilities.

Beginning May 7, 2025, if they don’t have a passport, all U.S. travelers will need a REAL ID to fly for domestic travel. The ID will be required to access any federal facility, so, for example, you won’t be able to visit some national monuments, federal buildings, or loved ones at military installations without one.

This law will apply to all 50 states and territories, including Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Without the ID, you could still use your passport to fly locally. But that could still be a potential challenge for the almost 60% of U.S. citizens who don’t have a passport.

You get your REAL ID through your local Department of Motor Vehicles office, AAA, or regional state offices. It’s possible to complete the necessary documentation online before visiting the office, too, so be sure to check the minimum requirements before applying.

When traveling as a resident, you’ll need a valid passport, driver’s license, state ID, or military ID. Before traveling, be sure to check your identification to ensure it is valid and current. Also, take time to learn about the laws of the state you’re flying to — that helps avoid delays and frustrations.

U.S. citizens can also use state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses (EDLs) to fly locally. Know that EDLs are only available in select states, including New York, Washington, Minnesota, Vermont, and Michigan. They’re typically given to residents in states close to U.S. borders to comply with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative .

If you’re a foreign national traveling within the U.S., you’ll need your passport, so be sure to keep your passport safe while traveling. Flying within the U.S. without a passport as a foreign national could be quite stressful.

On the other hand, green-carded residents must have their regular photo ID and green card to fly within the U.S. The card also functions as a driver’s license or other ID, and you’re not required to have a passport for domestic travel.

  • The sky is the limit — within the U.S.

As of 2024, there are no states that require passports from U.S. citizens to fly domestically. Your airline or the TSA should never ask you to present a valid passport. Of course, you could carry it with you for additional photo identification in case you lose your other forms of ID.

Bottom line: You can fly to all 50 states and surrounding territories without a passport. Just make sure to carry either your driver’s license or a state-issued ID. To avoid frustrations in the future, ensure your driver’s license and other ID are REAL-ID compliant before May 2025. You’ll need a passport to travel internationally , so it’s vital not to leave it at home if your travel plans are likely to include leaving the U.S.

If you have a trip planned for the next few years, it will be business as usual, where you won’t have to worry about having a passport or REAL ID, anyway. But after that, you will need a REAL ID, and if you don’t have one, you’ll need a valid passport. Either get ready to get your passport — which is good for 10 years — or your REAL ID before 2025, not forgetting about how long it could take to get that passport. Things will probably be a bit rough, and we’ll have some growing pains while everyone adjusts to the new REAL ID rules, so it might be better if you have a passport to be safe.

Editors' Recommendations

  • Why travel experts think you should expect airline tickets to get more expensive
  • United Global Services: Everything you need to know about the airline’s invite-only status tier
  • Passport card vs book: Which should you get?
  • Do you need a passport to go on a cruise? It’s complicated
  • The 10 best road trip apps to make your next journey more epic
  • Advice and how-tos
  • Advice and insights

Mike Richard

If you're planning a trip to the Bahamas, one of the first things you'll need to sort out is your travel documentation. As a U.S. citizen, you generally need to have a valid passport book or passport card to enter the Bahamas by air or sea. While it's close to the United States, it's not part of the U.S. or a U.S. territory. As such, you'll need to meet the same entry requirements as you would for any other foreign country.

What you should know before traveling to the Bahamas There are some details to keep in mind when it comes to the required travel documents for entering the Bahamas. Can you use your driver's license to go to the Bahamas? No, a driver's license alone is not sufficient for entry into the Bahamas. Even though the Bahamas is a relatively short distance from the U.S., you'll still need to present a valid U.S. passport book or passport card when arriving by air or sea.

Jamaica offers an eclectic experience for the modern traveler. As the recognized birthplace of reggae, the island country lets you hang loose and feel the beat. Natural wonders like the Luminous Lagoon dazzle the senses. Unique, flavorful cuisines like rich stews and fresh seafood entice and satisfy. But first, you have to get there.

Typically, traveling to another country requires a passport. But if you're new to the island nation, you might wonder — do you need a passport to go to Jamaica? Here’s what you need to travel there and back so you can experience an island nation like nothing else.

If you’re looking for a gorgeous, eclectic destination, Mexico is worth adding to your list. Featuring thousands of miles of aquamarine coastline, deep cultural heritage, and unique cuisines, the country offers an array of rich experiences. 

But what about getting there? Typically, when visiting a foreign country, you need a passport to prove your U.S. citizenship and identity. But since Mexico borders the United States, you might be unsure whether you need one or not. Further confusing the matter are Mexico’s multiple points of entry via the California border or various airports.

Guide to the 6-month passport rule — what is it?

Daisy Hernandez

Editor's Note

It may sound trivial, but one of the best rules you can follow as an international traveler is to remember to check your passport validity before you book flights and hotels.

Why? Because the requirements for entry differ from country to country. In the midst of planning my 2024 travel, I realized my U.S. passport expires in April, which could mess with my plans abroad.

Thankfully, I use a travel checklist to avoid disruptions to my travel itinerary.

I immediately started the passport renewal process online and had my photo taken at my local Walgreens — although you can DIY your passport photo if you prefer — so I could send out my application as quickly as possible. I also opted to expedite the processing time for an additional $60 fee and sent my application on its way.

If you're also in the middle of planning 2024 travel or simply want to know the ideal time to begin getting ready to renew your passport, the TPG team has you covered.

We collected information from the U.S. Department of State website and the United Kingdom's government website to create a one-stop cheat sheet examining a range of nations that typically require you to have a passport that lasts longer than your trip — whether by one, three or six months.

Note that certain countries deviate from the standard six-month requirement. These findings are also only related to passport validity dates — we're not covering visa requirements here. Those can vary depending on where you're going and where you're coming from.

Schengen countries in Europe

Many European countries are signers of the Schengen Agreement . As a result, they follow the 3+3 Rule, meaning your passport must be valid for three months beyond your three-month entry visa or for a total of six months, regardless of the duration of your initial stay.

While some Schengen countries only require passports to be valid for three months beyond your intended stay, others assume you may stay the full 90 days of your visa validity — thus the six-month time period.

The signers of the Schengen Agreement are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Bulgaria and Romania will join the group March 31, 2024.

only passport to travel

The countries listed below abide by the usual six months of passport validity unless otherwise noted.

Non-Schengen countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East

Abide by the usual 6 months of passport validity.

  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • New Caledonia
  • North Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkmenistan
  • Turkey (British passports must be valid for at least 150 days from the date you arrive in the country)
  • United Arab Emirates
  • West Bank/Gaza Strip

Passport must be valid 3 months beyond the scheduled departure date

Passport must be valid 1 month beyond the date of your intended stay, passport only needs to be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

  • Central African Republic
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Morocco (British passports must be valid for at least three months on the date of entry)
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • South Africa (passports must also have 30 days beyond your intended date of exit from the country)
  • South Sudan

Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Dominican Republic
  • Trinidad and Tobago

Central and South America

  • El Salvador

Passport must be valid 3 months beyond arrival

  • Brazil (British passports need to be valid six months beyond arrival)

South Pacific

  • American Samoa
  • French Polynesia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Papua New Guinea
  • New Zealand

Bottom line

When examining the rules, note that some countries have a slight distinction: They may require validity to be either six months from the date of entry or six months from the date of intended departure . For simplicity, we've taken the conservative approach and assumed that for any country with a six-month rule, like most of the ones above, you should ensure your passport is valid six months past the date of intended departure just in case.

Of course, the list above only includes just a few popular destinations worldwide. If your intended destination isn't on the list, it's always best to check with your relevant passport issuer.

AFAR Logo - Main

Do You Need a Passport to Go to Mexico?

Everything you need to know about travel requirements to visit the united states’ southern neighbor..

  • Copy Link copied

A female tourist stands in front of a Mexican pyramid

What documents are necessary to visit Mexico’s wondrous destinations?

Photo by Shutterstock

With colorful fiestas, lively cities, dense jungles, some of the world’s greatest archaeological monuments, and roughly 7,000 miles of coastline prime for sunning and snorkeling, Mexico is a popular destination for U.S. travelers. And if you’re eyeing a trip across the southern border, you might be wondering what the travel requirements are, particularly whether a passport is necessary or if an alternative document is available. Here’s what you need to know.

Do you need a passport to enter Mexico?

Yes, Americans need a passport (or appropriate alternative travel document) to visit Mexico.

In the past, visiting Mexico with just a driver’s license or birth certificate was possible. However, in 2009, the U.S. Department of State implemented the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which requires all U.S. citizens and legal residents to present a valid passport when entering or re-entering the United States from Mexico by land, sea, or air. The initiative was made “ to strengthen border security and facilitate entry into the United States. ” It made passports the standard document for travel between the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.

Acceptable alternative documents for crossing the U.S.-Mexico border

If you’re a U.S. citizen without a traditional passport, you can use a few other documents to visit Mexico.

Passport card

The U.S. government introduced the passport card as a convenient and cheaper alternative to the traditional passport book; it is good for land and sea travel to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. The passport card is wallet-size (much like a driver’s license) and includes information about its owner, including full name, nationality, place of birth, gender, dates of issue and expiration, a unique ID number, and photo.

Passport cards, however, are only accepted for land and sea travel between the U.S. and Mexico. Air travel to Mexico still requires a passport book.

SENTRI pass

There’s also the SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection) pass, which is a trusted traveler program similar to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck .

The program requires prescreening and provides participants with a special card that can be used in place of a passport for land border crossings (by car or foot). While primarily aimed at frequent cross-border travelers, these programs offer a convenient option for those looking for efficient travel between the two countries.

Enhanced Driver’s Licenses

A handful of U.S. states offer Enhanced Driver’s Licenses , which contain additional security features that allow them to be used in lieu of a passport for travel to Mexico by car. Enhanced Driver’s Licenses are available in Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington.

Do you need a passport on a cruise that stops in Mexico?

Americans can also travel to Mexico (and certain other Caribbean islands) without a passport if they’re on a “closed-loop” cruise .

Basically, a closed-loop cruise leaves from and returns to the same U.S. port for embarkation and disembarkation. The rules for sea travel were established under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and allow Americans to travel to Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Mexico without a passport, specifically on closed-loop sailings. However, some cruise companies require (or at least recommend) that you have a passport in case of emergency (such as a medical issue that causes you to fly home early).

Visit Monaco

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Here’s how you know

Official websites use .gov A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS A lock ( Lock A locked padlock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

  • Fact Sheets

Frequently Asked Questions: Guidance for Travelers to Enter the U.S.

Updated Date: April 21, 2022

Since January 22, 2022, DHS has required non-U.S. individuals seeking to enter the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals at the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination upon request.  On April 21, 2022, DHS announced that it would extend these requirements. In determining whether and when to rescind this order, DHS anticipates that it will take account of whether the vaccination requirement for non-U.S. air travelers remains in place.

These requirements apply to non-U.S. individuals who are traveling for essential or non-essential reasons. They do not apply to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals.

Effective November 8, 2021, new air travel requirements applied to many noncitizens who are visiting the United States temporarily. These travelers are also required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. All air travelers, including U.S. persons, must test negative for COVID-19 prior to departure. Limited exceptions apply. See  CDC guidance  for more details regarding air travel requirements.

Below is more information about what to know before you go, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about cross-border travel.

Entering the U.S. Through a Land Port of Entry or Ferry Terminal

Q. what are the requirements for travelers entering the united states through land poes.

A:  Before embarking on a trip to the United States, non-U.S. travelers should be prepared for the following:

  • Possess proof of an approved COVID-19 vaccination as outlined on the  CDC  website.
  • During border inspection, verbally attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status. 
  • Bring a  Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative  compliant border crossing document, such as a valid passport (and visa if required), Trusted Traveler Program card, a Department of State-issued Border Crossing Card, Enhanced Driver’s License or Enhanced Tribal Card when entering the country. Travelers (including U.S. citizens) should be prepared to present the WHTI-compliant document and any other documents requested by the CBP officer.

 Q. What are the requirements to enter the United States for children under the age of 18 who can't be vaccinated?

A:  Children under 18 years of age are excepted from the vaccination requirement at land and ferry POEs.

Q: Which vaccines/combination of vaccines will be accepted?

A:  Per CDC guidelines, all Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and authorized vaccines, as well as all vaccines that have an Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the World Health Organization (WHO), will be accepted.

Accepted Vaccines:

  • More details are available in CDC guidance  here .
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose COVID-19 vaccine;
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series;
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a clinical trial;
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart.

Q. Is the United States requiring travelers to have a booster dose to be considered fully vaccinated for border entry purposes?

A:  No. The CDC guidance for “full vaccination” can be found here.

Q: Do U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents need proof of vaccination to return to the United States via land POEs and ferry terminals?

A:  No. Vaccination requirements do not apply to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). Travelers that exhibit signs or symptoms of illness will be referred to CDC for additional medical evaluation.

Q: Is pre- or at-arrival COVID testing required to enter the United States via land POEs or ferry terminals?

A: No, there is no COVID testing requirement to enter the United States via land POE or ferry terminals. In this respect, the requirement for entering by a land POE or ferry terminal differs from arrival via air, where there is a requirement to have a negative test result before departure.

Processing Changes Announced on January 22, 2022 

Q: new changes were recently announced. what changed on january 22.

A:  Since January 22, 2022, non-citizens who are not U.S. nationals or Lawful Permanent Residents have been required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the United States at land ports of entry and ferry terminals, whether for essential or nonessential purposes. Previously, DHS required that non-U.S. persons be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the United States for nonessential purposes.  Effective January 22, all non-U.S. individuals, to include essential travelers, must be prepared to attest to vaccination status and present proof of vaccination to a CBP officer upon request. DHS announced an extension of this policy on April 21, 2022.

Q: Who is affected by the changes announced on January 22?

A: This requirement does not apply to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents. It applies to other noncitizens, such as a citizen of Mexico, Canada, or any other country seeking to enter the United States through a land port of entry or ferry terminal.

Q: Do U.S. citizens need proof of vaccination to return to the United States via land port of entry or ferry terminals?

A: Vaccination requirements do not apply to U.S. Citizens, U.S. nationals or U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents. Travelers that exhibit signs or symptoms of illness will be referred to CDC for additional medical evaluation. 

Q: What is essential travel?

A:  Under the prior policy, there was an exception from temporary travel restrictions for “essential travel.” Essential travel included travel to attend educational institutions, travel to work in the United States, travel for emergency response and public health purposes, and travel for lawful cross-border trade (e.g., commercial truckers). Under current policy, there is no exception for essential travel.

Q: Will there be any exemptions? 

A: While most non-U.S. individuals seeking to enter the United States will need to be vaccinated, there is a narrow list of exemptions consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Order in the air travel context.

  • Certain categories of individuals on diplomatic or official foreign government travel as specified in the CDC Order
  • Children under 18 years of age;
  • Certain participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials as specified in the CDC Order;   
  • Individuals with medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine as specified in the CDC Order;
  • Individuals issued a humanitarian or emergency exception by the Secretary of Homeland Security;
  • Individuals with valid nonimmigrant visas (excluding B-1 [business] or B-2 [tourism] visas) who are citizens of a country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability, as specified in the CDC Order
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age) as specified in the CDC Order; and
  • Individuals whose entry would be in the U.S. national interest, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Q: What documentation will be required to show vaccination status?

A:  Non-U.S. individuals are required to be prepared to attest to vaccination status and present proof of vaccination to a CBP officer upon request regardless of the purpose of travel.

The current documentation requirement remains the same and is available on the CDC website . Documentation requirements for entry at land ports of entry and ferry terminals mirror those for entry by air.

Q: What happens if someone doesn’t have proof of vaccine status?

A: If non-U.S. individuals cannot present proof of vaccination upon request, they will not be admitted into the United States and will either be subject to removal or be allowed to withdraw their application for entry.

Q: Will incoming travelers be required to present COVID-19 test results?

A: There is no COVID-19 testing requirement for travelers at land border ports of entry, including ferry terminals.

Q: What does this mean for those who can't be vaccinated, either due to age or other health considerations? 

A: See CDC guidance for additional information on this topic. Note that the vaccine requirement does not apply to children under 18 years of age.

Q: Does this requirement apply to amateur and professional athletes?

A: Yes, unless they qualify for one of the narrow CDC exemptions.

Q: Are commercial truckers required to be vaccinated?

A: Yes, unless they qualify for one of the narrow CDC exemptions. These requirements also apply to bus drivers as well as rail and ferry operators.

Q. Do you expect border wait times to increase?

A:  As travelers navigate these new travel requirements, wait times may increase. Travelers should account for the possibility of longer than normal wait times and lines at U.S. land border crossings when planning their trip and are kindly encouraged to exercise patience.

To help reduce wait times and long lines, travelers can take advantage of innovative technology, such as facial biometrics and the CBP OneTM mobile application, which serves as a single portal for individuals to access CBP mobile applications and services.

Q: How is Customs and Border Protection staffing the ports of entry? 

A: CBP’s current staffing levels at ports of entry throughout the United States are commensurate with pre-pandemic levels. CBP has continued to hire and train new employees throughout the pandemic. CBP expects some travelers to be non-compliant with the proof of vaccination requirements, which may at times lead to an increase in border wait times. Although trade and travel facilitation remain a priority, we cannot compromise national security, which is our primary mission. CBP Office of Field Operations will continue to dedicate its finite resources to the processing of arriving traffic with emphasis on trade facilitation to ensure economic recovery.

Q: What happens if a vaccinated individual is traveling with an unvaccinated individual?  

A:  The unvaccinated individual (if 18 or over) would not be eligible for admission.

Q: If I am traveling for an essential reason but am not vaccinated can I still enter?

A:  No, if you are a non-U.S. individual. The policy announced on January 22, 2022 applies to both essential and non-essential travel by non-U.S. individual travelers. Since January 22, DHS has required that all inbound non-U.S. individuals crossing U.S. land or ferry POEs – whether for essential or non-essential reasons – be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination upon request.

Q: Are sea crew members on vessels required to have a COVID vaccine to disembark?

A:  Sea crew members traveling pursuant to a C-1 or D nonimmigrant visa are not excepted from COVID-19 vaccine requirements at the land border. This is a difference from the international air transportation context.

Entering the U.S. via Air Travel

Q: what are the covid vaccination requirements for air passengers to the united states  .

A:  According to CDC requirements [www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/noncitizens-US-air-travel.html | Link no longer valid], most noncitizens who are visiting the United States temporarily must be fully vaccinated prior to boarding a flight to the United States. These travelers are required to show proof of vaccination. A list of covered individuals is available on the CDC website.  

Q: What are the COVID testing requirements for air passengers to the United States?  

A:  Effective Sunday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. ET, CDC will no longer require pre-departure COVID-19 testing for U.S.-bound air travelers.

  • Border Security
  • Transportation Security
  • Airport Security
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Here’s how you know

Official websites use .gov A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS A lock ( Lock A locked padlock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Acceptable Identification at the TSA Checkpoint

Printer Friendly, PDF & Email

Adult passengers 18 and older must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel.

  • Beginning May 7, 2025, if you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly within the U.S., make sure it is REAL ID compliant . If you are not sure if your ID complies with REAL ID, check with your state department of motor vehicles.  
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • An acceptable photo ID issued by a  federally recognized , Tribal Nation/Indian Tribe
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)

In coordination with its DHS counterparts, TSA has identified acceptable alternate identification for use in special circumstances at the checkpoint.

A weapon permit is not an acceptable form of identification. A temporary driver's license is not an acceptable form of identification.

Beginning May 7, 2025, if you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly within the U.S., make sure it is REAL ID compliant . If you are not sure if your ID complies with REAL ID, check with your state department of motor vehicles.

Learn more about flying with a REAL ID .

 TSA currently accepts expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration. DHS has extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline to May 7, 2025. Learn more about REAL ID on  TSA’s REAL ID  webpage.

TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling within the United States. Contact the airline for questions regarding specific ID requirements for travelers under 18.

Forgot Your ID?

In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You will be subject to additional screening, to include a patdown and screening of carry-on property.

You will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint if your identity cannot be confirmed, you choose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.

TSA recommends that you arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time.

Names With Suffixes

TSA accepts variations on suffixes on boarding passes and ID. Suffixes are not required on boarding passes. If there is a suffix on the boarding pass, and there is not one on the ID or vice versa, that is considered an acceptable variation.

If your identity cannot be verified, you will not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint.

only passport to travel

An official website of the United States government

Here’s how you know

Official websites use .gov A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS A lock ( Lock Locked padlock icon ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

USAGov Logo

U.S. passports

Find out how to apply for or renew a passport and what to do if your passport is lost or stolen.

Apply for a new adult passport

You need a passport to travel to most countries outside the U.S. Learn how to apply in person.

Renew an adult passport

Find out if you can renew your passport or have to get a new one. Learn how to renew your passport by mail or in person in an emergency.

Get a passport for a minor under 18

Find out how to get a child's passport, depending on their age.

Lost or stolen passports

If your passport is lost or stolen you must report it to the State Department right away. How you replace it depends on if you are inside or outside the U.S.

This is a privately owned website and not a government agency. FTC Disclosure: We may be compensated if you make a purchase via a link on this site.

Uspassporthelpguide.com is a privately owned website. Privacy

menu-icon

Where Can I Travel With Just A Passport Card?

only passport to travel

In 2017, the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs reported there were 21,378,994 passports in circulation. Of those, 2,511,778. And these numbers are on the rise.

In 2008 when the Passport Card was first introduced, there were only 189,560 issued. That is an average increase of 122% over the course of 10 years.

If these passport cards are so amazing, why doesn’t everyone have one? Should you have one? What are the differences between a Passport Card and a Passport Book?

Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is a U.S. Passport Card?

A passport card is a wallet-sized, limited-scope U.S. Passport. Just like a standard Passport book, passport cards prove you are a U.S. citizen and confirm your Identity.

When traveling to “border” countries from the U.S., a passport card speeds up the security check process by using a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chip. The RFID chip contains a unique number generated by the U.S. government when the card is issued.

The card is scanned, and the Customs & Border Protection Agency (CBP) use the number to look up your information before you arrive at the security station. To protect your identity, there is no personally identifying information on the chip itself.

Related Read: Do You Need a Passport to Travel Domestically

Passport Card vs. Passport Book

Be it a card or a book, a Passport is still a Passport. That is not to say these two pieces of identification are equal. They are not.

Related Read: Passport Books vs Passport Card

How are They Different?

Size:  Passport Cards are wallet-sized. This makes them very convenient. Passport Books are a bit bulkier. When closed, they are 5″ x 3.5. By no means are they huge, but they aren’t going to fit snuggly in your billfold either.

Travel Visas:  Passport books are required for Travel Visas . Passport Cards do not support Travel Visas because they do not have blank pages for them to go on.

Where you can go:  You can only go to and reenter the U.S. from border countries with the Passport Card. Border countries are Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.

How you can get there:  You can travel internationally via air, sea or land with the use of a Passport Book. With the card, you can only travel by sea or land. International air travel is not allowed with the card even if you go to a border country.

Cost:  Depending on your circumstances,  additional fees  may apply, but the basic pricing information is as follows:

  • Applicants 16 or older can get a passport book for $145 or a card for $65.
  • Applicants under 16 can get a passport book for $115 or a card for $50.
  • Renewal Applicants can get a new passport book by mail for $110 or a card for $30.

Related Read: How Much Does a Passport Cost 2023

How are They the Same?

Who issues them:  As previously mentioned, both the Passport book and the Passport card are Passports. As such, the Passport Services of the U.S. Department of State -Bureau of Consular Affairs issues them both.

Real ID Compliant:  The passport book and the passport card are Real ID compliant. This means you can access federal buildings and fly domestically with either. You can no longer do so with a standard-issue state driver’s license.

Validity:  How long is a passport card good for? For the same amount of time as the Passport Book. If you are 16 or older, both are good for ten years. Otherwise, they are valid for up to 5 years.

Do I need a Passport Card?

Since they are comparatively inexpensive, a passport card for a cruise is ideal! As long as you go by sea or air, they are also great for other types of one-time trips to border countries.

Because they speed up the security process, passport cards are also great if you frequent border countries but don’t stay long or travel outside of the U.S. otherwise.

How do I get my Passport Card?

Print and fill out form DS-11 or form DS-82 and head to a local Passport Application Acceptance Facility. Do not sign the application because giving it to an agent at the passport agency or you will have to fill it out again.

If you qualify to apply for your passport with the DS-82 form , you can mail it in instead of going to the agency in person. If you have to go, there are 8,400 facilities in the U.S. You can find one easily, but some locations require an appointment.

Once your application is filed, you can expect your new card in as little time as four weeks or it could take up to 3 months. The exact amount of time will depend on the demand at the time you apply.

Take a look at this article if you need more information about the specific  documentation to apply  for a Passport Card.

Which Form Should I Use?

The form you should use to apply for a Passport Card depends on whether you have had a passport before. How long ago you had a valid passport can also affect it.

If you have had a passport in the past, it does not matter if it was a card or a book, it is still a passport. It is important to keep that in mind when reading the below information.

You need to fill out a  DS-11  form if:

  • You have never had a U.S. Passport
  • Your last passport was lost, stolen, or severely damaged
  • Your last passport was issued when you were 15 years of age or younger
  • You are currently under the age of 16
  • Your last passport expired more than five years ago.

If you do not fall within the above criteria, you can apply to renew your current password with form  DS – 82 .

Ready for Your New Passport Card?

Considering the amount of time it can take to get your Passport card after applying, you should get one as soon as possible if you plan to travel to a border country. Do not wait until it is too late, or you must pay $60 to expedite the process.

No one wants to shell out extra money.

If you have additional questions about the Passport Card, all you need to do is  ask ! We are always happy to help with your passport needs.

Getting a new passport can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right information and preparation, you can make sure your application process goes smoothly. If you are under 16 years of age or if your last passport expired more than five years ago, then you will need to apply for a new passport rather than attempting to renew your current one.

Remember that if you plan to travel to a country bordering the United States, the Passport Card may be right for you. And don’t forget that we are here to help with any questions or concerns you have about obtaining your passport! Good luck with your application process!

We wish you safe travels.

Related Topics

only passport to travel

Top 10 Countries Every First-Time Traveler Must Visit

only passport to travel

Travel Photography 101: How To Take Great Travel Photos?

air travel

7 Air Travel Tips to Have an Enjoyable Flight

Choose your passport office location, passport services.

only passport to travel

  •  New Passport
  •  Passport Renewal
  •  Child Passport
  •  Passport Replacement
  •  Name Change
  •  Lost Passport
  •  Passport Correction
  •  Second Passport
  •  Passport Card

Where to Apply

only passport to travel

  •  Passport Offices
  •  Expedited Services
  •  Regional Passport
  •  Expedited Visa & Passport Directory
  •  Acceptance Agent

Passport Forms

passport-form

  •  Passport Photos
  •  Passport Requirements
  •  Passport Fees
  •  Passport Books
  •  Passport Applications
  •  International Drivers Permit
  •  Travel Visa

Do you really want to delete this post ?

False claim migrants in the US illegally need passports for air or land travel | Fact check

only passport to travel

The claim: Individuals in the US illegally must now carry a passport to travel by air or land

[ En Español : Falso: inmigrantes que están ilegalmente en EE.UU. necesitan pasaporte para viajar ]

A March 17 Instagram video ( direct link , archive link ) shows a man talking about immigration documentation.

"Immigrants who do not have legal immigration status from this moment on, if you want to travel, even within the United States whether on local flights or by land by vehicle, you must carry your passport from this moment on,” says the commentator in the video.

The post garnered more than 6,000 likes in five days.

More from the Fact-Check Team: How we pick and research claims | Email newsletter | Facebook page

Our rating: False

The Transportation Security Administration accepts passports and other forms of identification, such as a driver's license, for individuals who are in the country illegally and want to travel. Such travelers without passports will need to verify identities with facial recognition to travel.

The TSA accepts passports and other forms of identification

The TSA accepts various identification from travelers , including foreign government-issued passports and state-issued enhanced driver's licenses.   

“To travel domestically in the U.S., TSA requires a valid form of identification which can be either a state- or federal-issued identification document,” Kelley Ortega , an attorney at the Jaime Barron Immigration Law Group, told USA TODAY. “A foreign passport is also often accepted. In practice, lots of individuals who are apprehended and released at the border either have no passport or have their passport confiscated and, as such, would not be able to present a valid identification to travel by plane with TSA upon their release.”

The post may be based on a report from the Associated Press on March 14 that noted the government has started requiring migrants without passports to submit to facial recognition technology to verify their identity if they want to take a domestic flight. But there are no reputable reports of passports being required to travel at all, contrary to the post's claim that they are mandatory even for land-based travel.

Fact check : Biden didn't remove bald eagle from passports; photo placed on different page

For immigrants already in the country illegally, 19 states and the District of Columbia allow them to obtain driver’s licenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A driver's license is a document approved by the TSA for boarding a flight.

USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Our fact-check sources:

  • Transportation Security Administration, accessed March 21, Acceptable Identification at the TSA Checkpoint
  • Kelley Ortega, March 21, Email exchange and phone call with USA TODAY
  • Associated Press, March 14, Migrants lacking passports must now submit to facial recognition to board flights in US
  • National Conference of State Legislatures, March 13, 2023, States Offering Driver’s Licenses to Immigrants

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or e-newspaper here .

USA TODAY is a verified signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network, which requires a demonstrated commitment to nonpartisanship, fairness and transparency. Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Meta .

U.S. Passport Service Guide logo

Mexico Entry Requirements - Required Travel Documents for Travel to Mexico

A CBP agent checks a passport at the US Mexico border

It is one of the most common questions we have received over the past 20 years helping readers like you with their travel document needs:

Do you need a passport to go to Mexico?

The simple answer is yes . US citizens are required to present a valid passport book or passport card when entering Mexico.

There are also some alternative travel documents that can be used in place of a passport depending on where and how you plan to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

Both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Mexican authorities have made a real effort to strengthen border security. As such, there are strict rules about considered a valid travel document to visit Mexico.

The following items are considered valid identification documents for traveling to Mexico:

  • A U.S. passport book (required for all international air travel to Mexico)
  • A U.S. passport card
  • An enhanced driver's license (EDL)
  • A trusted traveler program card (NEXUS card SENTRI card, FAST card, or Global Entry card)
  • An enhanced tribal card (ETC)
  • A military identification card (only for members of the U.S. armed services on official maritime business)
  • A Military ID with official orders that require travel to Mexico or through the country's borders

The items listed above are all considered WHTI compliant documents (more on this later). While a passport book is the only acceptable document for international air travel, the rest of these options can be used at most land and sea ports of entry to Mexico and back into the United States.

Note : Not every port of entry has the RFID card readers required to accept any WHTI compliant document other than a passport book. When planning travel to Mexico, travelers should be sure they have the proper type of identification documents accepted by the customs and border protection services at their planned port of entry.

The following documents are not acceptable substitutes for a valid passport:

  • a birth certificate
  • a standard driver's license
  • an automobile registration
  • a naturalization certificate
  • any other government issued photo ID that is not expressly a WHTI compliant document

While many of these are required documents for getting a passport , none of them are considered a valid travel document on their own for entering Mexico.

Currently, a valid passport book is the best option for all U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico . It is the most reliable and versatile way to travel internationally. If you have a valid passport book, you can be sure it will be accepted at every US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Instituto Nacional de Migracion (National Migration Institute) checkpoint.

Regardless of how you plan to travel to Mexico, U.S. citizens who do not have a passport book or a passport card should apply for one well in advance of their trip.

If you are planning a trip to Mexico soon , be sure to consider expedited passport processing options . In some cases, registered passport courier services can help you get a passport in-hand is as few as 24 hours .

Their professional and experienced team are always ready to help you get a new passport or renew an existing one quickly and without hassle. With their help, you can save both time and money compared to the costs of getting a rushed passport on your own.

Click for reliable expedited passport courier service .

It is worth noting that there are some alternatives to a passport book that will allow US citizens to enter Mexico and reenter the US. However, there are limits to how and where these can be used. For example, none of these alternatives is acceptable for air travel to Mexico or other countries.

Using WHTI Documents to Cross the Mexico Border

A CBP agent checks a driver's travel document at the US Mexico border

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative ( WHTI ) was established in 2007 to both strengthen border security and make it simpler to travel between Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and some Caribbean Islands. The program is ideal for US, Mexican, and Canadian citizens who must regularly travel back and forth across land or sea border crossings for work, family, or other reasons.

The most common of the WHTI compliant documents is the passport card , but they all essentially work the same way. Presenting one of these documents to Mexican immigration authorities will allow you to enter Mexico by land or by sea.

The same works in reverse. WHTI-approved travel documents meet the entry requirements for US citizens seeking passage back into the United States through most Customs and Border Protection checkpoints.

So, while US citizens must still always present a valid passport or valid identification when crossing back and forth across these borders, the WHTI compliant documents make life more convenient for frequent travelers in a number of ways:

  • RFID chips embedded in Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative documents speed up the process of crossing the border by land or sea.
  • Passport books have limited number of pages. Without WHTI alternatives, travelers who cross North American land and sea borders often would need to renew passports more frequently. This would cost travelers a lot of time and money.
  • Passport books are bulky. Conversely, a passport card, enhanced driver's license, SENTRI card, or other card issued as part of the Trusted Traveler Program can fit in a standard wallet or purse just like any credit or debit card. This makes life easier for those who need to carry travel documents with them as part of their daily routines.

If your international travel plans are focused solely on Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative countries (and don't involve international air travel), this may be a great way to travel to Mexico without a passport book.

Requirements for Minors Traveling to Mexico

A mother and baby on a beach in mexico at sunset

Getting a passport for a minor (considered by the State Department to be all U.S. citizens under the age of 16) is the best way to ensure flexibility when traveling to Mexico or any international destination.

For one thing, a passport book is the only way for a child (or anyone) to board and international flight.

This may not seem like a big deal, but should there be an emergency that requires travel abroad, a child will remain grounded without a valid passport book. This goes for traveling to Mexico and back, as well.

There are some acceptable WHTI documents that a minor can be eligible for (a passport card being one), but they carry the same limitations on ports of entry as they do for adults. Chief among them: WHTI documents cannot be used for air travel to Mexico or anywhere else.

In the specific case of traveling to Mexico, there are some other unique circumstances carved out for minors without passports:

  • Children who are U.S. citizens and under age 16 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory can travel to Mexico from the United States without a passport. They must present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card when entering Mexico and when returning to the United States.
  • Children under the age of 19 who are U.S. citizens traveling with a school group, religious group, social or cultural organization or sports team , may present these documents as well; however, they must also provide documentation from the supervising organization, contact information, and letters of consent from a legal parent or guardian.

In either case, a passport book is still the most convenient option to ensure maximum travel flexibility.

Tourist Travel

friends dining in mexico with a mariachi band

A visa or tourist card - also called a Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM) is now required for all U.S. citizens visiting as tourist for six months. Previous exemptions for short stays (less than 72-hours) or stays within the border zone no longer apply.

This Mexican tourist card is mandatory for all leisure visits by land, sea, or air. These FMM cards serve as your entry permit and can be purchased at Mexican consulates, Mexican border crossings, tourism offices, airports, and airline offices.

Mexican immigration officers and other law enforcement entities have the right ask visitors to provide proof of their legal status at any time. As such, travelers are expected to keep their tourist cards with them at all times.

Any non-Mexican citizen must must present a valid form of travel documentation-as well as their Mexican tourist card-upon request.

It is worth noting that, on occasion, travelers that have been unable to produce proper documentation have been detained by Mexican officials. Border protection and security is a big deal across North America, not just in the United States. For this reason, it is a good idea to keep photocopies of your passport and tourist card in case the originals are damaged, lost , or stolen .

While these tourist cards remain valid for up to 180 days, U.S. citizens must return the cards when they depart Mexico. Visitors who are unable to present their card may encounter significant delays and be asked to file a police report, pay fines, and/or go through the process of obtaining an exit visa .

Do You Need a Passport for Closed Loop Cruises?

No. Even if you don't have a valid passport yet, it is possible to visit Mexico as part of a closed loop cruise. You must present a valid form of identification to board, but you do not need to have a valid passport book or passport card.

Closed loop cruises are unique travel itineraries in which a cruise line starts and ends its journey from a port within the United States.

While these cruises may travel through waters controlled by other countries (or even dock at a foreign port of entry), the US citizens on board are not required to have a valid passport. Travelers can board and remain on the cruise with whatever valid identification documents the cruise line accepts.

This is a great way to travel without a passport , but it can also be quite limiting. A cruise line may advertise particular voyages as a closed loop cruises, but still offer excursions on land for travelers with valid passports or WHTI compliant documents that meet the entry requirements of the port. Being able to present a valid passport opens up the maximum potential for making the most of a cruise to Mexico - closed loop or otherwise.

Business Travel

a man and woman have a business meeting at a conference table

Travelers visiting Mexico for business must also complete and submit Form FFM . This form authorizes visitors to conduct business, but not to obtain employment. Business travelers, other non-tourist travelers, or any visitors remaining for more than 180 days must have a Mexican visa and a valid passport to enter the country. U.S. citizens can apply for a Mexican visa at the Mexican Embassy or any Mexican consulate .

For travelers expecting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border on a regular basis, the SENTRI card issued by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may be worth acquiring. It allows access to speedy commuter lanes, drastically reducing time spent waiting in line at CBP checkpoints.

Similarly, the FAST card allows commercial drivers (typically trucks) access to dedicated lanes through most North American border crossings.

A yellow Volkswagen Beetle parked in front of a Mexican cantina

Any U.S. vehicle traveling beyond the Mexican border zone may be confiscated unless the driver is able to present a temporary import permit (TIP). Incarceration, fines, or vehicle seizure may result from driving into the Mexican interior without this documentation.

Obtaining this permit involves producing several required documents:

  • evidence of citizenship
  • a vehicle title
  • a valid vehicle registration
  • a valid driver's license

There is a processing fee, as well.

In addition to the items listed above, drivers must also post a bond at an office of the Banjercito (the Mexican Army Bank) to guarantee that the vehicle will be exported by a certain date. This monetary deposit can be made by cash or credit card.

Posting this bond at a Mexican customs office or certain Mexican consulates will allow you to avoid additional fees and charges. You will receive a refund of your deposit as long as you leave Mexico before your Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM) entry permit expires.

Be warned , travelers should never accept the service of individuals outside of official permit offices or consular agencies offering expedited service. These services are largely fraudulent and lack the authority to accept deposits, issue proper documentation, or handle deposit refunds.

Vehicles traveling in the Baja Peninsula or vehicles with the "Only Sonora" program are exempt from this requirement. This program allows any vehicle that enters at a land border in the Sonoran region to travel without a permit as long as it does not leave the region.

What may be brought into Mexico

U.S. citizens must declare the value of any gifts they are carrying when they enter Mexico.

There is a $75.00 duty free limit for entry by land, and a $300.00 limit for entry by air.

Alcohol and tobacco products always incur a duty. Personal effects will not incur a duty unless they exceed certain limits specified by Mexican customs. Undeclared items may be seized by customs.

Regulations are in place regarding imports, exports, and property donations, and visitors should contact the Embassy of Mexico or a Mexican consulate if they need details.

Before packing, consult our guide of the items NOT to pack for an international trip .

Dual Citizenship

Dual U.S./Mexican nationals should carry citizenship documentation for both countries when traveling to Mexico. In the case of Mexico, this means carrying both a U.S. and Mexican passport.

Mexico considers U.S. citizens born in Mexico or to Mexican parents to be dual citizens of Mexico. Dual citizens may be required to complete a period of military service in Mexico, and may have difficulty receiving U.S. consular assistance in the event of arrest or other emergencies. Dual nationals must declare their U.S. citizenship when returning to the United States.

The Border Zones

A hillside view of the US Mexico border

The immediate border area between Mexico's northern sates and the southern United States is known by many names:

  • The Border Zone
  • The Free Zone
  • The Free Trade Zone
  • The Liberated Zone
  • The Hassle-Free Zone
  • The Perimeter Zone

Initially, this area stretching 12-20 miles across the Mexican border, was designed to encourage travel and trade between Mexico and US travelers. As such, there were no FMM entry permit or Temporary Vehicle Import Permit (TIP) requirements. Passports were still a necessity, though.

This changed in 2015. The Mexican government required all those traveling to Mexico to get an FMM permit to enter the county. As it stands now, the only benefit to the Border Zone area is that a TIP is not required for vehicles that are not registered with Mexican documentation. Passports (or WHTI equivalents) and FMM are now always required for US citizens entering Mexico.

Still have questions about the requirements for crossing the U.S.-Mexico border? The Bureau of Consular Affairs website is the best source for further information about current regulations.

Should you need to obtain travel documentation quickly, be sure to visit our guides on how to expedite your passport and visa applications .

Top 5 Questions About Expedited Passport Couriers

1. How can you get a passport when you're in a hurry? 2. What exactly does a passport expediter do? 3. Are passport expediting services legitimate? 4. How can I identify a reliable passport expeditor? 5. Is expedited passport service worth it?

You can also visit our library of articles about passport expediting .

In a Hurry? Get Reliable Expedited Passport Courier Service: Expedite My U.S.Passport Now!

International Travel

  • Entry Requirements
  • International Airfare
  • International Cruises
  • Travel Documents
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel Tips
  • Travel Warnings

Travel Resources

  • Bestselling Luggage
  • Top Destinations
  • Travel Accessories
  • Travel Articles
  • Travel Business
  • Travel Deals
  • Travel Gifts
  • Travel Links
  • Travel Magazines
  • Travel Tools
  • Where to Stay
  • Passport Information
  • Expedited Passports
  • Registered Couriers
  • 24 Hour Passports

Travel Visas

  • Visa Services

24 to 48 Hour Passport Service

About Contact News Privacy Policy Cookie Policy Terms of Use Sitemap ©2024 U.S. Passport Service Guide, All Rights Reserved

NBC 7 San Diego

Money Report

CNBC

Passport-free travel in Singapore is here — but only for certain travelers

By monica pitrelli,cnbc • published march 20, 2024 • updated on march 24, 2024 at 6:24 pm.

  • From Tuesday, people traveling via car between Singapore and Malaysia can show self-generated QR codes rather than handing over their passports at two checkpoints.
  • Authorities estimate the new procedure will reduce immigration processing time by more than 30%.

Singapore made global headlines last year when the government announced that biometric processing will replace travel document verifications at Changi Airport in the first half of 2024.

But the city-state is going "passport-free" in another area: its land border with Malaysia.

From Tuesday, people traveling by car between Singapore and Malaysia can show self-generated QR codes rather than handing over their passports at two checkpoints.

Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.

The new rule , which applies to those traveling via the country's Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, will expedite immigration clearance "without compromising on security," according to Singapore's Immigration & Checkpoints Authority.

Who is eligible

Singapore residents and foreign travelers can generate QR codes via the government's MyICA mobile app. Group codes for up to 10 people can be generated for passengers traveling in the same car too.

only passport to travel

‘The Fed has made two major mistakes in its history,' expert says. Here's how those impact policy today

only passport to travel

Ericsson will cut 1,200 jobs in Sweden

Like before, travelers are then subject to a face-to-face check by immigration officers.

However, the QR-code clearance is not available to two groups of travelers: those entering Singapore for the first time and those using a different passport from previous visits.

The new procedure is expected to reduce immigration processing time by more than 30% — saving around 20 seconds for cars traveling with four passengers and up to one minute for cars with 10 people, according to authorities.

One of world's busiest border crossings

The checkpoint linking the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru to Woodlands in Singapore is one of the busiest international border crossings in the world.

From March 7 to 10, more than 1.8 million travelers crossed Singapore's two checkpoints that link the island with Malaysia, according to its Immigration & Checkpoints Authority.

Motorists coming from Malaysia wait to cross the immigration checkpoint to enter Singapore on March 31, 2023.

On March 8 — the Friday preceding a week-long break for Singapore public schools — a record-breaking 495,000 people crossed the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, exceeding the 485,000 travelers recorded on August 2019, it said.

Singapore plans to roll out the QR code clearance to more travelers crossing checkpoints via other modes of transport at a later date.   

Part of a larger push

The QR clearance program is part of a larger push to modernize border control and security procedures in the city-state to manage higher traveler volume amid the crunch of its aging workforce.

Changi Airport's "passport-free" immigration clearance, which is based on biometric verification, is undergoing trials, a representative of Changi Airport Group told CNBC Travel.

A launch date for this program has not been released.

Also on CNBC

  • Japan launches bullet train service to a region that 'guidebooks rarely mention'
  • A new warning to Bali tourists: 'Stay away from civet coffee,' says PETA
  • Here are the most powerful passports for 2024 — Switzerland tops the list

Subscribe to the CNBC YouTube Channel

This article tagged under:

only passport to travel

What To Do With Old Passports (& Why You Should Keep Them)

When your passport is expired, don't rush to get rid of it! You may not know it, but there are many reasons to hold onto them.

  • Don't toss out old passports - they could cause legal trouble or be used for identity fraud.
  • Expired passports are actually useful - they help renew future passports and assist with visa applications.
  • Keep old passports for sentimental reasons - relive past trips and create art with unique passport stamps.

When planning an upcoming trip, there are often many things a person needs to consider, including the status of their passport and whether they need it for their destination. Although there are now online advances where you can renew your passport online , there are times when that need falls off the radar and the validity lapses.

What do you do upon realizing that your passport is expired? While people typically start the renewal process as soon as possible and provide the expired passport to the government, not everyone forges ahead with that plan. Whether this is due to the vacation destination not requiring a passport or deciding to forego travel for a bit, the plan to renew is sometimes pushed off. But what should be done with the old passport in the interim?

Americans Can Leave Their Passport Behind When Visiting This Caribbean Island In 2024

Discarding your expired passport isn't advised, not only do they contain identifying information, but destroying a passport can cause legal trouble.

When your passport expires, you may feel compelled to dispose of it. After all, there are many destinations you can visit without a passport . Additionally, with all the advances taking place in technology and at the government level, many opt for an enhanced driver's license instead of renewing a passport.

Before reaching for the scissors, there are a few elements that one should be aware of. For starters, there are instances in which destroying a passport can bring forth legal trouble . However, if you do so because it has expired and you don't intend to continue using it, there likely aren't any ramifications to be had.

Secondly, the chances of identity fraud rise when you dispose of a passport. With the RFID chip installed within the document, a great deal of information is stored inside, which isn't just limited to your name and birth date. Unless the chip is thoroughly destroyed, there is always a chance that someone will uncover the data and use it improperly.

A Previous Passport Can Help You In the Long Run

There are many instances where an expired passport can be beneficial.

Often, we see expired documents or items, such as a driver's license or credit card, as invalid and useless. However, that isn't the case when it comes to your passport. Although an expired driver's license won't do you much good, an expired passport can actually aid you in getting a new license!

Not only that, but the expired passport can also act as a valid form of identification if you are in a bind.

In addition, the process of renewing your passport down the line becomes significantly more streamlined when you still have the old one in your possession. Even if you don't renew right away, there are benefits to having it in hand when you apply for another one in the future.

While there are many countries that you can visit without a visa , there are just as many that you can't. Additionally, there are instances where the United States government will issue you a second passport to accommodate the visa process.

Having an older passport can help you get through the visa process more efficiently while also providing visual documentation of your past travels.

These Countries Have The Strongest Passports In The World For 2024

Memories can be kept by retaining old passports, souvenirs come in all shapes and sizes, including an old passport.

If you've already renewed your passport and have the new version in your possession, you might think that it's a good time to get rid of the old one. Besides the reasons listed above, such as the potential for identity fraud, help with identification, and so forth, there is also a sentimental reason to hold onto one's old passports.

Taking the time to look back through the various unique passport stamps collected throughout the years provides a chance to relive memories from previous travels. Some people even turn old passports into elaborate art pieces !

As time goes on and more vacations take place, it can be easy to forget the trips you took in the beginning. Having your old passports to see the various stamps as well as the old pictures of yourself can bring a lot of smiles to a group and can trigger many fun stories about past adventures.

Travelicious

Travelicious

5 Tips to Get Your Passport Fast, Experts Say

Posted: October 6, 2023 | Last updated: October 6, 2023

<p>Sometimes, the urge to take a life-changing trip can strike without notice. And while there are plenty of <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://bestlifeonline.com/most-naturally-beautiful-states-news/">naturally beautiful</a> and culturally vibrant places you can see right in the U.S., your dream destination might be abroad—which means you'll need a valid passport to get there. Unfortunately, spur-of-the-moment travel might be difficult for those who've never applied or need to renew their expired document, with current <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://bestlifeonline.com/record-passport-renewal-delays/">processing times</a> taking anywhere from <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/how-apply/processing-times.html">eight to 11 weeks</a>, according to the U.S. State Department. But if you've absolutely got to get away, there are still a few ways you can speed things up. Read on for tips from experts on how to get your passport fast.</p><p><p><strong>RELATED: <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://bestlifeonline.com/clothing-items-not-to-wear-on-a-plane/">10 Clothing Items You Shouldn't Wear on a Plane</a>.</strong></p></p>

Sometimes, the urge to take a life-changing trip can strike without notice. And while there are plenty of naturally beautiful and culturally vibrant places you can see right in the U.S., your dream destination might be abroad—which means you'll need a valid passport to get there. Unfortunately, spur-of-the-moment travel might be difficult for those who've never applied or need to renew their expired document, with current processing times taking anywhere from eight to 11 weeks , according to the U.S. State Department. But if you've absolutely got to get away, there are still a few ways you can speed things up. Read on for tips from experts on how to get your passport fast.

RELATED: 10 Clothing Items You Shouldn't Wear on a Plane .

<p>Applying for or renewing a passport typically involves getting all of the necessary documents together and shipping them off to be processed. But if you need to cut down some time, you might want to consider showing up in person.</p><p>"If you need a passport ASAP, you should contact the closest Passport Agency or Center," says <strong>Brittany Mendez</strong>, <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://floridapanhandle.com/">travel expert</a> and chief marketing officer of FloridaPanhandle.com. "You have to schedule an appointment with them, and typically there are only two reasons that can qualify you for the expedited process: 'Life-or-Death Emergency Service' or 'Urgent Travel Service,'" both of which require documentation of an upcoming trip such as a plane ticket, she explains.</p><p>However, this solution may not work for everyone, even if you qualify. "Unfortunately, there may not be an agency where you live, as they are only in certain cities, so you may have to travel to the nearest one," Mendez says.<p><strong>RELATED: <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://bestlifeonline.com/southwest-early-bird-check-in-change-boycott-news/">Travelers Are Boycotting Southwest Over New Boarding Change</a>.</strong></p></p>

1 Apply in person.

Applying for or renewing a passport typically involves getting all of the necessary documents together and shipping them off to be processed. But if you need to cut down some time, you might want to consider showing up in person.

"If you need a passport ASAP, you should contact the closest Passport Agency or Center," says Brittany Mendez , travel expert and chief marketing officer of FloridaPanhandle.com. "You have to schedule an appointment with them, and typically there are only two reasons that can qualify you for the expedited process: 'Life-or-Death Emergency Service' or 'Urgent Travel Service,'" both of which require documentation of an upcoming trip such as a plane ticket, she explains.

RELATED: Travelers Are Boycotting Southwest Over New Boarding Change .

<p>If you're genuinely pressed for time, getting your document processed quickly might come down to being willing to shell out a little extra cash to let professionals hand it—especially if you have a busy schedule. In this case, <strong>Justin Albertynas</strong>, <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://www.ratepunk.com/">travel expert</a> and CEO of the travel company Ratepunk, says you should consider using a passport expediter company.</p><p>"These firms are equipped to handle passport processing quickly, sometimes securing them in as little as 24 to 48 hours," he says. "They charge a fee, of course, but for last-minute travel or unforeseen passport issues, they're a lifesaver. The fees get steeper in regards to how fast you want your passport done, but they will save you precious time and stress nonetheless."</p><p>However, others point out such services aren't foolproof. "These third-party companies basically do the legwork for you, but remember that they can't secure a new passport on your behalf any faster than you can," says <strong>Mercedes Zach</strong>, a travel expert at <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://www.asaptickets.com/">ASAP Tickets</a>.</p><p>If you're not truly under the gun, you can still apply for regular expedited service with the State Department for an <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/get-fast.html">additional $60 fee</a>. This will take your wait time down to about five to seven weeks, according to the agency's website.<p><strong>RELATED: <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://bestlifeonline.com/tsa-clear-extra-screening-news/">TSA Announces It Will Flag Certain Passengers for Extra Screening</a>.</strong></p></p>

2 Pay for a professional passport expediting service.

If you're genuinely pressed for time, getting your document processed quickly might come down to being willing to shell out a little extra cash to let professionals hand it—especially if you have a busy schedule. In this case, Justin Albertynas , travel expert and CEO of the travel company Ratepunk, says you should consider using a passport expediter company.

"These firms are equipped to handle passport processing quickly, sometimes securing them in as little as 24 to 48 hours," he says. "They charge a fee, of course, but for last-minute travel or unforeseen passport issues, they're a lifesaver. The fees get steeper in regards to how fast you want your passport done, but they will save you precious time and stress nonetheless."

However, others point out such services aren't foolproof. "These third-party companies basically do the legwork for you, but remember that they can't secure a new passport on your behalf any faster than you can," says Mercedes Zach , a travel expert at ASAP Tickets .

RELATED: TSA Announces It Will Flag Certain Passengers for Extra Screening .

<p>It's not just the processing that can take time while applying: Postage and shipping can also lag, costing precious days. Fortunately, there's a relatively affordable way to ensure your documents don't spend <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/how-to-get-passport-fast">too much time in transit</a>.</p><p>"For faster shipping of your application, it is recommended that you purchase USPS' Priority Mail Express," <strong>Laura Lindsay</strong>, travel trends expert for Skyscanner, told Thrillist earlier this year. "The price for this service varies depending on the area of the country. You can also pay an extra $18.32 for one to two-day delivery of your completed passport. Simply include this sum with your passport fee in your check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of State for [the] fastest return shipping."<p><strong>RELATED: <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://bestlifeonline.com/places-you-can-travel-without-passport/">8 Beautiful Places Where You Can Go Without a Passport</a>.</strong></p></p>

3 Expedite the shipping.

It's not just the processing that can take time while applying: Postage and shipping can also lag, costing precious days. Fortunately, there's a relatively affordable way to ensure your documents don't spend too much time in transit .

RELATED: 8 Beautiful Places Where You Can Go Without a Passport .

<p>It's your responsibility to get new passport photos taken (they can't be older than six months) and include them in your application. A new report from <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://www.itseasy.com/us-passports/passport-renewal-and-photo-app/">ItsEasy Passport Renewal & Photo App</a>, however, says that "per the Department of State, the #1 reason passport applications are suspended or put on hold is non-compliant photos."</p><p>Some of the common mistakes they cite are having your head take up too much or not enough space in the photo, looking away from the camera, having squinted or closed eyes, or wearing eyeglasses. They also note that head coverings are only allowed in photos for religious reasons, and these photos must be accompanied by a note that states this.</p>

4 Be sure your photos are correct.

It's your responsibility to get new passport photos taken (they can't be older than six months) and include them in your application. A new report from ItsEasy Passport Renewal & Photo App , however, says that "per the Department of State, the #1 reason passport applications are suspended or put on hold is non-compliant photos."

Some of the common mistakes they cite are having your head take up too much or not enough space in the photo, looking away from the camera, having squinted or closed eyes, or wearing eyeglasses. They also note that head coverings are only allowed in photos for religious reasons, and these photos must be accompanied by a note that states this.

<p>Finally, don't let a simple slip-up delay your passport. Just like a trip to the post office or bank, having your affairs in order beforehand can significantly reduce wasted time.</p><p>"The most common delay in passport processing is incorrect or incomplete documentation," says <strong>Sam Charlton</strong>, CEO of <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://fastpassportsandvisas.com/">Fast Passports & Visas</a>. "Ensure all your documents are in order and double-check them against the requirements. Having a well-organized plan can save you from the limbo of bureaucratic delays."<p><strong>For more travel tips sent directly to your inbox, <a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://bestlifeonline.com/newsletters/">sign up for our daily newsletter</a>.</strong></p></p><p>Read the original article on <em><a rel="noopener noreferrer external nofollow" href="https://bestlifeonline.com/how-to-get-a-passport-fast/">Best Life</a></em>.</p>

5 Have your documents in order.

Finally, don't let a simple slip-up delay your passport. Just like a trip to the post office or bank, having your affairs in order beforehand can significantly reduce wasted time.

"The most common delay in passport processing is incorrect or incomplete documentation," says Sam Charlton , CEO of Fast Passports & Visas . "Ensure all your documents are in order and double-check them against the requirements. Having a well-organized plan can save you from the limbo of bureaucratic delays."

For more travel tips sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter .

Read the original article on Best Life .

More for You

A Ukrainian serviceman holds a MANPADS

Satellite Images Show Aftermath of Russian Black Sea Fleet Strikes

SEI197067282.jpg

Kamala Harris roasted after she claps along to protest song – before realising they’re protesting against her

halved iceberg lettuce

How To Store Iceberg Lettuce So It Stays Perfectly Crisp

Researchers find best way to cut alcohol intake

Scientists discover best way to cut down alcohol intake

Shamima Begum loses latest bid to fight citizenship removal

Shamima Begum loses latest bid to fight citizenship removal

Kate grab.png

OPINION - After its hounding of Kate Britain needs a long, hard look in the mirror

Best East Coast beach towns to live in

The best beach town to live in on the East Coast is not in Florida, according to data. See the top 25.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., went after Democratic strategist James Carville on social media Sunday after he went viral for saying his party's problem was with a predominance of messaging from

AOC triggered by Carville's knock on 'preachy females' dominating Democratic Party: 'Start a podcast about it'

'Shark Tank' host Kevin O'Leary says Trump losing his assets would deal 'collateral damage to the American brand'

'Shark Tank' host Kevin O'Leary says Trump losing his assets would deal 'collateral damage to the American brand'

Blondie by Dean Young and John Marshall

Blondie by Dean Young and John Marshall

Brown recluse spider table

The Cleaning Tip That Will Prevent Brown Recluse Spiders From Invading Your Home

Young female creative professional listens to coworker

16 Compliments You Didn’t Realize Are Actually Pretty Insulting

What to do when your CD matures, according to experts

What to do when your CD matures, according to experts

Florida Gators running back Trevor Etienne (7) gets past the defense of Missouri Tigers linebacker Chuck Hicks (30) on his way to score a touchdown during a SEC conference game between the Florida Gators and the Missouri Tigers held on Saturday Nov 18, 2023 at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium in Columbia MO.

Georgia star running back Trevor Etienne arrested on multiple misdemeanors

Travel-St. Helena Island

The world’s most remote island open to tourists no longer takes five nights to get to

(Youtube/@SpecialBooksbySpecialKids)

'Man in the Iron Lung's' family release statement following his death aged 78

Kevin McCarthy and Matt Gaetz

Matt Gaetz Ethics Complaint Allegations—What We Know

Slow cooker

7 things you should never put in a slow cooker

The 11 Rudest Things You Can Do In Someone Else’s House, According To Etiquette Experts

The 11 Rudest Things You Can Do In Someone Else’s House, According To Etiquette Experts

Pet owner has 13 golden retrievers: 'Happiness is an understatement'

Wife in America’s fourth-richest family bashes ‘small-minded community’ after she buys up real estate

Update January 10, 2024

Information for u.s. citizens in the middle east.

  • Travel Advisories |
  • Contact Us |
  • MyTravelGov |

Find U.S. Embassies & Consulates

Travel.state.gov, congressional liaison, special issuance agency, u.s. passports, international travel, intercountry adoption, international parental child abduction, records and authentications, popular links, travel advisories, mytravelgov, stay connected, legal resources, legal information, info for u.s. law enforcement, replace or certify documents.

Need a Passport

Already Have a Passport

Get My Passport Fast

How to Apply

Passport Help

Legal Matters

How to Get my U.S. Passport Fast

Share this page:

Make an Appointment at a Passport Agency

Life-or-Death Emergencies

Courier and Expeditor Companies

  • Life-or-Death Emergency  (appointment required)
  • Urgent Travel  (appointment required)
  • Routine      
  • Consider the total time it will take to get a passport when you are booking travel. Processing times + mailing times (up to 2 weeks) = total time to get a passport

Expand the options below to learn more about the four types of service we offer.

Choose this service if you have a life-or-death emergency and you are traveling within 72 hours (3 business days). see our  life-or-death emergencies  page for more information on how to make an appointment. , choose this service if you are traveling in less than 2-3 weeks.  if you have not applied, make an appointment online . your appointment at a  passport agency or center  must within 14 calendar days of your international travel date.  if you have already applied, call us at 1-877-487-2778 .  we cannot guarantee an appointment will be available. , choose this service if you are traveling in less than 8 weeks from the date you submit your application.  expedited service takes 2-3 weeks and does not include mailing times. mailing times may add 2 weeks on to the total time to get your passport. you can  expedite at an acceptance facility  or  expedite a renewal by mail .    , choose this service if you are traveling over 8 weeks from the date you submit your application. routine service takes 6-8 weeks and does not include mailing times. mailing times may add 2 weeks on to the total time to get your passport. you can apply for routine service at an  acceptance facility  or  renew by mail .    , contacting us if you have urgent travel.

Check your application status online and sign up for updates via email . How our contact center can help you depends on your travel date, and if you have applied or not yet applied...

I have already applied and do not have my passport

I have not applied yet, reminders for contacting us.

  • Representatives are available Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. We close on federal holidays.
  • Our primary number is 1-877-487-2778 . Se habla español.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call 1-888-874-7793 for TDD/TTY teletype services.
  • Contact your local U.S. embassy or consulate if you are applying outside the United States.

Traveling in Less Than 2-3 Weeks

Make an appointment at a passport agency or center.

We have two types of appointments:  Life-or-Death Emergency Service  and  Urgent Travel Service .

  • You cannot walk in without an appointment. 
  • We do not charge a fee to make an appointment.
  • You cannot transfer your appointment to another customer.

Life-or-Death Emergency Service is for customers who are traveling in the next 3 business days for a life-or-death emergency. Learn more on our  Life-or-Death Emergency page .

Urgent Travel Service : If you have not yet applied , make an appointment online . Your appointment must be scheduled within 14 calendar days of your international travel date.  

If you have already applied , call 1-877-487-2778 . 

We cannot guarantee an appointment will be available. 

Traveling in Less Than 8 Weeks

Expedite a first-time application or a child's application.

Use our Form Filler to fill out Form DS-11, print it, and apply in person at an acceptance facility.

  • Follow the steps on how to apply in person
  • Include your $60 expedite fee with the application fee
  • Find an  acceptance facility  near you to submit your application

Expedite a Renewal or Name Change by Mail

Use our Form Filler  to fill out your form, print it, and mail it to us.

  • Use Form DS-82 if you are renewing. Follow the steps on how to mail your application
  • Use Form DS-5504 if you are changing your name within one year of a passport being issued. Follow the steps on how to change your name.
  • Include the $60 expedite fee with the application fee
  • Write "EXPEDITE" on the outside of the envelope you send us

Frequently Asked Questions

Can i pay for faster delivery and return shipping.

Yes. You may choose one or both of the following shipment options:

  • Delivering application to us : Pay for Priority Mail Express for faster shipping. The price for this service varies depending on the area of the country.
  • Returning the passport to you : Pay $19.53 for 1-2 day delivery. This means you will receive your passport   1-2 days after we send it. Include this fee with your check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of State. Do not submit a return envelope to us with postage pre-paid. 

You may receive your passport and supporting documents in separate mailings. If you are renewing a passport card, we will send it to you via First Class Mail. We do not use 1-2 day delivery services if you only applied for a passport card.

What are passport expeditors and courier companies?

Passport expeditors and couriers are companies that are not part of the U.S. Department of State. These companies submit applications and pick up passports for customers. 

These companies may charge several hundred dollars in extra fees. They may also charge for services that we offer for free such as making an appointment and filling out a form. 

To learn more about these companies, visit our  Passport Expeditor and Courier page .

Make An Appointment at a Passport Agency or Center

We have two types of appointments: Life-or-Death Emergency Service and Urgent Travel Service . You cannot walk-in. 

Not Yet Applied : Make an appointment online

Already Applied : Call  1-877-487-2778 . Se habla español.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call  1-888-874-7793  for TDD/TTY teletype services. 

Processing Times

Routine:  6-8 weeks*

Expedited: 2-3 weeks and an extra $60*

*Consider the total time it will take to get a passport when you are booking travel.  Processing times only include the time your application is at a passport agency or center.

  • It may take up to 2 weeks for applications to arrive at a passport agency or center. It may take up to 2 weeks for you to receive a completed passport after we print it. 
  • Processing times + mailing times = total time to get a passport

Urgent Travel:  See our Get my Passport Fast page. 

Requesting a Refund for Expedited Service

Service Commitment

If you paid the $60 fee for expedited service when you applied and you did not receive expedited service, you may be eligible to  request a refund  of this fee. We cannot refund any other passport fees or your travel expenses if you miss your trip.

Non-Refundable Fees

We cannot refund the passport application fee and the execution fee. By law, we collect both fees and keep them even if a passport is not issued.

Learn more about refunds on our Refund of Expedited Passport Fee page.

External Link

You are about to leave travel.state.gov for an external website that is not maintained by the U.S. Department of State.

Links to external websites are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as an endorsement by the U.S. Department of State of the views or products contained therein. If you wish to remain on travel.state.gov, click the "cancel" message.

You are about to visit:

  • Travel Guides
  • Travel Gear

The Travel Essential That Will Help You Remember To Pack Your Passport

man confused at airport

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Forgetting your passport is one of the most frustrating airport mistakes you can make. Along with adding a great deal of stress, the consequences can create serious hiccups in your travels. You could end up potentially missing a flight and having to go through the tedious process of filing a report. But, thankfully, there's a simple way to prevent this from happening in the first place. It just requires some forethought and a small investment.

Forgetfulness is connected to disorganization, so having a designated passport case can help you stay on track. Provided that you've put it in a secure spot, a passport holder also provides an extra layer of protection, which should give you peace of mind while traveling to new destinations. Cases with special compartments keep necessities like your passport, IDs, and credit cards well-organized too. When you're sightseeing, however, it's smart to lock up your passport in a hotel safe. Overall, these  travel accessories are efficient and effective. With that said, keep these important factors in mind when picking out a passport wallet.

Optimizing your passport wallet

As you browse suitable passport wallets, pay close attention to size, durability, and features. ACdream holder  ($12 retail) is an example of a case that checks all of the boxes. In addition to securing your passport, its compact wallet contains several pockets for essentials like credit cards, vaccination records, and boarding passes. Made from sturdy PU leather, the material offers resistance to water damage, too. The wallet even goes a step further by using radio frequency identification (RFID) blocking technology to protect your confidential information. This prevents people from being able to scan your cards from afar without your consent. Plus, the case is available in various colors and designs, allowing you to choose a book based on your personal style.

On top of investing in an optimal passport wallet, you can add another layer of protection by following one tried-and-true traveler tip. Flight attendant Ty Opoku Adjei told Business Insider that leaving a passport in a hotel room safe is quite common among travelers. She said, "When we go on holiday, it's natural to want to keep your valuables in the hotel room safe." Yet, it's easy to forget to check the safe before departing. As a solution, she recommended placing a shoe you'll wear to the airport in the safe. That way, you'll remember to look there.

Recommended

Passport costs set to rise by more than 7%

  • Wednesday 20 March 2024 at 4:02pm

A person holding a new style British passport.

Passport fees are set to rise by more than 7% next month, the Home Office has announced.

The cost of applications made by those over 16 in the UK online will increase from £82.50 to £88.50 under the proposals.

Those for children under 16 will cost £57.50 which is a rise from the current £53.50.

Postal applications and those applying from overseas will also see price rises. If approved the new prices will come in from April 11.

The rise comes after fees rose by approximately 9% last year.

In statement, the Home Office said: "The new fees will help ensure that income from these applications better meets the cost of delivering passport and associated operations, reducing reliance on funding from general taxation. "The government does not make any profit from the cost of passport applications." It continued: "The fees contribute to the cost of processing passport applications, consular support overseas including for lost or stolen passports, and the cost of processing British citizens at UK borders. "The increase will also help enable the Government to continue improving its services."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…

IMAGES

  1. How to Apply for a US Passport

    only passport to travel

  2. The only passport checklist you need

    only passport to travel

  3. Definitive U.S. Passport Application Guide for First-Timers [2023]

    only passport to travel

  4. Valid passport

    only passport to travel

  5. How to Keep Your Passport Safe When Traveling

    only passport to travel

  6. How Long Does a US Passport Have to Be Valid to Travel?

    only passport to travel

COMMENTS

  1. 23 Places to Travel Without a Passport from the US (in 2024)

    As the 50th US State, a passport is not required to visit the beautiful islands of Hawaii. All you need is a government-issued ID for air travel, and you're good to go! The culture of Hawaii is markedly Polynesian, making it a unique escape from the continental US. Hike up volcanoes on the Big Island.

  2. Do you need a passport to travel to or from U.S. territories or Freely

    The travel documents you need as a U.S. citizen to travel to or from a U.S. territory or Freely Associated State depend on your destination. U.S. citizens do not need a passport to travel between the U.S. and these territories: American Samoa. Guam.

  3. The Passport 3 Month Rule

    The 3-month passport validity rule requires passports to be valid for at least 3 months beyond the intended date of arrival, with exceptions and special cases. It is important to research entry requirements, obtain necessary visas in advance, and verify a passport's expiration date before traveling. If your passport does not have enough ...

  4. Do you need a passport to travel within the US?

    That means that starting on May 7, 2025, every U.S. state and territory resident 18 years of age and older will need to present a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card, or another TSA-accepted form of identification, such as a valid passport, for domestic air travel. The easiest way to tell if your state ID is a REAL ID is ...

  5. Do You Need a Passport to Book an International Flight?

    For example, Mexico only requires your passport to be valid at the time of travel, so make sure to check the U.S. Department of State website for your destination's requirements before traveling ...

  6. Do you need a passport to travel in the U.S. in 2024?

    Show 1 more item. Direct answer: You will not need a passport to travel within the US in 2024 or 2025, when the REAL ID Act goes into effect, though you can use one. Most people will use a REAL ID ...

  7. Where Can I Travel Without a U.S. Passport?

    Because American Samoa has been a U.S. territory since 1900, American travelers don't need a passport to visit —they just need a Real I.D. You'll also need an onward or return ticket to be let into the country, per the U.S. Department of State. Relax and unwind (sans passport) on Tanguisson Beach in Guam. Lucie Rangel/Unsplash.

  8. Countries That Require Six Months of Passport Validity

    The Six Month Validity Rule for U.S. Passports - List of Countries. Many countries require travelers to have passports with at least 6 months of remaining validity as an entry requirement. Some require the passport be valid for six months from the date of entry while others require six months validity beyond one's stay.

  9. How a Passport Can Help you Fly Domestically

    Use the passport card when entering the United States at land-border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. Do not use it for international air travel. The passport card only costs $30 for adults if you already have a passport book, and only $65 for first-time adult applicants.

  10. U.S. Passports

    Routine: 6-8 weeks* Expedited: 2-3 weeks and an extra $60* *Consider the total time it will take to get a passport when you are booking travel. Processing times only include the time your application is at a passport agency or center.. It may take up to 2 weeks for applications to arrive at a passport agency or center. It may take up to 2 weeks for you to receive a completed passport after we ...

  11. Guide to the 6-month passport rule

    As a result, they follow the 3+3 Rule, meaning your passport must be valid for three months beyond your three-month entry visa or for a total of six months, regardless of the duration of your initial stay. While some Schengen countries only require passports to be valid for three months beyond your intended stay, others assume you may stay the ...

  12. 8 Beautiful Places Where You Can Go Without a Passport

    If you don't have a passport altogether, you're also not alone. In 2022, according to the State Department, there were 151,814,305 valid U.S. passports in circulation, while the U.S. population ...

  13. International Travel Recommendations

    Office of the Spokesperson. April 26, 2022. U.S. citizens considering international travel should plan ahead and be informed about travel requirements before making decisions or firm travel plans. We urge U.S. citizens considering international travel to check their passport expiration date early and if renewal is needed, to submit applications ...

  14. U.S. citizens traveling abroad

    Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites. Español; Home Close Search. 1-844-USAGOV1. ... Do you need a passport to travel to or from U.S. territories or Freely Associated States? The travel documents you need as a U.S. citizen to travel to or from a U.S. territory or Freely Associated State depend on your destination.

  15. Do U.S. Citizens Need a Passport to Go to Mexico?

    The passport card is wallet-size (much like a driver's license) and includes information about its owner, including full name, nationality, place of birth, gender, dates of issue and expiration, a unique ID number, and photo. Passport cards, however, are only accepted for land and sea travel between the U.S. and Mexico.

  16. Frequently Asked Questions: Guidance for Travelers to Enter the U.S

    Bring a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative compliant border crossing document, such as a valid passport (and visa if required), Trusted Traveler Program card, a Department of State-issued Border Crossing Card, Enhanced Driver's License or Enhanced Tribal Card when entering the country. Travelers (including U.S. citizens) should be prepared ...

  17. Frequently Asked Questions about Passport Services

    We only send the passport card via First Class Mail. We do not send cards via 1-2 day delivery services. I applied for both a passport book and passport card: You may receive three separate mailings; one with your citizenship documents, one with your newly-issued passport book, and one with your newly-issued passport card. You may wait 8 weeks ...

  18. Acceptable Identification at the TSA Checkpoint

    An acceptable photo ID issued by a federally recognized, Tribal Nation/Indian Tribe. HSPD-12 PIV card. Foreign government-issued passport. Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card. Transportation worker identification credential. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)

  19. U.S. passports

    Lost or stolen passports. If your passport is lost or stolen you must report it to the State Department right away. How you replace it depends on if you are inside or outside the U.S. Find out how to apply for or renew a passport for an adult or a minor under 18. Know what to do if a passport is lost or stolen.

  20. Where Can I Travel With Just A Passport Card?

    With the card, you can only travel by sea or land. International air travel is not allowed with the card even if you go to a border country. Cost: Depending on your circumstances, additional fees may apply, but the basic pricing information is as follows: Applicants 16 or older can get a passport book for $145 or a card for $65.

  21. False claim migrants need passports for any US travel

    The claim: Individuals in the US illegally must now carry a passport to travel by air or land. A March 17 Instagram video ( direct link, archive link) shows a man talking about immigration ...

  22. Mexico Entry Requirements

    A U.S. passport book (required for all international air travel to Mexico) A U.S. passport card; An enhanced driver's license (EDL) A trusted traveler program card (NEXUS card SENTRI card, FAST card, or Global Entry card) An enhanced tribal card (ETC) A military identification card (only for members of the U.S. armed services on official ...

  23. Passport-free travel in Singapore is here

    But the city-state is going "passport-free" in another area: its land border with Malaysia. From Tuesday, people traveling by car between Singapore and Malaysia can show self-generated QR ...

  24. Passport-free travel in Singapore is here

    Passport-free travel is underway in Singapore. From Tuesday, people traveling via car between Singapore and Malaysia can show self-generated QR codes rather than handing over their passports at ...

  25. What To Do With Old Passports (& Why You Should Keep Them)

    Ability to provide identification. Verification of past travels. Helpful for renewing driver's licenses. Useful for visa applications. Having an older passport can help you get through the visa process more efficiently while also providing visual documentation of your past travels. Related.

  26. 5 Tips to Get Your Passport Fast, Experts Say

    Unfortunately, spur-of-the-moment travel might be difficult for those who've never applied or need to renew their expired document, with current processing times taking anywhere from eight to 11 ...

  27. How to Get my U.S. Passport Fast

    Processing times only include the time your application is at a passport agency or center. It may take up to 2 weeks for applications to arrive at a passport agency or center. It may take up to 2 weeks for you to receive a completed passport after we print it. Processing times + mailing times = total time to get a passport; Urgent Travel: See ...

  28. The Travel Essential That Will Help You Remember To Pack Your Passport

    ACdream holder ($12 retail) is an example of a case that checks all of the boxes. In addition to securing your passport, its compact wallet contains several pockets for essentials like credit cards, vaccination records, and boarding passes. Made from sturdy PU leather, the material offers resistance to water damage, too.

  29. Travel Subscription Plans

    At this point, you probably know where we are getting to: yes, AirAsia MOVE's travel subscription plan is coming back! This year, the Unlimited - Asean International Pass is introducing even more deals and even more rewards at RM1,188* per subscription. We have also heard your feedback towards airasia Super+ last year, so we've devised a brand new payment option plan that offers even ...

  30. Passport costs set to rise by more than 7%

    Credit: PA. Passport fees are set to rise by more than 7% next month, the Home Office has announced. The cost of applications made by those over 16 in the UK online will increase from £82.50 to ...