How to travel outside the US Territories and How to obtain a Passport
U.S. Citizens traveling to, and returning directly from a U.S. territory are not considered to have left the U.S. territory and do not need to present a passport. The US Virgin Islands are territories of the United States. That means that any US Government recognized photo ID such as a Drivers License and certified copy of your birth certificate with raised seal are acceptable for travel to St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, and Water Island.
As of June 1, 2009 - All travelers including children must present a passport or secure travel document when entering the United States by AIR, SEA and LAND. This does not include traveling to and from the US Territories, but it is a good idea to have your passport anyway.
Cruise ship Passengers - U.S. and Canadian citizens arriving on cruises from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Caribbean will be able to enter or depart the country with proof of identity and citizenship, such as a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID. However you may still be required to show a passport at foreign docks so be sure to inquire with your shipmaster before sailing.
There are different rules and laws for Canadian, Burmudian and Mexican citizens so please see this site for further information: International Citizens
The Trusted Traveler Programs provide expedited travel for pre-approved, limited hand out, and low risk travelers through dedicated lanes. They are as follows:
- NEXUS (CBP). Provides expedited travel via land, air or sea to approved members between the U.S. and Canada border.
- SENTRI (CBP). Provides expedited travel to approved members between the U.S. and Mexico border.
- FAST (CBP). Provides expedited travel to approved commercial truck drivers between the U.S and Canada and U.S. and Mexico borders.
- Global Entry (CBP). Expedited screening and processing for pre-screened International travelers entering the United States.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) was put into action January 23, 2007. It requires ALL PERSONS traveling by AIR to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and The Caribbean Region to have on their person a Passport or other valid travel documentation to enter or re-enter the United States. The US Virgin Islands are NOT part of the Caribbean Region. Below shows what the current US Territories include and what the Caribbean Region includes;
| US Territories Include
||Caribbean Region |
Northern Mariana Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands
Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
Jamaica (except for business travel)
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Turks and Caicos |
Is a Passport?
A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue or verify United States passports.
Must apply for a Passport?
Any US Citizen traveling OUTSIDE the U.S. States and it's U.S. Territories.
If you are younger then 18 years old you need only have a birth certificate.
Had had your current passport more then 15 years
Have Lost or had your passport Stolen (you will also need Form DS-6454)
To apply for a passport Nationwide?
U.S. Office of Passport Services
To apply for a U.S. Passport?
You must be a U.S. Citizen or National. One passport per person.
If this is your FIRST TIME you will need to complete and submit a DSP-11 application for each person applying. The application must be submitted with the following:
# 1. PROOF OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP
#2. PROOF OF IDENTITY
#3. TWO (2x2) (Face Forward Head shots) PHOTOGRAPHS
Expect the processing time to take between 6 to 8 weeks possibly longer as there has been a huge back log since the summer of 2007. Contact our office to learn more about visiting the US Virgin Islands.
All information courtesy of U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs June, 2009
More passport Information