Can I Travel in the US Without Passport?

American citizens don’t require passports to visit some incredible Caribbean and US Territories destinations, instead using state ID cards, DHS trusted traveler program membership or green cards as travel documents.

Some states also permit travelers to present their driver’s licenses as ID when flying domestically; however, you will need to ensure your ID complies with REAL ID regulations by May 2025.

United States

As an American citizen, you have one of the greatest freedoms when it comes to travel. Within our borders are beautiful beaches, stunning mountain ranges, lush forests, harsh deserts and culturally vibrant cities and towns – an abundance of travel opportunities awaits!

Many of these destinations can be reached without needing a passport. If you live in the United States, a state-issued ID such as a driver’s license or enhanced ID card should suffice to enter most domestic locations; occasionally additional documentation, such as birth certificates or proof of citizenship may also be requested.

Traveling on a closed-loop cruise allows you to visit many Caribbean nations and islands without needing a passport – this trip starts and ends in the same port, enabling you to explore Western Hemisphere without crossing international boundaries.

If you’re seeking out an exotic travel experience, domestic destinations offer plenty of exotic adventures with just state-issued ID. From volcanic islands and beaches with coral-filled waters to otherworldly landscapes like red rock canyons or mountain peaks – America truly has it all. To ensure you don’t experience delays when applying for your passport early is key – standard processing time typically ranges between 10-13 weeks with expedited options also available at an extra fee – traveler should monitor its status regularly.

U.S. Territories

American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico offer tropical getaways without the need for passports – however they require special permission if staying for extended periods. Overstaying one’s visa could result in legal consequences.

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These Caribbean destinations provide travelers with a host of activities and attractions for a memorable vacation experience. While most people know about the US Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, this island chain contains much more. Notable destinations include St. Croix and St John for their beaches alone but they are also home to lush forests with exotic wildlife!

Culebra and Vieques Islands in Puerto Rico provide another fantastic tropical destination, providing stunning beaches, colorful coral reefs, and various hiking experiences for travelers without passports.

If traveling domestically is what interests you, there are still plenty of exciting destinations to visit in the US. Each state boasts unique cultures and natural wonders – Yellowstone National Park in particular offers something truly spectacular for nature enthusiasts, featuring iconic attractions like Old Faithful geyser as well as petroglyphs and Elephant Rock’s natural basin water hole.


Canada, our northern neighbor, is an exquisite country filled with stunning national parks (Banff and Jasper among them), vibrant cities and Indigenous stories. While Canadians tend to be welcoming towards Americans, Canada Border Services Agency does have strict entry regulations pertaining to entry. All American visitors wishing to enter Canada must possess either a passport or alternative travel document when arriving – whether by plane, train, boat or vehicle.

Children aged 16 or under must present a passport book and meet other requirements when traveling by air. Furthermore, when entering any foreign country they need their passport for entry as well as upon their return home.

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Adult travelers to Canada via air are required to present either a passport book or document that conforms with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, such as a NEXUS card, SENTRI card or enhanced driver’s license equipped with RFID chips in order to speed up border crossing. According to both Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Department of State recommendations frequent travelers should consider enrolling in Trusted Traveler programs like NEXUS or Global Entry so as to reduce time at border crossing. Passports and documents must be in good condition in order to successfully cross.


Americans traveling to Mexico without passports need to be mindful of certain restrictions and requirements for entering. Entry depends on your mode of transport – for instance if travelling by car you’ll require both a temporary vehicle import permit as well as an FMM form completed before you enter. You also need a health declaration form completed prior to visiting along with proof of hotel reservations and return tickets.

However, when traveling by closed-loop cruise ship you only require state issued identification and an original birth certificate to enter Mexico. Children aged under 16 traveling with an adult chaperone can use either their birth certificates or naturalization certificates when entering by land or sea; those flying into Mexico will require valid passport books.

Though visiting Mexico without a passport may be possible, visitors should remember that crime levels in major cities remain high. Visitors are advised to take precautions and remain in areas that are well-lit and monitored by security. Furthermore, due to ongoing flu pandemic concerns travelers should carry copies of their vaccination records; due to such concerns reentry may be denied to travellers with influenza symptoms or who visited hospitals with high rates of influenza infections.

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