How to Travel in the US Without a Passport

travel in us without passport

People often associate traveling abroad with passport-stamp-worthy journeys, yet this remarkable nation boasts stunning destinations that can be discovered without one. There are islands and beaches nearby which feel like new worlds to discover!

Discover breathtaking island escapes, thrilling outdoor adventures and unique cultural experiences in these incredible destinations – all you need is a raised seal birth certificate and photo ID!

1. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an idyllic Caribbean destination, boasting beautiful beaches and rainforests as well as vibrant cafecito culture. Additionally, this charming island is famed for its flourishing contemporary arts scene (green banana escabeche and yucca fritters with blue crab are local delicacies!) as well as boutique hotels that make an ideal weekend escape.

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and thus US residents do not require a passport to visit it; all they need is their government-issued identification document such as their driver’s license to fly there and visit.

Puerto Rico has seen an upswing in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2022 saw an all-time record high number of travelers to arrive, according to Discover Puerto Rico. Summer events on its events calendar include Festival de las Flores and Festival del Mojo Isleno for gourmets looking for an immersive culinary experience.

The Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917 granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship, meaning it’s treated as a state for immigration and travel purposes. This makes travel planning much simpler for tourists who wish to avoid applying for passports while American cell phone service providers cover Puerto Rico without additional charges or additional coverage fees.

2. US Virgin Islands

If you’re searching for an island getaway without needing to bring along your passport, the US Virgin Islands could be just what you’re after. Offering luxurious culture, year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches and one of the Caribbean’s most sustainable regions with national parks that preserve local fauna on land and in waterways – USVI offers everything from luxurious culture and warm temperatures all year long to stunning wildlife parks that protect local species on both shores!

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As it’s an American territory, American citizens don’t require a passport when traveling to the USVI. Furthermore, this destination does not fall within the State Department’s country information or risk level system, providing extra assurance when exploring.

St Thomas is home to Charlotte Amalie, where you can explore Danish architecture and shop local markets. Magens Bay or Honeymoon Beach at Virgin Islands National Park feature crystal-clear waters for swimming or sunning yourself; other popular USVI destinations are St John and St Croix; while Water Island provides more intimate experiences.

Travel in the USVI is simple; rental cars or taxis are your best bets for getting around. Make sure to pack raincoats, insect repellent, your US ID for entry purposes, cash (many places only accept US dollars), as well as passport. If you wish to venture over to British Virgin Islands during your visit by boating over, be aware that passport is needed.

3. Hawaii

From New York’s cityscape to Hawaii’s lava fields, the United States provides many alluring destinations. Yet few people know that most US citizens don’t need a passport in order to visit these alluring spots – all you need is valid identification such as a driver’s license. You could even consider carrying one of DHS trusted traveler cards such as Global Entry or NEXUS instead!

Hawaii is an idyllic tropical island state. Home to 12 out of the 14 climate zones worldwide and home to an astounding variety of plants, animals, and cultures; Hawaii boasts Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Kahoolawe as its best-known islands.

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If you are an American and travelling from within the continental US to Hawaii by plane, only a driver’s license is necessary. If arriving via another country (e.g. LAX > Tokyo > Honolulu), however, then a passport would be needed.

Starting May 7, 2025, the TSA will require all air travelers to possess a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or other form of identification in order to travel domestically. Standard identity cards may suffice until that point; it is advised that travelers bring copies of their itinerary and reservation confirmations just in case their passports get stolen or lost during travel.

4. Alaska

If your flight from another US state directly to Alaska does not include stops in Canada or at another Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant border crossing, however, a passport or other WHTI document will be necessary.

If your cruise departs from Seattle and stops in Alaska and Vancouver, for instance, children traveling aboard will require either a passport or other WHTI compliant document – such as an enhanced Driver’s License – to enter Canada and return home safely as it considers these ports of entry as international rather than domestic ports of entry.

Even if the cruise is considered “closed loop”, meaning that its itinerary starts and ends in a U.S port, all applicable rules still apply as though you were boarding and disembarking in separate cities.

If your Alaskan cruise begins and ends in one U.S. port, you will still require valid passport or other WHTI compliant documents to board and exit the ship. If, however, the cruise begins and ends in different ports then its rules are similar to any cruise departing the U.S. with ports of call in foreign countries.

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