As an American citizen, you may travel without needing a passport if arriving by land or sea – including Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico (by land) and Canada on closed-loop cruises.
However, things are changing with the implementation of the REAL ID Act in 2025. Here’s everything you should know prior to traveling abroad.
Many Americans are surprised to learn of the abundance of exotic destinations within the US without the need for a passport. From adventure, beaches, glaciers, historic landmarks or scenic drives there is something special in every state and territory to see and do in America.
Hawaii is one of the top travel destinations for Americans traveling without passports, boasting over 370 islands that span more than 2,000 miles from West Coast of United States yet easily reachable by plane. Honolulu serves as capital and is full of hotels, restaurants and attractions for visitors to enjoy during their visit.
Yosemite National Park is another top tourist destination for Americans to explore, known for its magnificent sequoia trees and spectacular waterfalls. Visitors can marvel at them from multiple viewpoints – be it aboard an iconic Maid of the Mist boat tour or hiking along trails for optimal views.
If you plan to travel to any of these destinations, be sure to have a valid driver’s license or ID card before embarking on your trip. Adults are required to present government-issued photo ID for domestic flights – be sure to update yours prior to 2025 to comply with REAL ID regulations.
Northern Mariana Islands
Located north of Guam in the Pacific Ocean, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is one of two US territories (with Puerto Rico being the other) where entering without a passport is permissible. Although small in size, CNMI boasts a vibrant culture due to its colonial past with Spain, Germany and Japan; home to indigenous Chamorro people as well as micronesians and Asian immigrants who later settled here; its beaches such as Micro Beach on Saipan or Lau Lau Beach near Lau Lau Beach are popular tourist spots as is diving destination known as Eagle Ray City for diving enthusiasts.
The Southern Region of the CNMI encompasses Rota, its southern portion, Tinian, as well as several smaller uninhabited islands. This region features coastal cliffs and sandy beaches – particularly on Rota itself and around Taga Stone, an exceptional limestone formation.
As US passport backlogs continue to swell, Americans are exploring lesser-traveled destinations that don’t require passports for exploration. The Northern Mariana Islands provide an idyllic snapshot into American travel’s exotic side with white-sand beaches strewn over turquoise waters and verdant tropical landscapes bursting with adventures; all visitors need is non-expired government-issued photo ID and plane ticket to travel here.
Guam offers travelers a passport-free alternative to Caribbean destinations that require passports, such as Jamaica. But traveling there can be more complex than to either of the other U.S. territories due to longer flights with multiple layovers required for passage between each flight segment – before booking any itinerary that involves Guam make sure there are no international locations that require one!
The US Virgin Islands and Guam offer lush rainforests and sparkling beaches, making them a tropical paradise for both nature-lovers and beachgoers alike. Both destinations boast stunning white-sand beaches with crystal-clear waters ideal for swimming or snorkeling; in addition to this they have world-class resorts where visitors can stay comfortably during their visit to these idyllic destinations.
Military travel to Guam can be complex as it is considered a foreign country under U.S. Constitution; therefore it’s essential to plan in advance. Members of the military should ensure they receive any vaccinations required prior to traveling there.
As it’s essential that you carry government-issued photo ID and proof of citizenship at all times while on Guam, and in case you travel out of Guam to another country later on you must possess a valid passport in order to reenter the United States afterward.
Other U.S. Territories
No matter where your travels may take you, Americans have no shortage of passport-free getaway options within the US to choose from. From natural beauty and European-influenced cities to thrilling outdoor adventures and 12 of 14 climate zones – American citizens have plenty of passport-free getaways available.
Caribbean islands are popular vacation spots without passport requirements for Americans, with cruises departing from major ports in the U.S. However, before May 2025 you will need to ensure your state-issued driver’s license or ID meets REAL ID standards in order to fly domestically as well as visit national monuments, federal buildings, or loved ones at military installations. This new requirement ensures you will remain passport free!
St. Thomas is one of the premier Caribbean destinations that can be visited without needing a passport, offering rich culture and luxury living while boasting some of the clearest waters for diving and snorkeling – not to mention being home to an impressive national park with historic ruins and exotic animals.
Grand Turk, a British territory in the Atlantic Ocean, offers another passport-free Caribbean vacation destination. Closed-loop cruises often visit this stunning locale where visitors will find quiet beaches and incredible diving opportunities.