Your Cruise Passport, Visa and Other ID Documents

A Passport is your key to traveling safely AND legally on your cruise vacation! The far-reaching itineraries of today’s cruise lines require you to carry proper travel documents. U.S. and Canadian citizens need proof of citizenship when taking a cruise to any destination. A passport is required for Europe, South America, the Orient, India, Africa and the South Pacific. Various countries require visas for entry.

Beginning January 23, 2007, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be required to present a valid passport, Air NEXUS card, or U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document, or an Alien Registration Card, Form I-551, if applicable.

As early as June 1, 2009, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea (including ferries), may be required to present a valid passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.

While this was scheduled originally for January 1, 2008, recent legislative changes (June 8, 2007) permits a later deadline. The Departments of State and Homeland Security are working to meet all requirements as soon as possible. Ample advance notice will be provided to enable the public to obtain passports or passport cards for land/sea entries.

You can download Images of Documents That Travelers Will Need here at no charge.

The passport requirement does NOT apply to U.S. citizens traveling to or returning directly from a U.S. territory. U.S. citizens returning directly from a U.S. territory are not considered to have left the United States and do not need to present a passport. U.S. territories include the following: Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Travel Documents for U.S. Citizens Under WHTI

Under the proposed implementation plan, the following documents will be acceptable to fulfill document requirements:

  • U.S. Passport: U.S. citizens may present a valid U.S. passport when traveling via air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda, and may also use a U.S. passport when traveling via sea and land borders (including ferry crossings).
  • The Passport Card (also referred to as the PASS Card): This limited-use passport in card format is currently under development and will be available for use for travel only via land or sea (including ferries) between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. Similar in size to a credit card, it will fit easily into a wallet.
  • DOS and DHS also anticipate that the following documents will continue to be acceptable for their current travel uses under WHTI: SENTRI, NEXUS, FAST, and the U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document. As proposed, members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty traveling on orders will continue to be exempt from the passport requirement.

Residents of other countries require a passport for all sailings, and may require additional documentation. Check with your booking agent or the Consulate for each port you will visit for any specific documents you need to obtain prior to your cruise.

You may also want to check the World Travel Guide for additional destination specific requirements.


As of January 23, 2007, a new American law will require Canadians to carry a passport to travel to the United States by air.

Until January 23, 2007, Canadians can enter the United States by all modes of travel by simply providing proof of citizenship and identity, such as a birth certificate and a government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver’s licence). After January 23, 2007, only requirements for travel by air to the United States will change. Canadians can continue to use such documents as their birth certificates and drivers’ licences to cross the Canada-U.S. border by land and sea for at least another year.

In order to continue to be able to travel to the United States by air after January 23, 2007, Canadians are advised to have a valid passport. In the case of travellers crossing into the United States through the Vancouver International Airport, where there is a NEXUS Air program – a joint Canada-U.S. trusted traveller program – a NEXUS Air membership when used at a NEXUS Air kiosk is also acceptable in place of a passport.

Subsequent to January 1, 2008, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea (including ferries), may be required to present a valid passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.

We strongly recommend that Canadians obtain a Passport for all forms of travel outside Canada.

For information on obtaining a Canadian Passport please visit the Canadian Passport Office .

For further information on obtaining a United States Passport please visit the United States Department of State.



A child traveling with an adult who is not the parent or legal guardian must possess a notarized parental/guardian consent letter that authorizes the minor to travel and that further authorizes medical treatment in case of an emergency.

You can find a sample consent letter here. You can modify the letter to suit your needs.

Note: If a parent/guardian is divorced or deceased, custody document or death certificate is required.

Canada Entry Requirements

stipulate that a child under the age of 18 traveling alone, or with person(s) other than both parents, should be in possession of a letter (preferably notarized) from the parents or legal guardian containing:

  • authorization for the child to travel with another person and to be outside the country;
  • the name and a 24-hour contact telephone number of the parents or guardian; and
  • the destination and length of stay in Canada.

Adoptive parents, legal guardians or persons separated or divorced are advised to keep legal and other relevant documents available in order to clarify custody rights.

Due to stricter Canadian entry requirements, immigration officials advise that citizens from certain countries will require a visa in order to visit or transit Canada. Guests who are not US or Canadian citizens may check with Citizenship and Immigration Canada for a listing of restricted nationalities, to determine if a visitor visa is necessary.

Subsequently, all guests belonging to nationalities that require a visa to enter Canada will be denied boarding if they do not possess such a visa. Exceptions will be made for holders of a US Alien Resident Card and holders of a Canadian Residency Permit.

Documentary Requirements for Canadian and Mexican Residents

In general, a nonimmigrant visitor must have a valid nonimmigrant visa and a passport that is valid for a minimum of 6-months beyond the initial period of stay in the United States. Even though certain individuals may be exempt the visa and passport requirement, the burden of proof is on the applicant to establish eligibility to enter the United States.

“Burden of proof” is discussed in the Immigration and Nationality Act section 291. Under current heightened security measures in effect at all ports-of-entry, including those at land border crossing points, each person wishing to enter the United States is responsible for having sufficient documentation to establish identity and citizenship.

NOTE: CBP heightened security now requires that each person may have to present identification that has a photograph attached.

Entry of Citizens of Canada in to the United States

Citizens of Canada are exempt from the visa and passport requirement of Immigration and Nationality Act (section 212(a)(7).) To enter the United States, a Canadian citizen must be able to establish both identity and citizenship. Documents that may establish citizenship are:

  • Birth certificate
  • Citizenship certificate
  • Passport.

Although a CBP officer may accept an oral declaration of citizenship, it is recommended that a Canadian citizen carry a document that establishes citizenship. Under current procedures, all travelers may be required to present photo-identification.

NOTE: A Canadian citizen arriving from outside the Western Hemisphere is required to present a passport. Canadian citizens classified as Treaty Trader, Treaty Investor, or Fiancé(e) require a visa.

Entry of Non-Citizen Residents in Canada or Bermuda

Effective March 17, 2003, citizens of Ireland and nationals of British Commonwealth countries resident in Canada or Bermuda are required to present a valid non-immigrant visa for entry to the United States, unless they are a national of a country designated eligible to enter under the Visa Waiver Program. Information in obtaining a visa while in Canada is available on the Website of the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Canada.

Entry into the United States Under the Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of 27 countries to apply for entry to the United States without a nonimmigrant visa if they are seeking entry for 90 days or less as a visitor for business or pleasure. Applicants under the VWP must have a valid, unexpired passport. Countries designated under this program are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and The United Kingdom.

Entry of Citizens of Mexico into the United States

In general, a citizen of Mexico must have a passport and nonimmigrant visa or Form DSP-150 (also known as a “Laser Visa”). Form DSP-150 is a biometric, machine readable, B1-B2 Visa/border crossing card that may be used to enter the United States from within the Western Hemisphere. If coming from outside the Western Hemisphere, a passport is required.

This information is from US Customs and Border Protection

Your Responsibility…

All travel documents required for disembarkation at various ports of call are your responsibility and should be carried with you.

Passengers will not be able to board the ship without proper documentation.

Important: Visa requirements vary by destination and do change from time to time. Be sure to check with your booking agent to verify current regulations.

Confirm the spelling of your names are correct on all documents and verify the forenames and surnames given match those on your valid passport.

You may also require government issued photo identification such as a driver’s license.

The name on your cruise and air tickets must be the same as on your identification, for immigration and customs purposes.

Passports may be required to be valid for at least 6 months or more past your expected return date. Check with your booking agent, consulate or embassy of countries you may be visiting to ensure the validity of the expiry date of your passports. Citizens of other nationalities may require different documentation and tourist visas.

Passport and Documentation Resources

To obtain an original birth certificate, you can contact your hospital of birth or the Vital Statistics Department of the County where you were born.

For more information on obtaining a United States Passport, please visit United States Department of State .

For information on obtaining a Canadian Passport please visit the Canadian Passport Office .

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