Do I need a passport in order to travel to Alaska from Canada?
We all know that "The Last Frontier", as Alaskans call it, is an American exclave located at the Northwest extremity of the West Coast. It is isolated from the rest of the country and surrounded with territories of other countries - Canada to its east and southeast and Russia to its west. To travel to the United States by land, citizens must bring a passport or other form of federal photo ID.
To visit Alaska by car, you must enter Canada because there is no other way. You don't need a passport. However, you can use WHTI-compliant documents such as:
- U.S. Passport card
- Trusted Traveler Card (NEXUS FAST or SENTRI).
- An enhanced Driver's License
- An Enhanced Tribal Card (ETC).
- For those who are traveling to Canada under military orders, a Military Identification Card is required.
Travelers can travel through Canada with a valid document approved by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
To fly to Alaska, do you need a passport?
It all depends on your travel itinerary. Passengers who are taking a connecting flight that includes a stop in Canada or another country will need to pass through border security.
A photo ID, such as a driver’s license, will suffice if you fly direct to Alaska from another U.S. State. For domestic air travel, U.S. citizens don't need to bring a passport book. You don't need a passport or another WHTI-approved document to fly domestically. Instead, search for flights that originate from and land on U.S. soil. It's easy for you to book a direct flight from Seattle or Minneapolis.
Note: All driver's licenses, photo IDs, and other IDs must be REAL ID compliant by May 3, 2023. A REAL ID is a photo ID that is federally recognized across the United States. It can be used to board domestic flights and enter federal facilities like courts or military bases.
To cruise to Alaska, do you need a passport?
A big cruise ship might be the perfect way to make your dream vacation. Either a closed-loop cruise, which begins and ends in the U.S., or a cruise that includes sightseeing in Canada during which you can disembark.
The first case, when you board and depart the United States, does not require a passport or WHTI document. Although it is not required, you should carry one in case you need to change your travel plans or return home sooner by air or land.
The following documents can be used to identify you in this situation:
- A U.S. Passport Book and/or Passport Card
- An Enhanced Driver's License
- One of the Trusted Traveler Cards
- Your birth certificate and a government-issued photo identification.
While birth certificates can be used with a photo ID issued by the government (e.g. a driver's licence) on cruise ships, it is always recommended that you bring a passport or other approved documents from the WHTI. It is a more reliable, widely accepted government identification document and it is easier to keep with you than a birth certificate or other forms of ID.
To take the ferry from Alaska, do you need a passport?
It can be exhausting to drive for so long. If you don't want to, it is always possible to take a ferry. You can drive a car to Alaska, but you can also relax on the way.
The Alaska Marine Highway System offers a direct Alaska cruise that departs from Bellingham, WA. You can use the WHTI document mentioned above to identify yourself if your ferry stops at a Canadian port.
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Are you required to have a passport to travel to Alaska? FAQ
This section will answer the most frequently asked questions about "Do I need a passport to travel to Alaska?"
Are you able to travel to Alaska without a passport?
You must have a valid passport, a passport book, or passport card if you plan to travel to Alaska from Canada. This includes a stop at an airport in Canada or disembarkation at a port in Canada.
Can you drive to Alaska from Canada without having to pass through Canada?
No. To drive to Alaska, you must pass through Canada.
Are Alaska and Canada connected?
Alaska has two (two) Canadian provinces connected to it on its eastern side, Yukon Territory or British Columbia.
To take the ferry from Bellingham WA to Alaska, do I need a passport?
You don't have to bring your passport or any WHTI-approved documents if your ferry is going directly from Washington to Alaska. It's better to have it with you just in case your travel plans change or you need to return home in a different manner.
A passport to Alaska - Summary
Many Americans love Alaska as a great place to travel. It is part of the United States but it is unique. Alaska's uniqueness is in its geographic location. To enter Alaska, you must fly or take a ferry. If you drive through Canada, you will need to cross the border.
You should always bring valid federally recognized identification in case you need it for crossing into or stopping in Canada. Make sure you have all the necessary documents and then enjoy your Alaskan adventure!