Cruise documentation for minors--Age requirements
First, what age is the child? According to the State Department, an adult is anyone who is 16 years old (sixteen) or older. For the purposes of this article, a "child" is anyone no older than 15 (fifteen).
Do children need passports for closed-loop cruises?Second: Is this a "closed loop" cruise? Closed-loop cruises are those that leave from the U.S. and return to the same port. They visit Canada, Mexico and/or the Caribbean islands (including Bermuda).
Closed loop itineraries are very popular. They include the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, and Alaska. Adults do not need a passport for a closed-loop cruise. However, you will need to show proof of your identity (such as a driver’s license or passport) and proof of citizenship (usually your birth certificates). Only children 15 years old and younger need their U.S. Birth Certificate.
Hawaii day cruises and cruises
If your cruise ship leaves from or returns to the same U.S. location AND visits only U.S. ports (day cruises up to Hawaii), adults need a valid government-issued photograph ID. Children don't require any ID. The child must travel with an adult.
Cruises for children without a passport -- exceptions
It is important to choose the cruise line that you are sailing on. A few cruise lines, such as Holland America and Princess, require that all children travel with one parent. This applies even to closed-loop cruises.
Other cruise lines, such as Crystal Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, require that all passengers have passports regardless if they are from the same country.
Do children need a passport to travel on a non-closed-loop cruise ship?
All passengers must have a valid passport for all other cruises. A one-way cruise is one in which the ship leaves one port and returns to another port of entry, even though both are U.S. ports. Every passenger, including children, must have their passport.
Closed-loop is not applicable to cruises that depart from non-U.S. ports, such as Canada or Mexico. However, it can return home to the same port. Every passenger, including children, must possess a valid passport.
The small wallet-sized passport cards are not sufficient; the passport book must be full-sized and ready for stamping.
All passengers who travel on a cruise ship to international destinations other than the U.S., Canada or Mexico must have a valid passport. Even children.
The power and security of a U.S. passport
Popular cruises to the Caribbean, Alaskan and Mexican islands are very popular. These sailings are very popular with many cruisers who travel without a passport. They can use their driving license or birth certificate to make the trip. But, all adults over 16 (sixteen years) should have a passport. It is the best travel document to use for international travel.
Passports are universally accepted because they combine identification and citizenship, whereas a driving-license-&-birth-certificate combo might get refused. Do not take chances that could ruin your vacation. Your children should have their passports by now. Fill out the forms and pay the fees.
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Children's cruise passport requirements: FAQ
Below are some questions that we will answer about cases where children require a passport to cruise.
Is it necessary for my child to have a passport in order to cruise to the Bahamas?
Yes, generally. However, an original birth certificate is sufficient if the cruise is closed-loop.
Is it necessary for a child 11 years old to have a passport in order to travel to Canada?
A passport is not required if it is a closed-loop cruise. Everyone must have a passport if the trip does not start and end at the same U.S. location.
Is it necessary to have a passport for a Royal Caribbean cruise for children under 18 years old?
A passport is not required if the cruise stops outside of U.S. territories. All passengers, regardless of their age, will need a passport.
Is a 7-year-old child required to have a passport in order to cruise?
All passengers must have a valid passport if the cruise departs from U.S. territory. Closed-loop cruises are exempt from this requirement.
Do you need a passport to travel on a cruise from the U.S. for a child under 2 years old?
Most cases, yes. Children may be permitted to board a cruise if it starts and ends at the same port in the United States (closed loop).
Is a child required to have a passport to travel on cruises?-Summary
It's never too late to get your child their first passport. Even though passports may not be necessary in all cases, it's better to be safe than sorry. A passport can make it easier to return home if you are forced to cancel your cruise at a foreign port.
AiPassportPhoto will help you prepare for the application. You can get great pictures of your children online and have them ready in no time.