Headed to the US Virgin Islands for spring break? They're US territories and you won't need a passport, but note that you will need id (like a driver's license) and you may be asked to prove US citizenship (like a birth certificate if you don't have a passport -- more details below); reader Valora wrote recently, "I thought I was clear to travel to and from St Thomas with my driver's license. I got to the airport for my return flight and caught h*ll from the TSA agent for not having a passport or birth certificate." Yeah, no, don't need h*ll from the TSA! While it's wonderfully true that St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John are US territories, meaning no passport is needed to travel to these Caribbean islands, the USVI is considered a "port of entry" -- and thus, you may be asked to prove you are a US citizen when you return to the mainland (as in with a birth certificate or, yeah, passport -- a passport, by itself, proves your citizenship; if you're traveling by sea, you can also use a PASS card). And remember that TSA agents sometimes have different interpretations of what the actual laws are... ask for a supervisor if you get given a hard time over your ID (back in the day when you could still cross the Mexican border with just a driver's license and birth certificate, I saw US residents given a very hard time for not having passports when re-entering the US -- those folks were fine with what ID they had, but government employees at borders and airports can be terrifically testy). So: remember that you will need to prove who you are and may wish to be able to easily prove that you are a US citizen -- bring either one official government issued picture identification like a current driver's license or a photo ID card (which can be issued to non-drivers by your state's motor vehicles department), or two forms of non-photo identification (one needs to be state-issued), plus your birth certificate.... or (of course) a passport. Learn more:
- Do I need a passport to go to the Caribbean?
- Complete list of US territories
- Ways to visit the Caribbean without a passport
- How to expedite a passport application yourself
- How to get your first passport
- How to check US passport application status