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Old 02-10-2009, 11:18 AM
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Do you need passports if you are an American citizen and cruising only to the Bahamas?

I want to surprise my family with a cruise as a Christmas present but not sure who has passports.

We will only be going to the Bahamas.

Thanks for any information.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:18 AM
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Do you need passports if you are an American citizen and cruising only to the Bahamas?

I want to surprise my family with a cruise as a Christmas present but not sure who has passports.

We will only be going to the Bahamas.

Thanks for any information.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:44 AM
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The last update was beginning 6/1/09 passports will be required for any travel. Who knows if that will last.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:02 PM
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The Bahamas is still a foreign country.

They recently added this link at the Passport website. You choose the country you will be visiting, if it is before or after 6/1/09, answer a couple other questions, and it will tell you the ID requirements.

Enhanced State Driver Licenses are not common. You'd know if you have one. Therefore, unless you have some active duty military people or those who have the other approved IDs (Native American, Merchant Marine) everyone in your family will need either a passport book or a passport card. The passport book is more useful since it can be used for air travel too.
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:52 PM
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The final regulations promulgated by DHS pertaining to sea travel specifically states that "closed loop" cruise travel by US Citizens only requires a state issued photo ID and birth certificate. Closed loop cruise travel is a cruise that leaves from a US port and returns to the same US port. This form of travel was found by DHS to be low risk. They don't make this information easy to find but it is there. Yes, there are good reasons to have a passport but the final regulations are what they are.
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:08 PM
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Regardless, it is just a matter of time before the rules change. Anyone who continues to procrastinate about getting a passport is being foolish. Get over the cost and do it.

Just do it.

Don't plan to surprise the family with a cruise based on the hope that a birth certificate and driver's license will cut it. That is simply not a smart thing to do. They'll be mightily surprised if the rules change and suddenly your family is not allowed to board the ship.

Look at my link. I entered "Bahamas", travel "after June 1", "sea" for the mode of travel, and it said I needed either a passport, a passport card, an enhanced driver license, a military ID, a Merchant Marine ID, or some sort of Native American ID. It didn't mention "closed loop". Why take the chance? It is silly to micro-analyze these things and continually come up with "oh DHS says this, and INS says that".

Yes, the Closed Loop thing is addressed in the link. Want to bet your next pay check on it? And as always, all bets are off if you have to fly home since that already requires a passport (book form).

I have long since become annoyed by this topic cropping up again and again, I am going to close this thread.
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