Home Travel Where Can You Travel If You Don’t Have A Passport?

Where Can You Travel If You Don’t Have A Passport?

by SharonKurheg

For years, it was said that only 10% of Americans had a passport. That statistic used to be true a few decades ago, but it’s now increased quite a bit. According to the U.S. State Department, there are currently 151,814,305 valid U.S. passports in circulation. With a population of roughly 332,403,650 on January 1, 2022, that converts to just over 45% of people in the U.S. with a passport.

45% is pretty impressive, considering it was close to only 10% just a couple of decades ago. But that’s still almost a couple of hundred million people who don’t have a passport. Sure, plenty of those 180M(+/-) are probably just as happy to travel within the 50 states. But some might like to go somewhere beyond the 50 states in a shorter period of time than how long it takes to get a passport. Or maybe they’ve got an itch to some somewhere and their passport has less than 6 months on it (although there are plenty of places you can still visit under those circumstances). Or it’s missing and now’s not a good time to get a new one. Or maybe, for whatever, they just can’t get a passport.

So where CAN you go, besides the 50 states, if you’re from the U.S. and don’t have a passport? There are actually a small handful of places:

U.S Territories

The U.S.’s unincorporated territories are all places you can go, as long as you have any valid, current U.S. federal or state-issued photo I.D. (the same as if you were traveling to another state) They include:

  • Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Virgin Islands (St. John, St. Croix, St. Thomas)
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan, Tinian, Rota)
  • American Samoa (Tutuila, Aunuʻu, Ofu, Olosega, Taʻū, Swains (Uninhabited), Rose Atoll (Uninhabited)

Foreign Countries

You MAY be able to visit our neighbors to the north and the south, depending on the circumstances:

Mexico

U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Mexico without passports, IF (and this is a big if) they travel by land. If you decide to go that route, you must have either a passport card, a Trusted Traveler ID (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST cards), or a state-issued Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL).

Keep in mind that if you want to enter Mexico via air or sea, you must have a passport.

Canada

Because of the bilateral agreements we have with our friends to the north, you can enter Canada with varying forms of ID. It all depends on how you enter:

Land (i.e. car, bus): Passport card, NEXUS card, Enhanced Driver’s License
Sea: Passport card, NEXUS card, Enhanced Driver’s License
Air: Passport card, NEXUS card

Heads up that regardless of passport status, you can still only get a 180 day entry permit, so you can only stay in Canada for 180 days at a time.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

2 comments

Bill December 8, 2022 - 9:37 am

You need a passport to enter American Samoa. U.S. territory!

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SharonKurheg December 8, 2022 - 9:43 am

No you don’t; that’s why we included it on our list of places you can go without a passport. People with US or state government issued ID don’t have to show a passport to enter US territories. If you’re not from the US, then of course you would have to have a passport to travel there.

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