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:
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)
- Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan, Tinian, Rota)
- American Samoa (Tutuila, Aunuʻu, Ofu, Olosega, Taʻū, Swains (Uninhabited), Rose Atoll (Uninhabited)
You MAY be able to visit our neighbors to the north and the south, depending on the circumstances:
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.
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:
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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