We are going to the exotic Carribean next September,
and were told by our TA that we would need passports
due to some of the destinations. We could use some
advice on how to go about obtaining passports (where,
how much $$, how long it takes, can I get the photos and
the passports in the same place, and how long are they
good for). Any help you could offer would be greatly
Well you can get your passport picture taken at pretty much any store that has a photo developing service. I had mine taken at Walgreens, they are $7 for the 2 photos (one for the passport and one for the record at the passport office) and are ready for you to take instantly.
Since you have never had a passport before you will have to go and apply for one at a court house or some post offices. I know that our local county clerk of courts office did passport applications. You have to fill out an application and give them the pictures. For first time passports it is a little more expensive, I want to say something like $60/person. I just got mine renewed and it was $40.
They can take up to 2 months to come, but it just depends on how backed up they are at the main processing office closest to you. When we renewed ours in October we had them back within 14 days. If you need them fast there is an option for express processing for $15-20 more.
All the info you need will be found at the site Denny gave you. Although I think getting a passport is a great idea.......if you are a US citizen....I dont know why you would need anything other than a Birth Certificate, as proof of citizenship, to cruise the Carib. Maybe you misunderstood your TA , to my knowledge.....having a BC is still good enough to cruise the Carib. If I am wrong, please, someone correcy me for my info.
I just heard some blurb on the news today that the legislation is looking at travel documents more closely now for travel anywhere and it sounded like there might be some new legislation forthcoming. I heard grumblings of this mid-last year and it sounds like it is coming closer. The "rumors" I heard last year involved passports for ALL travel outside of the United States, including; Mexico, Canada and the Carribean. And keep in mind any of these nations can change their practices at anytime as well and require passports. Better to be safe than sorry in my book. (My book is very very short! )
Even though you are covered in a blanket policy in those countries that require a passport to visit, (I believe that this is in referance to Belize in this case), should something happen and you are required to stay in that country or fly out from that country, you may have some diffuculties in doing so. I would think that it is possible but probably a represenitive of the cruiseline would have to accompany you at all times or some government official. Belize does require a passport for normal entry and exit to their country. Additionally, it has been rumored for a good while now that someday soon a passport will be reuired in most countries that we are now able to visit just using a BC and DL. Best to get one.
I think it's best to get the passport even if the ports don't require it. It's worth the initial investment. There's a good chance you'll love your vacation and want to do more traveling. Your passport is good for 10 years.
My boyfriend just did this last month. I went to the website listed above and printed the application for him. Also, on the site you can search your area for locations of where to apply. You will need a State Issued birth certificate with the raised seal to get the passport and they keep the birth certificate. We filled out the entire form EXCEPT signature, you must sign in person. He then needed 2 separate checks. One for the passport fee and one for the processing and photo. The passport office we went to had a camera (they may not all have this service yet). The total cost was $70 which included $45 for the passport, $15 for the processing and $10 for the photo. Yes, you can get a cheaper photo and take it with you. It was just convenient to have the photo taken there and then you know it's an acceptable photo. It only took 5 minutes at the passport office.
The amazing thing is that it only took 10 days to get it. The website says it can take up to 6 weeks. I've heard others say it's much quicker lately.
My TA told me I'd need a passport as well, but I forgot and then figured my BC would be okay....I'm sailing in 6 weeks...Guess I better get a move on and get a passport? I'm also going to Belize and Costa Rica...
United States and Canadian citizens are required to have a valid passport, OR original birth certificate and a photo ID, OR copy of birth certificate with raised seal and a photo ID, OR naturalization papers and a photo ID.
Jen, This is the correct info. Belize is the only country that requires a Passport to enter thier country in any of the countries that cruise ships normally visit. Even then, Belize has an agreement with cruiselines that passengers of cruise ships do not need a passport, just the BC and ID as they are there less than 24hrs. The only concern would be if you had to disembark in Belize and remain there or even fly out of the country. In that instance I would imagine that someone would be required to be with you and be held responsible for your departure. Summing it up, a Passport is not required at this time for cruising in the Caribbean. That said, let me add that having a Passport is a tremendous help and makes it so much easier to embark/disembark etc. I have one and have no regrets about it. Now I have been able to travel to Tahiti and later this year to Europe without worry. Even now while cruising we have found it to be so much faster getting processed because of our passport, that alone is worth the price.
6 weeks should be more than sufficient time to get the passport. But just in case, make sure you have 2 birth certificates because the Passport office will want to keep one. That way if your passport doesn't come in time, you'll still have the other.
The state issued birth certificates with the raised seal are a MUST everywhere and are usually easy to get within a day or two. Mine only cost $5 and took about 1/2 hour at the State building in Pittsburgh, PA. Although, each state may differ, most people posting on cruisemates have had similar experiences.