Do You Need a Passport for the Virgin Islands?
November 16, 2023
3 min. read
The Virgin Islands are an appealing spot for US travelers with its beautiful beaches and cultural experiences. It’s an outlying Territory of the United States that has been in possession since 1917. As US citizens do not require identification at any state border, supposedly, they shouldn’t require it for the Virgin Islands either.
However, in case you fly from one of the fifty states to the Virgin Islands, you’ll need some proof of US citizenship.
Here, we come to a logical question: do you still need a passport for the Virgin Islands? Will it make a difference if you sail or fly?
Let’s draw a clear picture.
Do you need a passport for the Virgin Islands this and coming year?
As stated by the United States Virgin Islands Port Authority on the official website, passports are not a requirement for US citizens to enter the Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John. At the same time, you may be asked to present a form of identification while leaving the territory for the mainland. For example, a government-issued photo ID. If you fly out, you need a photo ID too.
Non-US citizens should follow US travel regulations and must be ready to present a valid passport.
Do you need a passport to enter the Virgin Islands?
US travelers do not need to carry a passport or hold an entry visa to enter the Virgin Islands (USVI). The Port Authority explains that it might be worth taking a passport for a traveler rather than having to carry two forms of identification needed for departing the US Virgin Islands.
If you plan to use your passport book, make sure its expiration date is fine. It must be valid for you to enter and leave the Islands. It must be safe and sound. You should have it with you, copies are not acceptable.
If you were thinking of getting a passport for the Virgin Islands, you’ve landed at the right place. You can get a valid picture taken for your future document now. It would be a compliant photo of the right size against a white background, just like a Walgreens passport photo.
Still, you can travel to the Virgin Islands without a passport, just like you would go to Alaska, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, Swains Island, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Do I need a REAL ID for the US Virgin Islands?
Starting on May 7, 2025, US travelers must have a REAL ID to fly domestic flights. A REAL ID can be applied at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Do cruise ships sail to the United States Virgin Islands?
You can go to the United States Virgin Islands by boat. There are a few bays that ships reach depending on your itinerary. Among them are the Austin Monsanto Marine Terminal in Crown Bay, the West Indian Company Dock in Havensight, and Cruz Bay in St. John. Please note you don’t have to have a US passport about you according to the official US Virgin Islands passport requirements. Meanwhile, you need a valid form of ID like:
- US Department of Defense ID,
- Driver’s license,
- Raised seal birth certificate,
- Documents compliant with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative,
- Trusted traveler program card, and
- Any other eligible document.
Can I drive in the US Virgin Islands?
You can drive in the Virgin Islands on the left side of the road. Domestic travelers can use their valid driver’s license to hire a car. Foreign licenses of international travelers can be legal to use for 90 days. The law requires you to fasten the seatbelts and to keep from speaking over your smartphone.
What other document do I need for the Virgin Islands?
If you don’t have a passport, the following way is also possible to enter the territory. It takes two conditions in place: to have a signature document with you, like a library card, credit card, or social security card (1), and the Form DS-71 filled out by a person who is a US citizen or resident, who has known you for at least 2 years and can vouch for you (2). Please note that a social security card or a similar document on its own is not a legitimate document to enter the Virgin Islands.
Does a minor need a passport for the Virgin Islands?
Just like adult US citizens, minors can reach the destination using their passports. At the same time, birth or citizenship certificates are eligible to sufficiently prove their US citizenship. Adults with children other than their parents or guardians must be prepared to show a notarized consent letter from their parents or guardians to comply with the immigration and passport rules for the Virgin Islands.