When Do You Need a Passport to Go to Alaska?

April 24, 2024

3 min. read


alaska cruise document requirements

The beautiful Alaska! The 49th state that was constituted in 1959. Many iconic views await to be seen! Southcentral Alaskan tidelands and shorebirds during migration, Tongass National Forest with giant trees, Arctic horizon, Alaska Native dancers, national parks, northern lights—the list goes on.

First thing first. To see the largest state in the U.S., a traveler must figure out proper documentation for traveling to Alaska by car, plane, boat, or the Alaska Marine Highway System.

When do you need a passport to go to Alaska?

Let us settle all your concerns!

In Focus

Do you need a passport to go to Alaska?

There are a few scenarios for travelers of how to embrace the beauty of the Alaskan scenery. One can travel to Alaska on a cruise, drive to the state, or fly from the Lower 48 to Alaskan Juneau or Anchorage. Let’s clear out every scenario step by step.

The general rule for U.S. citizens:


U.S. travelers passing borders from state to state don’t have to hold a passport.

Still, U.S. citizens of 18 and older need Real-ID Compliant identification to fly domestically starting May 2023. This can be a state-issued real ID, U.S. passport, military ID, etc.

If you think you’d better apply for a passport, get a passport photo with PhotoBooth Online. The great thing about it is that you can save a lot by taking a digital passport photo online and printing it for less than $1 at a local store. As easy as ABC. You can try it right this moment.

Now, what’s the deal with visiting Alaska from the contiguous U.S.? If you do not board in any other foreign country and traverse en route, then you don’t need a U.S. passport to go to Alaska. Now, let’s look into specifics.

Do you need a passport to drive to Alaska?

passport for alaska cruise

The crux here is that you can only reach the Alaskan territories by car if you enter Canada. Therefore, you can drive to Alaska by car, but you need your passport or an alternative document as proof of your citizenship to pass through the neighboring county.

Apart from a U.S. passport, you can also use one of a few government-issued photo IDs. You can utilize a government-issued birth certificate, a consular report of birth abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State or a certificate of naturalization issued by USCIS, passport card, NEXUS membership card (U.S. citizens only), enhanced driver’s license for entry into Canada, with Alaska as your final destination.

Usually, you would need a passport-style photo to apply for such documents. If you take a photo for your identification document yourself, make sure you follow the official guidelines and know exactly how big a passport photo must be.

Do you have to go through customs to drive to Alaska?

On your way to Alaska, you need to pass the U.S.-Canadian border patrol. You’ll have to answer a few questions like stating the nature of your visit, how many days you’ll spend in the country, the amount of money you have with you, whether you plan on working there, and the like.

Please study the rules before departure so as not to be turned away at the border or pulled into a secondary questioning.

Do you need a passport for an Alaska cruise?

passport required for alaska cruise

It can get tricky to decipher what documents you need to go to Alaska on a cruise. The bottom line is the type of cruise you’ll take. U.S. Passport Requirements here are as follows.

Passport entry requirements to go to Alaska for US Citizens

Alaskan cruises that begin and end in the U.S. as a closed-loop itinerary.

There is only one way possible when you do not need a passport to go on a cruise to Alaska. It occurs when your Alaska cruise starts and ends in the same port of the United States. For instance, in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc. There is no current requirement that a U.S. traveler should have a valid passport to go to Alaska this way.

U.S. citizens without a passport must prove their citizenship using one of the following documents. Otherwise, you might be denied boarding:

  • Naturalization certificate or original, certified birth certificate from the state/province of birth together with,
  • A current and valid government-issued photo identification, like a driver’s license. A US citizen may also present a U.S. pass card.

The documents that will not suffice to go to Alaska on a cruise are a hospital certificate, an oral or written declaration of citizenship, and such.

16 years and under


Currently, youngsters 16 and under do not require photo IDs. Although, it’s usually recommended to be in possession of one.

Please remember there is an overall recommendation to have a U.S. valid passport while traveling by cruise, in case unforeseen circumstances emerge. For example, when you need to depart home from a foreign port prior to your journey ending or fly back to the United States by plane.

Although, there is no current official rule to have a passport for closed-loop itinerary cruises to Alaska.

Alaskan cruises that start or end in another foreign port, including Canada

When your cruise itinerary starts and ends in a foreign port, do you need a passport to go to Alaska? The answer is yes. You must carry a valid passport when you are on a non-closed loop cruise with foreign port stops on your itinerary.

Do you need passport to go on Alaska cruise with stop in Vancouver?

Your cruise ship may have a stop in an overseas port on its way to Alaska. For example, Canadian harbors, say, Vancouver. It only means that you need to hold a valid passport to go to Alaska.

Do you need a passport to go to Alaska by plane?

alaska cruise do you need a passport

If you are departing from the U.S. en route to Alaska by air travel with no layovers, you do not need a valid passport. A government-issued photo ID or state driver’s license is enough for entry into Alaska.

If you are traveling from outside of the United States, you will need a passport to go to Alaska by plane as it’ll be an international flight.

Passport requirements to go to Alaska for non-US citizens

Non-US and non-Canadian citizens who go to Alaska are required to have a passport and, typically, a multiple reentry visa (B-2 Visitor’s Visa). Please note it’s always the travelers’ responsibility, unlike the cruise line or vacation provider’s, to know and adhere to the passport rules when you go to Alaska or any other country.

Always check with your passport-issuing facility or with your embassy or consulate in the U.S. whether you need a valid passport, visa, or other supporting documents to travel to Alaska.

For U.S. resident aliens (green card holders), it’s necessary to carry a current and valid alien resident card together with their passport.

Foreign cruise passengers sailing to Alaska are required to have a passport and one or several visas for countries on their itinerary.

Be sure you follow the latest official regulations on whether you need a passport to go to Alaska before setting off for your journey.