Do You Need A Passport To Visit Jamaica As A U.S. Citizen?


Do you need a passport to go to Jamaica? That is the question many families find themselves confronted with when traveling to the Caribbean paradise island of Jamaica. The quick answer? Yes. All air travelers to Jamaica need a passport. For travel under 90 days, a visa is not needed.

Cruise visitors can use another Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document for travel to Jamaica, but even if you’re headed there on a cruise, get your passport in order anyway just in case you need to return home by air quickly in the event of an emergency.

Read on to find out more about the passport requirements for travel to Jamaica, and how to have a hassle-free journey with the entire family!

Bonus tip: If you’re traveling through Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, spend some extra on Club Mobay. It’ll speed up the immigration process and make sure you are lounging at your resort in no-time. Worth every penny! For this, and other helpful travel tips read ‘28 Helpful Travel Tips For Jamaica: Dos & Don’ts’.


In this article on the Beaches Blog:

Do I need a passport when flying?
Do I need a passport when cruising to Jamaica?

Passport cards
Trusted Traveler programs
Enhanced Driver's Licenses

I’m stuck in Jamaica without a passport. What do I do?
What to do when your trip exceeds your maximum period of stay
Bonus: Do I need to get vaccinated before traveling to Jamaica?
Bonus: What are the currency restrictions for Jamaica?
Consulate and Embassy contacts in Jamaica and the US / UK


Do I need a passport when flying?

passport-when-flying

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A passport is always required for international air travel. Adults and children traveling by plane need a valid passport book for travel to Jamaica. While U.S. visitors do not need a visa for travel to Jamaica for recreational purposes for a period not exceeding 90 days, it is necessary to show proof of return to immigration officers when entering Jamaica.

Your passport will need to be valid when you enter Jamaica, and when you leave. It’s a good idea to ensure that all travelers have at least 6 months of travel validity left on their passport before expiry ahead of the trip.

Also, check to see that there are at least two blank passport pages left on everyone’s passport book ahead of your trip. This ensures there’s space for entry stamps and the like.

Expert tip: Bring differentiating passport covers for the whole family, so it’s easy to tell which passport belongs to who when at the airport.


Do I need a passport when cruising to Jamaica?

cruising-to-Jamaica

Photo credit: Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.com

You have a bit more flexibility when arriving by sea into Jamaica. In addition to a passport, here are some of the other documents you can use for entry into Jamaica while cruising:

Passport cards
Trusted Traveler programs
Enhanced Driver's Licenses

Even though there are lots of options for travel documents to bring along with you, it is recommended by the U.S. State Department that travelers get a passport for travel into Jamaica or the Caribbean. This will come in handy if you need to leave in a hurry, in the case of an emergency. Travelers going by air will need their passport for re-entry into the United States.

Exception for closed-loop cruises

U.S. citizens that are part of a closed-loop cruise that begins and ends at the same U.S. port can travel with a copy of their birth certificate and a government issued photo I.D. Though you can use a passport card when traveling by sea thanks to the WHTI, it’s a good idea to bring your passport book anyway.

Exceptions for children

Children under 16 travelling by sea can use their birth certificates, as can those under the age of 19 traveling with a school, religious or social group, as well as cultural organizations or sporting teams. An adult chaperon must be present in this case.

Children under 18 can use some forms of photo identification cards with their date of birth to clear Jamaica immigration, but these are not accepted for re-entry into the United States. Passport cards are acceptable for land or sea travel, but not air travel when heading to places within Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Remember: all travelers (adults and children in any age group) need a passport to travel to Jamaica by plane.


What is a passport card?

A passport card works much like a passport book, but is smaller, and the information is limited to that of the photo page of your passport book. It is an acceptable form of travel identification when traveling by land or sea. A passport card for some is a more convenient option, as it is less expensive ($55) than a passport book ($135).


What are Trusted Traveler programs?

Trusted Traveler programs (enabled by the Department of Homeland Security) make it possible for members to use expedited lanes at U.S. airports, and when crossing international borders. These programs require pre-approval, and travelers need to be low risk to qualify. Though these programs target frequent travelers, there isn’t a minimum number of trips required to be eligible.

Trusted Traveler programs include:

  • NEXUS: Generally used to enter the U.S. from Canada through land, air and sea;
  • SENTRI: Generally used to enter the U.S. from Canada and Mexico by air or land;
  • FAST: Generally used to enter and exit the U.S. from Canada and Mexico with a commercial truck.

At time of publication, all of the above memberships can be used as identification when embarking on a cruise to Jamaica. However, none of the Trusted Traveler programs will replace the passport when flying to Jamaica.


What is an Enhanced Driver’s License?

A state-issued Enhanced Driver's License (EDL) is a low-cost alternative to a passport, that works for exiting and re-entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico and some countries of the Caribbean. This card has security features and other perks that make travel safer and more seamless.

At present, the only states issuing EDLs are Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington State. The EDL can only be used at land and sea border crossings, not for air travel.


I’m stuck in Jamaica without a passport. What do I do?

In-Airport

Photo credit: MichaelaZolakova/Shutterstock.com

Many foreign countries have embassies located in Jamaica, including the United States. The first thing you’re going to want to do is reach out to the local U.S. embassy. Whether your passport was lost or stolen, officials at the embassy will be able to help you get your travel documents in order.

Insider tip: The concierge department at Beaches Resorts in Jamaica will be able to help you through this unexpected circumstance. The staff is accommodating and will be able to point you in the right direction.

Here’s some step by step guidelines to get an emergency passport as quickly as possible in Jamaica:

  1. Go to the nearest police station as soon as you can and make a report. Once that is done, get a copy of the report to take with you.
  2. The next thing you should do is contact the U.S. embassy or consulate general closest to you. Provide all the required information, including details of the information included in your police report related to the incident. You will need to provide an airline ticket as proof of your need to travel. The address of the U.S. embassy in Jamaica is provided below.
  3. Complete the DS-11 passport application form.
  4. Fill out the DS-64 form within which you will need to complete a statement regarding the lost passport.
  5. Pay your fees ($110 – the same fee as a new passport).

US Embassy (Kingston)
142 Old Hope Road
Kingston 6
Jamaica, West Indies
Telephone: + (876) 702-6000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: + (876) 702-6000
Fax: + (876) 702-6018
Email: KingstonACS@state.gov

Some of the documents you’ll need to provide to get your emergency passport in order while in Jamaica include:

  • Passport photo.
  • Picture identification, like a driver's license.
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or a photocopy of your missing passport.
  • Travel itinerary (airline or cruise tickets).
  • Police report, if available.

Keep in mind that emergency passports provided under these circumstances will only be valid for a limited time. You will be required to reapply for a new permanent passport once you return home.


What to do when your trip exceeds your maximum period of stay

Negril_aeirals
Picture: Pirates Islands water park at all-inclusive resort Beaches Negril, located on Seven Mile Beach.

Having the time of your life in Jamaica and not quite ready to leave? Happens all the time! You can extend your stay in Jamaica as a visitor to a maximum of six months, which will give you plenty of time to take in the most popular points of interest of this island country.

The stipulated time that you’re permitted to stay in Jamaica will be stamped in your passport by an immigration officer once you arrive. If you wish, you may extend your stay at the local immigration office:

Passport, Immigration & Citizenship Agency Jamaica

25C Constant Spring Road
Kingston 10
Telephone: 754 PICA or 754 7422
Fax: 906-4372
Email: info@pica.gov.jm


Bonus: Do I need to get vaccinated before traveling to Jamaica?

vaccination-1

Photo credit: Numstocker/Shutterstock.com

In some cases, yes. Depending on where you’re from, proof of immunization against measles, rubella and polio may be required. Additionally, visitors from countries where there is a yellow fever risk will need to get vaccinated before traveling to Jamaica. Some of these countries include:

Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Rep., Chad, Congo, Congo (Dem, Rep.) Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.

This list is complete at time of writing, please do check whether it’s still up to date before planning your vacation to Jamaica.

Yellow fever related regulations also apply to travelers who have been in transit for more than 12 hours in the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. In this scenario, it is required to be vaccinated 10 days before arriving in Jamaica.


Bonus: What are the currency restrictions for Jamaica?

dollars

Photo credit: noicherrybeans/Shutterstock.com

Visitors traveling to Jamaica with foreign currency exceeding US $10,000 may be required to declare this to immigration.

Insider tip: Planning on traveling to Jamaica with the family? Beaches Ocho Rios and Beaches Negril are great all-inclusive resorts that are sure to keep everyone happy!


Consulate and Embassy contacts in Jamaica and the US / UK

US Consulate (Montego Bay)
U.S. Consular Agent - Montego Bay
Whitter Village, Ironshore
Unit EU-1 (across from Burger King)
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Telephone: + (876) 953-0620
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica: +(876) 702-6000
Fax: + (876) 953-3898
Appointments are made by phone or email
Email: MobayACS@state.gov

Jamaican Embassy in the USA
Telephone: +1 202 452 0660
Website: https://www.embassyofjamaica.org
Address: NW, 1520 New Hampshire Ave., Washington, 20036

Opening Times: Monday to Friday: 9AM to 5PM (Embassy), 9AM to 1PM (consular service open for walk-ins).

Jamaica High Commission in the UK
Telephone: +44 20 7823 991
Website: https://www.jhcuk.org
Address: 1-2 Prince Consort Road, London, SW7 2BZ

Opening Times: Monday to Thursday: 9AM to 5PM, Fridays from 9AM to 4PM (High commission); Monday to Thursday 9:30AM to 1:30PM, Friday 9:30AM to 12:30PM (consulate)

Disclaimer: All information on this article was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Sandals is not affiliated with immigration authorities or their application centers and will not be liable for loss or inconvenience arising from the use of this volatile information.

Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Writing for 13-years, Kylie discovered that experiences tell the best stories. As a Caribbean mother who wrote for newspapers, magazines, and blogs, she believes inspiration is even found in our kids!

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