Note: Passport laws are currently undergoing changes, so please check this page regularly for updates.
Last update: March 23, 2011
All passengers are required to carry valid Proof of Citizenship before being allowed to board a cruise ship. Bringing proper proof of citizenship is the responsibility of the guest. Any guest traveling without proper documentation will be denied boarding by the cruise ship and no refund of the cruise fare will be issued. Please read this page carefully.
New U.S. Birth Certificate Requirement
Beginning April 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of State will require the
full names of the applicant's parent(s) to be listed on all certified
birth certificates to be considered as primary evidence of U.S.
citizenship for all passport applicants, regardless of age. Certified
birth certificates missing this information will not be acceptable as
evidence of citizenship. This will not affect applications already in-
process that have been submitted or accepted before the effective date.
We recommend a passport be used for all cruises.
All travelers will be required to have a passport to enter or re-enter the United States. This is a change from prior travel requirements. The goal is to strengthen border security and facilitate entry into the United States for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors. This new requirement will be known as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).
All U.S. citizens including children must present a passport or secure travel document when entering the United States.
Passport processing times have increased due to high volume. Click here for Passport Application processing times
How do I get a passport?
U.S. citizens may read below for information on how to apply for a U.S. passport.
You should allow yourself a sufficient amount of time to apply and receive your passport in advance of travel. Please allow up to 10 weeks for processing of U.S. passport applications. Peak U.S. passport processing is between January and July. We recommend applying as soon as possible prior to your cruise.
Foreign nationals should contact their respective governments to obtain passports.
US Citizens Traveling Internationally
A valid passport is required. Some countries may require the purchase of a visa. Click here to check visa requirements.
Non US-Citizens traveling to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Mexico, Canada or Alaska must present proof of citizenship in the form of:
U.S. Resident Aliens need a valid Alien Resident Card.
Canadian citizens must present a valid passport.
Non-US. citizens need a valid passport and a valid, non-expired U.S. Multiple Re-Entry Visa, if applicable.
For sailings calling on Canadian ports-of-call, certain foreign nationals must obtain a Canadian Visa, in addition to the multiple-entry Visa.
Non-US. citizens must contact the appropriate consulates, U.S. Embassy and U.S. Immigrations office to inquire about necessary travel documentation.
All non-US. citizens and U.S. Resident Aliens must surrender their passport and/or green cards at the time of embarkation. These documents will be returned upon completion of the Immigration inspection.
In addition to these requirements, all guests 16 years of age or older must provide an official photo ID.
Non-US Citizens Traveling Internationally
A valid passport from your Country of Origin is required. Some countries may require the purchase of a Visa. It is your responsibility to check with Embassy of your country or the country you are visiting with regards to Visa requirements.
It is important that guest names on travel documents (Alien Resident Cards, etc.) be identical to those on the cruise and airline tickets. Otherwise, proof of name change (i.e., a marriage license) must be presented.
Non-US Citizens Traveling to Canada or Alaska
The Canadian government requires foreign citizens from most countries other than the U.S. to obtain a visa for entry into Canada. This law affects travelers on all cruise itineraries that begin or end in Canada, as well as those that make a port of call in Canada. Failure to present the required visa will result in denied boarding with no refund. To learn if Canada requires a visa for citizens of your country please call your embassy or consulate.
Obtaining a Passport
What is a Passport?
A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue or verify United States passports.
How do I apply for a Passport?
To obtain a passport, you need to go in person to one of 8,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the United States with two photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a valid form of photo identification such as a driver's license.
Acceptance facilities include many Federal, state and probate courts, post offices, some public libraries and a number of county and municipal offices. There are also 13 regional passport agencies, which serve customers who are traveling within 2 weeks (14 days), or who need foreign visas for travel. Appointments are required in such cases.
You'll need to apply in person if you are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time; if your expired U.S. passport is not in your possession; if your previous U.S. passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago; or if your previous U.S. passport was issued when you are under 16 your currently valid U.S. passport has been lost of stolen.
For more information, visit these links on U.S. State Department Website.
My Passport has expired or is expiring. How can I renew it?
You can renew by mail if: Your most recent passport is available to submit and it is not damaged; you received the passport within the past 15 years; you were over age 16 when it was issued; you still have the same name, or can legally document your name change. If your passport has been, altered or damaged, you cannot apply by mail. You must apply in person.
Click on the following links below for renewal forms and more information.
How long does it take to get a Passport?
If you are applying for a Passport in person and select "Routine Service" you will receive your passport in the mail in about 6 (six) weeks. If you apply in person ( or by mail if renewing a passport) and select "Expedited Service" you will receive your passport in the mail in about 2 (two) weeks. "Expedited Service" require an additional "rush" fee plus the cost of overnight delivery services.
For more information about applying for a passport, please visit:
Applying for a Visa
What is a Visa?
A visa is an authority issued by the Embassy/Consulate of a country that permits a traveler to visit that particular country. The majority of visas are stamped inside your passport. (A small number of visas are either separate documents to be carried with the passport or issued electronically.) Visas are issued with specific limitations regarding purpose of visit, length of stay, validity of visa, etc. It is the traveler's responsibility to obtain necessary visas for their travel itinerary.
Zierer Visa Services provides fee-based visa service for travelers. Their website offers comprehensive information with regards to visa requirements. Please view the VISAS section of their site and select your country of travel to view whether or not you will require visa.
Do I need a visa for a Cruise Vacation?
Most countries do not require U.S. Citizens to have a visa to travel if they are arriving by cruise ship; however, there are exceptions. Some countries like Russia, for example, do not require a visa unless you plan to do your own independent sight-seeing separate from the cruise line's own, ship-organized shore excursions. Other countries like Brazil require everyone to obtain a visa even if the passenger does not disembark the ship in that port. If you are staying overnight in a country before or after your cruise vacation, some countries may require a visa as well. Please check with your travel agent prior to booking.
How do I obtain a Visa?
The Embassies and Consulates of various countries are authorized to grant visas. Appropriate visa documentation must be presented to the Embassy/Consulate in proper order for the visa to be issued. Zierer Visa Service obtains visas on travelers' behalf by submitting proper visa documentation to the Embassy/Consulate. This eliminates the need for the traveler to visit, communicate and correspond directly with the Embassy/Consulate. Please view the VISAS section and select your country of travel to determine whether or not you will require visas for your itinerary.
Do I need to send my actual passport?
For the majority of countries, a visa is stamped on a visa page inside your passport. However, there are a few exceptions. Please view the VISAS section and select your country of travel to determine whether or not you must submit your actual passport.
How long will it take to process my Visa?
Various governments have strict and varied regulations on length of visa processing time. Please view the VISAS section and select your country of travel to determine visa processing time.
How much does a visa cost and what is included in the cost paid to ZVS for Visas?
Total cost of visas includes service fees, consular fees established by and paid to the appropriate consular office for your country of travel and shipping fees for the return of your completed documentation. Total cost of visas will be clearly listed for you on the downloadable instruction form located in ZVS's VISAS section. Consular fees are subject to change without advance notice at any time by various governments. Please note that whether or not you choose to use ZVS, consular fees must be paid to the consulate for completion of your visa.