Getting A United States Passport To Travel To Cancun Is Playing It Safe

by erin on February 16, 2010

One of the beauties of traveling to Mexico and Canada has always been that there was never a need to have a passport to make the trip. Now imagine having planned and paid for a trip over a year ago and then realizing that a new passport application to Cancun may be needed because of the new laws that are in effect. It will depend on what type of a trip is being made, but chances are a passport will be needed.

While it is not generally assumed that if a traveler is leaving US soil for any reason, they will need a U.S. passport. With Cancun being located in a foreign country, it would only make sense that a passport would be needed to go there. This is probably true in most cases, but there are still a few circumstances when a passport may actually not be needed.

Everything changed in regards to travel in June of 2009. The United States went from requiring nothing more than a drivers license or birth certificate to cross back in from border countries to requiring passport documentation. This is a significant change and one that many people are still not fully aware of.

Anyone who is considering traveling to Cancun for a trip will definitely need a passport. But hold on, this is where the exception comes in at. The rules are adjusted for people that are taking cruises. It is because of this very exception that much of the confusion about needing a passport started in the first place.

When a travel is on a closed loop trip to certain destination that leaves port from the United States, they are not required to have a passport. A closed loop is when the ship leaves out of a US port and then returns to the same port at the end of the trip. However, this exception has limitations for the different countries that it can be applied.

Countries that are accepted into this exception are such location as: Bermuda, The Virgin Islands, Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean Island locations. Because all areas are not fully accepted, it is always good to check with either the State Department or the travel agent to make sure that the destination does or does not require a passport for re-entry.

All of these changes were made because of Homeland Security. It is no secret that border security was pretty lax, especially on the Canadian and Mexican borders. People were literally coming and going as they pleased. In order to secure the borders, these new passport laws were put in place to make it more difficult for people to get across the border into the United States.

Anyone traveling to Cancun from the United States will almost certainly need to fill out a passport application. The only time a United States passport to Cancun is not necessary is when a person is traveling to Cancun in a closed loop cruise. Any other form of travel will require that a valid passport is in hand or that person will risk not being able to enter the foreign country.

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