I don't have a copy of my birth certificate and I mailed my old passport to the states with my passport renewal application, so now I'm wondering, should the need arise, if I would be able to leave island before the new passport arrives.
Depends on where you're going, I would think. Foreign country, not likely. Mainland US...I've never used anything but my driver's license, a VI one for the past 15 years or so......, usually 6 or more trips each year....and never had an issue...of course, there's always the exception...and I travel from stx...
Although I've had to show mine when I've left, I researched this on the government website (travel.state.gov) and found this information:
I have a life or death emergency. What should I do?
Life or Death Emergencies involve serious illness, injury, or death in your immediate family that require you to travel within 24-48 hours to a country that requires a passport. Customers must appear in person at a passport agency for emergency service and documentation of the emergency may be requested.
Please call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 (TTY/TDD 1-888-874-7793) to schedule an appointment at the nearest Passport Agency. Our automated appointment system is accessible every day, 24 hours a day.
If an appointment that will meet your needs is not available and you are calling from 6:00 a.m. to 12 midnight, ET, Monday-Friday, except federal holidays, please stay on the line and follow instructions to speak to a Customer Service Representative (CSR). The CSR will give you guidance on what to do. CSRs are available on weekends for limited hours to assist customers traveling within 7 days.
If an appointment that will meet your needs is not available and you are calling on a federal holiday or during hours the CSRs are not available, please call 202-647-4000 and explain your situation to the operator.
Obviously, just deciding to take a spontaneous vacation wouldn't qualify as an "emergency", but maybe having this phone number might help you? Good luck!
Thanks for the quick replies.
Lisa - I saw that section, but am more concerned about unexpected work travel, which wouldn't qualify as life or death, though it could have adverse effects on my livelihood.
beachy - Every time I fly from STT to the states, Immigration and Custom Enforcement demands proof of citizenship, either passport or birth certificate and DL. I am envious that ICE is more lax with the rules on STX.
No Passport Required! It's a big part of the Dept. of Tourism campaign. USVI to US does not require a passport for US citizens. Other destinations probably will.
Has the passport requirement gone into effect for the BVI? They kept postponing it for a long time. I THINK you need it now???
I don't know if they are easier on stx, but that's been my/our experience...I will say though that years ago we used to have issues if we went through STT...I have to admit that sometimes the conversation with CBP is more along the lines of 'where am I going to be for the holiday and will I be cooking?'....or 'how is our house construction coming'....especially from the ones who've cleared some of our containers and subsequently came to the house to see the progress (really scaring our contractor that day...."there are some guys outside in uniforms with guns looking for Mr.....)...perhaps it's because STT gets most of the tourists...or there are just so many more folks flying through that airport.
I'll just hope you don't have any emergency issues and don't need to travel till you get your docs back!
The above link is specifically for United States Citizens. But keep in mind that as a United States Citizen you can not be refused entry to the United States. However, if you are coming by commercial carrier from a foriegn country, they will most likely not allow you to board the vessel due to the fines they can incur if they transport to the United States any individual not in posession of a valid passport or "WHTI compliant document".
Note the fourth line in the table "U.S. Territory"
US citizens cannot be refused entry -- That might be true, but that supposes they have the right to make you prove you are a US citizen, doesn't it?
By law you are required to prove you are a citizen at the time you present yourself for inspection. If you claim to be a citizen of the United States, the CBP Officer does not have the authority to refuse admission to you. If you are unable to prove your claim, and CBP still believes you to be inadmissable, they must place you before an immigration judge for a final determination. If you are a citizen of the United States, it can easily be verified by CBP. But again, if you are coming from a foriegn country and have no passport.....The airline will not even let you board the aircraft.
Why would anyone want to start off (or end up) a wonderful vacation by getting into a hassle with TSA or CBP? Carry adequate ID and avoid embarassing your spouse kids!! lol.
Not to mention expedite the process.
i believe the original poster was wondering what to do while she awaits her replacement in case she has to travel suddenly for work, since she lost her birth certificate and she had to send the old in order to get the new. she's not trying to circumvent the system.
i guess she will just have to explain to all concerned that she cannot travel right now until she gets her your papers back though, and hope they will understand.
My VI drivers license shows my place of birth as New York. I don't know how many New Yorks there are outside the US, but I shouldn't think there are too many. BCE officers living in the VI should know that it takes a passport or birth certificate to obtain a VI drivers license. Therefore, when I produce my VI license that says I was born in New York, there aren't many good grounds to deny me admission to the US. They don't like being given a drivers license instead of a passport because they then have to enter all the information into their computers by hand; with a passport, they just swipe the data line.
dntw8up, 20 years ago I went to Cancun Mexico for vacation with my birth certificate and DL. On the way back for some stupid reason I packed those documents in my suitcase and had no problem what so ever getting on the plane. Upon arriving back in the US however, I went through customs and had no proof of citizenship as I had packed it in the suitcase. The customs people were giving me a hard time and the people behind me in line were getting angry at the delay. I was in a very bad mood at leaving beautiful warm Cancun and arriving back in Virginia to freezing cold sleet and gray skies and had a complete meltdown. I pitched a fit and told them to put me back on a plane to Mexico if they were to stupid and lazy to retrieve my luggage so I could prove my citizenship and while they were sending me back to paradise they could just make sure I had a bottle of tequilla to compensate me for their stupid ignorance. The female customs officer looked at the male customs officer and said, "Let her through. She's American. Rude bitch". Hubby dragged me away before I could confront her on the rude comment.
So times have changed and 9 11 has occurred and the world as we know it has changed. I don't have an answer to your question but I do know that it is very easy here on STX to fly with just your DL. Maybe you can take Seaborne to STX and then fly wherever you need to go. STT is very different and I never fly out of there. :@)
Going to Dallas we had no problems with just our DL. Coming back the airlines gave us quite a bit of grief and a couple of lectures even though their supervisor admitted we were in the right she was kept gripping at us because we didn't have our passports. Same thing happened to me several years ago leaving from DFW. So just be prepared to ask for a supervisor when dealing with the airlines, because you really only need your DL. Customs might secondary you when leaving but they might do that no matter what.
Thanks for the chuckle Tam! 🙂
dnt: You're stuck with us for the rest of your natural life!!!:P
This same discussion comes up from time to time and never once has anyone commented that they were not allowed to travel to the mainland United States from the United States Virgin Islands due to a refusal by CBP. Like Jenn said, they may secondary you, but once they verify your status, you are on your way. This is not Miami, it only takes a couple of minutes to clear secondary.
That being said, I do know of instances where people missed their flight due to CBP's secondary inspections....But they did not allow enough time for themselves to get checked in, clear Customs, clear TSA and get to the flight. If you have no proof of citizenship just give yourself a little extra time and you will have no problem.
My VI drivers license looks as if it could have been produced by a freshman in high school on the office copy machine. Plus, drivers licenses are not standardized nationwide, making forgeries very possible.
These people, TSA, CBP, even the airlines, are tasked with the responsibility of protecting our boarders. How can we criticize them when they don't (9/11) and they turn around and criticize them when they DO.
Can we all agree that it is easiest and safest if we all carry proper identification when traveling between the USVI and the states?
A driver's license is proper identification, ask any cbp officer. Don't ask tsa, they are not officers, their training is minimal and they know very little about immigration or customs laws. I don't mean to offend any tsa workers with that comment it's just simply the truth. tsa has a very specific job and they are not law enforcement officers, if they catch anything or think they do it's handed over to the professionals. Every few years they test the airports to see if they can get bomb parts past tsa and most of the airports fail.
I have never had problem leaving USVI for US mainland with just VI drivers license. I do carry my paswsport and have never been asked for it. Travel to mainland 4 or 5 times a year.
I talked to a girlfriend today that used to work in DFW, she said my experience is just a DFW problem.
You are supposed to have passport or DH and birth certificate available to leave USVI, but they do not always ask it . . . not worth the risk to show up without.
It's probably quicker to just get a new certified copy of your BC. You can usually order online and receive in mail quickly . . . probably even request Priority or Express if you need to.
You do need PP to enter BVIs