Passports and Island Hopping: What's the Current Status?
I live in STX and have a passport. I sent my beautiful boyfriend to turn in his application so that we can do a bit of island hopping. The passport office took his birth certificate along with his passport application, and gave him back a photocopy of both along with instructions that those photocopies should be sufficient for travel in the meanwhile. (Sounds strange, no?)
Well, I'd like to go somewhere this weekend. I went to the BVIs a couple months ago with a girlfriend who just brought her driver's license. There wasn't a word of protest on our reentry. And in a month we'll be up at STT and may take a hop over, so I'd rather go somewhere I haven't been.
**I don't particularly care what the strict legality is,** but I'd like some feedback as to the practical implications of trying the method suggested by the passport office.
Has anyone traveled between the USVI and a foreign island (maybe St. Martin or St. Kitts, etc.) on the Photocopy Method (and returned without delay)?
Thank you all, you lovely Human creatures, you.
Your issue is not with re-entering the United States. A United States citizen can NOT be refused entry into the United States, period.
If there is a question, then the secondary inspection process is used to determine whether or not you have the right to enter the United States.
The two issues you have to be concerned with, are...one; If the country you are going to requires you to have a passport and two; Because the airlines are fined for each passenger they bring into the United States without a passport, will they allow you to board the aircraft. There is currently an executive order in place that allows United States citizens to present the proof they have applied for a passport (which is mailed to them after the application is submitted) and a government issued identification in place of the passport when travelling in the western hemisphere, and the airline is supposed to honor that. However, some do not. Thats a fight you can have at the airline counter 🙂
Good Luck, Jay
And that's the problem - some of the small airlines don't care about the "strict legality"either. They can refuse to board you even if you are "legal", if you don't have the documents they THINK you are supposed to have.
I can think of nothing worse than standing in a line at a ticket counter arguing US policies or executive orders with a ticket agent who is not authorized to do anything thing but what he/she has been told.
You might also want to try the vacation board, there's a link at the top of the page. There is always a thread going on this subject. I have heard people saying on that board that they had no problem getting into the bvi with just a driver's license and birth certificate, but it sounds risky to me. What if you get a grouchy forgein customs agent? Then you just wasted your ferry or plane money not to mention your vacation time.
When I went with a girlfriend in April, the BVIs didn't even *look* at ID to enter. Nothing. Just let us off the ferry. It wasn't until we got back to St. John that they asked for IDs, and they didn't pause at her driver's license.
Word is that Antigua doesn't require a passport for entry (perhaps just unofficially), but I'd love to verify this somehow.
I will check out the Vacation Board. I figured that would be more about to USVI from mainland, and I am curious about the other Caribbean islands, but will certainly take a look.
BVI's are OK going by boat from the USVI until January (I think.)