What Do I Need to enter the Caribbean?

Passports are now required for entry in the Caribbean

Photo credit: © George Bailey | Dreamstime.com

Pack your passport when visiting the Caribbean

When traveling to the Caribbean, a valid passport is now required to gain entry, but other forms of identification should be brought with you as well.

Carrying a valid passport is the only way to obtain a quick, hassle-free passage through customs and immigration checkpoints of the Caribbean nations. Bear in mind the following passport and entry information:

  • The passport application process takes a minimum of three weeks, but you may be able to place a rush order on your passport for an additional fee.

  • The application processing time greatly increases during the spring months. The best time to renew or apply for a passport is during the fall and winter months.

  • Make two photocopies of your passport; give one copy to someone in your native country and bring the other copy with you. Contact the local authorities and your closest embassy in the Caribbean if your passport is lost or stolen.

  • To enter one of the Caribbean islands, you will need a valid passport and a return or onward ticket.

  • Certain islands may also require proof of funds adequate to cover the duration of your stay.

  •  Entry or re-entry into the United States now requires a passport from any travelers (including U.S. citizens) returning from the Caribbean. If your trip continues on to or ends in the U.S., be sure to bring a valid passport.


Visas generally are not mandatory if you are an Australian, British, Canadian, European Union, Japanese and U.S. citizen, unless you are traveling to the Caribbean for business. Visa fees, allowances and stipulations vary from island to island; contact an embassy or consulate for further information.

Each island in the Caribbean charges a departure tax. The exact fee varies from island to island, but customs and immigration usually accepts payment in cash only. Many airlines and cruise lines incorporate the departure tax into the price of the air or cruise fare, but this courtesy does not exist with all travel outlets. Check with your travel agent to determine whether or not you'll need to reserve cash for this end-of-trip expense.


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