You are sitting on the beach of St. Thomas with a drink in your hand while enjoying the sunset. That’s the dream. But wait… what about the documents? Do you need a passport to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands or can you use other IDs? Here is the complete guide for the journey of your dreams.
Traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands are an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea and Americans are not required to show a passport when traveling to this territory. However, you need to bear in mind that when leaving the territory, officials might ask for proof of citizenship, and having a passport can come in handy.
What is the difference between the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands?
When talking about the Virgin Islands, we need to take into account the difference between the American and the British ones. Americans can travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands without a passport because these islands are considered part of the U.S. Commonwealth. On the other hand, the British Virgin Islands are part of the British overseas territories and Americans need a passport to visit them.
What is a passport and what does it look like?
The American passport is a document issued to U.S. citizens by birth or naturalization and it is especially used for international travels. Passports all around the world differ from each other for the color of their cover.
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The American passport presents itself with a blue cover. Once opened, the first page of the passport shows the seal of the United States, a quote by Abraham Lincoln, and a message from the Secretary of State asking other countries’ authorities to allow the citizen bearing the passport to enter said country.
On the second page of the passport are displayed the personal information of the passport holder, such as:
- Last, first, and middle name
- Picture of the holder. You can use
- Date and place of birth
- Validity period
- Issuing authority and place of issue
- Passport number
- The date the passport was issued and the date it will expire
For the past years, passports all around the world have contained an electronic chip to store all the passport holder’s personal information.
What is the difference between a passport book and a passport card?
A passport card can be used to travel only to the following countries:
- The Caribbean
If you are a frequent traveler, we suggest obtaining a passport book. The cost is higher, but it allows international travel outside of the aforementioned countries.
How do I get a passport?
To apply for a passport, you will need the following documents:
- An application form. You can fill it out online using the site of the U.S. Department of State or by hand downloading the template online. Remember to do not sign the form, as you will be required to do so in front of a designated official
- A personal document showing proof of citizenship and a photo ID
- A passport photo respecting all requirements. You can find more information on requirements on Passport Photo Online. Use this site to take passport pictures that will be delivered to your door with the guarantee of acceptance.
- Proof of payment. The cost of a U.S. passport depends on the type of passport. If you requested a passport because of an emergency, you will have to pay a fee for expedited service.
If you apply for a passport for the first time, you need to go in person to the Post Office. If you need to have your passport renewed, you can mail your application to the State Department.
What is the fee for requesting a passport card or a passport book?
If you are older than 16 years old and are applying for a passport book for the first time, you need to pay $130 for the application fee and $35 for the execution fee. If you are renewing your passport you need to pay only for the application fee.
If the applicant is younger than 16 years old, the application fee is $100. The same rules apply with regard to the execution fee.
If you requested expedited service, you need to pay a $60 fee.
If you prefer to apply for a passport card and are older than 16 years old, you need to pay a $30 fee. If you are younger than 16 years old, you need to pay a $15 fee. With regards to the execution fee for a passport card, the rules applied are the same as those of the passport book.
What are the processing times for a passport?
If you requested expedited service, the issuing of the passport will take between 5 and 7 weeks. If you did not request expedited service and you did not pay the fee, the processing will take between 8 to 11 weeks.
These processing times do not include mailing times, which can vary across the country.
Where can I collect my passport?
Your passport will be sent to the address you indicated in the application. If your application is still being processed and you changed your address, make sure to inform the Department of State by calling the dedicated number.
What if I lost my passport or it got stolen?
If you lost your passport or it got stolen, you need to report it to the U.S. Department of State.