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Passport Needed for 4 Year Old?

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My Daughter and granddaughter are thinking about joining us on a Caribbean cruise in 7 weeks.  My 4 year old granddaughter currently only has a birth certificate.  Does she need a US Passport to get on the ship as far as NCL is concerned?  I understand that if there was a medical issue or emergency where they would have to leave the cruise that getting back to the states would be difficult.  That makes me very uncomfortable and I am thinking I can't take that chance.  I am also concerned about adding them as trying to get her a passport in 6 weeks might not happen.  If she has to have a passport, we will book another cruise and bring them some other time. 

 

Thanks for any info. 

Edited by San10s

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If you are departing and returning to the same port, and she is an American citizen she doesn't need a passport, nobody needs a passport.

Your daughter will probably need to bring proof that she's allowed to take the child out of the country with permission from the father if he isn't going with you.

Edited by Sauer-kraut

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From the NCL website:

 

https://www.ncl.com/freestyle-cruise/cruise-travel-documents

 

Personally, no matter the rules/regulations, I always carry my passport when I am going out of the country or traveling by plane ANYWHERE.

 

You can absolutely get an expedited passport in less than 6 weeks.  It will cost you, but you can get it.

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3 minutes ago, Sauer-kraut said:

If you are departing and returning to the same port, and she is an American citizen she doesn't need a passport, nobody needs a passport.

 

And if she, or ANY family member or travel companion has an emergency and has to fly back home, without a passport there will be an issue.

 

Why chance it?  

 

 

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You can expedite the passport - through the government NOT some service that says they can. https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/passports/forms-fees/Passport Fees Chart_TSG.pdf It's $60 to expedite the processing and under $20 if you want it mailed with 1-2 day shipping. They say expedited takes 2-3 weeks if you mail it in so there would be enough time to get her a passport. 

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I have to agree with DinaS, we took our grand kids last year to Bermuda and decided to get Passports for all 3. It took about 4 weeks from applying to receiving them with normal processing, but I wouldn't risk that. They will be using them next year on our western Caribbean cruise. Worth every penny for piece of mind.

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Go ahead and just go.  Take the risk.   Or be safe and just pay for the passport.

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I just got my first passport and I was shocked at how fast it came. They accepted my application on 9-17-19 and I had mine in hand by 9-27-19.  I did normal processing  and couldn’t believe it! My experience is probably are rare occurrence though but 7 weeks should be plenty of time, especially for a toddler. 

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15 hours ago, missSarahA81 said:

I just got my first passport and I was shocked at how fast it came. They accepted my application on 9-17-19 and I had mine in hand by 9-27-19.  I did normal processing  and couldn’t believe it! My experience is probably are rare occurrence though but 7 weeks should be plenty of time, especially for a toddler. 

Not really that rare.  My wife had hers is less than 2 weeks as well.  I hate to admit it, but I think this is something that the government is actually getting better at.  🤣

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The only risk is there will be a delay in getting home and the amount of delay will depend on 1) where you are and 2) what the problem is. The authorities can waive the passport requirement for emergencies and for humanitarian reasons. You have to determine what your risk level is  (for most cruisers the risk is very low) and how comfortable you are with that risk. Millions of people leave the US on cruises with something other than passports and have no issues. If you apply now 6 weeks is ample time for a passport to be received if you decide to go that way (and you may always pay the expedite fee). 

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I agree that getting the passport is the best choice. I got mine in less than three weeks. You still have time. It's worth it for the peace of mind.

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Although not legally necessary, a passport card is also acceptable. Passports are preferred. You can usually get one in 4 weeks or expedite one. You will also need a notarized letter from the parents allowing you to trake a minor out of the country. We have both passport cards and passports. It was easier to just pull cards from wallet at checkin. We were asked to sign wavers that we knew of passport policy.

 

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6 minutes ago, lauracruises said:

Although not legally necessary, a passport card is also acceptable. Passports are preferred. You can usually get one in 4 weeks or expedite one. You will also need a notarized letter from the parents allowing you to trake a minor out of the country. We have both passport cards and passports. It was easier to just pull cards from wallet at checkin. We were asked to sign wavers that we knew of passport policy.

 

 

 

I also have the passport and the passport card but I think it's worth mentioning that the card can not be used for air travel if you are returning from a foreign port to the U.S.

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When I first started cruising, I didn't use a passport, and I didn't buy travel insurance.  I figured if I had to cancel, I would simply be out my trip cost.

 

Since then, I have witnessed people being airlifted off ships - on at least three cruises.  

 

Emergency medical helicopter evacuation and costs for a hospital in a foreign country could easily bankrupt someone.  Not to mention that they then had to get home another way.  It wasn't just an issue for the injured or sick person - it was their family and traveling companions as well.

 

Since the first time I witnessed a medical evacuation, I have carried my passport, and bought travel insurance.

 

I don't leave home without it 😉

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Required? No. The wisest decision? Yes. 
 

Personally, I would apply for a passport. As others have said, it can be expedited and you’ll get it quickly. In the meantime, if you don’t have an extra you can request a copy of the birth certificate at www.vitalchek.com which you can then use in case the passport for some reason doesn’t arrive in time. 

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4 hours ago, lauracruises said:

Although not legally necessary, a passport card is also acceptable. Passports are preferred. You can usually get one in 4 weeks or expedite one. You will also need a notarized letter from the parents allowing you to trake a minor out of the country. We have both passport cards and passports. It was easier to just pull cards from wallet at checkin. We were asked to sign wavers that we knew of passport policy.

 

As Cole mentioned..... a passport card has zero juice to get you home via air travel from a foreign location.

 

It really is only good for land crossings between US and Canada / Mexico as well as domestic US air travel and being able to enter a Federal Builinding (the last two in lieu of a Real ID)

 

Also, just a reminder that a minor's passport book is only good for 5 years and not the normal 10. 

 

Edited by esm54687

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11 minutes ago, esm54687 said:

 

It really is only good for land crossings between US and Canada / Mexico as well as domestic US air travel and being able to enter a Federal Builinding (the last two in lieu of a Real ID)

Not just good for land crossings...It's also good for ports of entry by sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda, so it's also good for cruises.

 

However, as already mentioned it's not good for international air travel.

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4 hours ago, njhorseman said:

Not just good for land crossings...It's also good for ports of entry by sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda, so it's also good for cruises.

 

However, as already mentioned it's not good for international air travel.

Agreed...... I quoted a post that mentioned a passport card can be used for identification at embarkation check in and my point was to highlight the passport card's main use was NOT optimal for cruising because it couldn't be used for international air travel in an emergency (similiar to a birth certificate + drivers license or EDL) 

 

 

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17 hours ago, esm54687 said:

As Cole mentioned..... a passport card has zero juice to get you home via air travel from a foreign location.

 

It really is only good for land crossings between US and Canada / Mexico as well as domestic US air travel and being able to enter a Federal Builinding (the last two in lieu of a Real ID)

 

Also, just a reminder that a minor's passport book is only good for 5 years and not the normal 10. 

 

Totally aware. Not necessary to re-iterate. Original post concerned minors to Carib. Also ,New York State has been late in the game as to REAL driver's licenses. This will change as of October 2020. Until then NYS residents will still be able to fly domestically with older version licenses or non drivers id

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In your shoes, I would not get the passport. If she is a US citizen and on a closed loop Caribbean cruise that doesn't have special circumstances (like cuba) she can cruise with just a birth certificate. With a cruise 7 weeks away, I wouldn't take the chance of sending her birth certificate, which is the only document she has to get her on the cruise, through the mail. Between mail issues and possible processing delays, I would be much more stressed out about the possibility of her not going on the cruise because she didn't get her passport in time than the teeny tiny chance that she could need to fly home from the cruise. If she is a US citizen, she will get home if something happens. If her passport application gets lost in the mail, gets misplaced in processing, there are unforeseen processing delays, or the passport or birth certificate get lost in the mail being returned to you; she won't be going on the cruise. I recently sent an important document through priority mail with tracking, figuring that would help make sure it got where it was going. Mail time was supposed to be 1-3 days. It ended getting lost in a processing facility and was over 2 weeks before they found it and moved it on.

Edited by sanger727

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11 minutes ago, lauracruises said:

Totally aware. Not necessary to re-iterate. Original post concerned minors to Carib. Also ,New York State has been late in the game as to REAL driver's licenses. This will change as of October 2020. Until then NYS residents will still be able to fly domestically with older version licenses or non drivers id

I was actually clarifying your advice that a passport card would provide the same benefits as a passport book (as the thread was evolving into air travel home) 

 

Also, I referenced the Enhanced Driver's License  (5 states issue them including NY) which is completely different than the REAL ID (just a note that it isn't a REAL driver's license..... it's a driver's license or state issued ID that is REAL compliant) 

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If the OP's daughter has a passport, I wouldn't stress about the 4 year old grand daughter not having one, if there is an emergency.  I don't think they would separate the grand daughter from her mother

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18 hours ago, njhorseman said:

Not just good for land crossings...It's also good for ports of entry by sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda, so it's also good for cruises.

 

However, as already mentioned it's not good for international air travel.

 

We bring our passport cards with us when we cruise, and leave the books in the safe,  since it's more convenient.

 

I've given up on using the cards to check in at the pier, though. The check-in staff has given me a hard time every time I've tried to use them, saying they'd need me to "sign a form" to use it.

 

It'll be less hassle with a book, for sure.

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