Do You Need a Passport to Go to Key West?

Planning a trip to Key West? Learn if U.S. citizens and international travelers need a passport, visa, or REAL ID to enjoy this unique destination.

Tobi Miles
July 15, 2024
Planning a trip to Key West? Learn if U.S. citizens and international travelers need a passport, visa, or REAL ID to enjoy this unique destination.

Key West is equally well-known for its gorgeous views and delicious cuisine as it is for the vibrant nightlife. Florida is full of countless vacation destinations, but none of them have quite the same nightlife and culture as Key West. So, do you need a passport to go to Key West?

You only need a passport to go to Key West if you aren’t a United States citizen. All that you need to go to Key West as a U.S. citizen is a driver’s license or government-issued ID and a plane ticket. U.S. citizens don’t need a vaccine card to fly to Key West, but foreign travelers must provide proof of vaccination to board a flight.

Non-U.S. citizens can stay in Key West for up to 90 days without paying for a visa. After that, they will need to obtain a travel visa for $160-$190 depending on what type of business they are in Key West for. Follow along as we explore everything that you need to go to Key West whether you’re a U.S. citizen or a foreign traveler.

What Documents Do I Need To Fly To Key West?

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All that you need to fly to Key West is a plane ticket and a valid government-issued ID or driver’s license. United States citizens can go to Key West and anywhere else in the country without a passport. Each city in Florida is considered domestic travel and you can go there without international travel documents.

That makes Key West one of the best vacation destinations for U.S. citizens that want to experience a foreign environment without leaving the country. Key West is located near the Caribbean Sea and gives you unique views that you’d normally have to travel internationally to see.

Related Read: How Much Does A Trip To Hawaii Cost?

Documents For Non-U.S. Citizens

Non-U.S. citizens need a passport to go to Key West. You also need to provide an ID that is valid in the country that you depart from as a non-U.S. citizen. Customs officials require that your passport won’t expire within the next 6 months before you travel to Key West.

This ensures that you can get back to your country of origin and won’t stay indefinitely in Florida. Check your passport before you fly to Key West as a non-U.S. citizen to make sure you have enough space for a new stamp. It can complicate your travel plans if you don’t have blank space in your passport as a non-U.S. citizen.

Canadians don’t need a passport to go to Key West if they drive from Canada to Florida in some cases. The NEXUS card allows low-risk Canadians to easily drive into the United States without a passport. However, a NEXUS card isn’t a substitute for a passport for Canadians that fly to Key West.

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Travel Restrictions

Key West has lax COVID travel restrictions and they no longer have an indoor mask mandate. Some resorts, bars, and restaurants in Key West require guests to wear a mask. It varies between establishments, but the city itself and the state of Florida don’t require you to wear a mask.

Some businesses still require patrons to present a COVID-19 vaccine card to gain entry. However, that is less common as of June 2022 and only applies to a handful of establishments. Some hotels in Key West still administer temperature checks for guests upon arrival but that is much less common now.

Do You Need To Be Vaccinated To Go To Key West?

U.S. citizens don’t need to be vaccinated to go to Key West. You no longer need to have a vaccine card to fly to Key West, but non-U.S. citizens still need to. Foreign travelers need to have an up-to-date vaccine card with the most recent dose within the last 2 weeks.

That rule applies to both single and double-dose vaccines, and there is no wiggle room. The airline will only accept the vaccine card if it is one of the primarily accepted vaccines such as Moderna and Pfizer. Even though only non-U.S. citizens need to be vaccinated, the CDC still recommends that domestic travelers get the vaccine before going to Key West.

Health officials recommend that both foreign and domestic travelers have also been vaccinated against chickenpox, influenza, and pneumonia. However, airlines and Customs officials don’t require that you have any of the aforementioned vaccines.

Does A Child Need a Passport To Go To Key West?

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A child needs a passport to go to Key West if they aren’t a U.S. citizen. However, Canadian children only need a passport to go to Key West if they are over the age of 16. Children from most foreign countries have the same rules as adults when it comes to passports.

The main difference between children and adults traveling is that children don’t need an ID to fly. You will need to bring proof of your relationship to fly with your children to Key West, Florida. This can either be a birth certificate or whatever is the accepted form of birth documentation in your country.

Customs agents and airline professionals require a Travel Consent Form if your child flies to Key West alone. Customs officials also request a travel itinerary in most cases to prove that you have somewhere to stay in Key West.

Related Read: The 15 Best All-Inclusive Aruba Resorts for Families

Can You Go To Key West On A Cruise Without A Passport?

You can go to Key West on a cruise without a passport as a United States citizen. Non-U.S. citizens need a passport to go to Key West if the cruise originates in a foreign country. Cruise ships were prohibited from entering Key West at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the city has since lifted that ban.

The only way a U.S. citizen needs a passport to go to Key West on a cruise is if it departs from a foreign country. In that case, you would need to present your passport in the country you depart from when you travel to Key West. Some cruise ships may require that you are vaccinated against COVID-19 whether you are a foreign or domestic traveler.

Do You Need A REAL ID To Go To Key West?

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You don’t currently need a REAL ID to go to Key West, Florida. However, you will need a REAL ID to fly to Key West after May 3rd, 2023 as the government extended the date for the law. All adult U.S. citizens will need a REAL ID for any domestic flight as a way to improve airline security.

REAL IDs only cost $30 and allow you to board any domestic flight as long as you have a ticket. The process to get a REAL ID is roughly the same as getting a standard driver’s license in the United States. You will need to visit your local DMV and provide information to verify your identity to get a REAL ID.

Prepare to give them your social security number and current ID to qualify. They will also require you to provide 2 documents that prove your current legal address.

Related Read: 20 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Cabo San Lucas

Do You Need A Visa To Go To Key West?

Non-U.S. citizens only need a visa to go to Key West if they stay for longer than 90 days. Domestic travelers don’t need a visa to go to Key West as it is part of the United States. Foreign travelers can stay anywhere in the United States for up to 90 days on business or as a tourist.

Stay in Key West for any longer than 90 days and you will need to apply for a $160 visa. Visas can cost up to $190 if you are traveling for reasons beyond basic business or tourism purposes. It can take up to 5 weeks to receive a visa so it’s important to apply before you go to Key West.

Visas allow you to come and go from the United States for up to 10 years in most cases. However, you can only stay in Key West, Florida for 180 days at a time even with a visa.

Can You Bring Your Dog To Key West?

You can bring your dog to Key West, and it is considered a dog-friendly vacation destination. It costs $50-$250 to bring your dog or cat to Key West depending on which airline you fly with. Travelers with a registered service dog don’t need to pay an extra fee to fly with their dog to Key West as long as it qualifies.

You need to visit your veterinarian before you fly with your dog to get the proper documents. Most airlines require you to provide key information about your dog such as its weight and appearance to verify it is yours. The document must also show whether or not your dog is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

Rabies vaccines are required for dogs on all airlines to protect the animal and the other passengers. Each airline handles dogs differently based on their policies and the size of the animal. Some airlines make your register your dog as cargo whereas others allow your pet to fly with you in the airplane’s cabin.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
July 15, 2024 5:14 PM

Tobi Miles is a University of Florida graduate turned globe-trotting culinary explorer and digital nomad expert. As the founder of "Bytes & Bites," he combines his passion for international cuisine with practical advice on remote work, inspiring others to experience the world through food and cultural immersion. With 32 countries under his belt and a knack for uncovering hidden culinary gems, Tobi is redefining the intersection of work, travel, and gastronomy for a new generation of adventurers.

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