Travel Tips

5 min read

No Passport, No Problem: Unlock U.S. Virgin Islands Gems

Imagine a slice of paradise within your reach, no passport needed! Uncover the travel secrets to the U.S. Virgin Islands and start packing your bags for an unforgettable escape.

Tobi Miles
May 14, 2022

The U.S. Virgin Islands are a hot spot for tourists all over the world. Known for its panoramic beauty and white sand beaches, it’s no wonder that over two million people visit per year. While most people are clear on their travel itinerary, they aren’t exactly sure on whether or not they need a passport.

For U.S. Citizens, a passport is NOT required to travel to the Virgin Islands. However, you will still need to present a government-issued I.D. and proof of US citizenship upon arrival. Valid forms of ID include a U.S. passport, driver’s license, or birth certificate. Non-citizens are required to present a valid passport and documents with their immigration status.

We will go over all of the necessary documentation for U.S. citizens, including minors, the Covid-19 restrictions and other required documentation for entry. That way, you’re best prepared for your trip, and can avoid any unwanted snags.

Do You Need A Passport to Travel to the Virgin Islands?

You do not need a passport to travel to the Virgin Islands as they are territory of the United States. Citizens of the United States who come directly from a U.S. territory are not leaving the country. Therefore, they do not need to present a passport.

If you aren’t sure whether you’re in US territory, here are some other US territories:

  • American Samoa
  • Guam
  • Virgin Islands
  • Puerto Rico
  • Swains Island
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

On the other hand, if the tourist also visited non-US territories, they must show a passport.

Although U.S. citizens are not required to present a passport when departing from U.S. territories and traveling to the mainland, having proof of citizenship will assist CBP in expediting your customs processing.

Documentation Required For U.S. Citizens

All passengers, including U.S. citizens, flying between the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda must present a passport. This is unless the flight is coming directly from any of the U.S. territories.

Other acceptable documentation includes the Merchant Mariner Document (presented by U.S. citizen merchant mariners traveling on official business) or the NEXUS Card. Children will need to bring their passports.

While a passport or other equivalent document is not required for land or sea entry, U.S. and Canadian citizens are strongly encouraged to bring proof of identification and citizenship. Travelers aged 19 and up should also bring a government-issued photo I.D.

Non-citizens visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands should adhere to the CDC's website guidelines. Passengers must exhibit a negative Covid-19 test result before actually boarding their plane, whether fully vaccinated or not.

To enter the United States, non-citizens must present a passport and follow CDC protocols. This also applies to outlying territories such as the United States Virgin Islands. We go over the Covid-19-related restrictions and documentation in greater detail below.

Covid Restrictions

During the pandemic, islands such as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands imposed strict travel restrictions. It was toned down in 2021, but specific protocols must be followed.

  • Full vaccinated: If you are flying from an international destination and are fully vaccinated, you should take a covid test within three days of your arrival.
  • Not fully vaccinated: And if you're not fully vaccinated, folks have 24 hours to notify the USVI Travel Screening Portal.
  • Proof of vaccine or negative test: Before you board, you must show proof of vaccination or a negative test result to your airline.
  • Travel by boat: Anyone traveling by ferry or boat should take their test within five days of arrival and adhere to the same procedures.
  • Travelers aged 2 to 17: Excluded from the CDC's vaccine requirements.

Do I Need A Passport To Travel To The U.S. Virgin Islands?

The United States Virgin Islands is an excellent place to vacation for many Americans, due to its rich history, thriving island culture, and a bustling tourist economy.

There are numerous cruises and resorts, and the lack of passport requirements makes the tropical paradise much more enticing to snowbirds and families.

But while you would not need a passport to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands, there are some complicated steps you must take to fly there and have a good time.

Documents You Need to Travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands (for U.S. Citizens)

All you need is the same documentation you would bring to the airport, such as a state photo I.D., driving license, or other government-issued I.D.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, you should also get a hard copy of your birth certificate as well. This will come in handy as proof of citizenship if you decide not to bring your passport, or if you don’t have one.

Documents Required For Non-Citizens

To travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands from another country, you must have a valid I.D. as well as a valid passport.

If you are entering from the United States or Puerto Rico, no health certificates are required; citizens trying to enter from other nations should follow the laws as those for the mainland United States.

Do You Need to Obtain a Visa For the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Americans do not need a visa to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands. Also, everyone who is granted visa-free entry into the U.S. can visit the U.S. Virgin Islands without difficulty.

Nonimmigrant visas are required for visitors who do not meet the criteria for visa-free entry into the United States. To find out if you need a visa, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy. You can also visit the U.S. State Department website for more information.

Can I Travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands With Just a Driver's License?

You cannot travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands with just a driver’s license because you must be able to show proof of citizenship.

This means you need to have a raised-seal birth certificate and a government-issued photo I.D. Although a passport is not required for U.S. citizens, it is the best form of identification when traveling.

Do I Need a Real ID to Travel to the Virgin Islands?

Once the Real ID is implemented as a necessity for air travel, or other forms of travel, then you will need the Real ID for travel to the Virgin Islands.

However, this is not supposed to happen until May 2023. This deadline is subject to change, so it’s best to check before booking your tickets.

Does My Child Need a Passport to Travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands?

According to the official U.S. Virgin Islands passport requirements, U.S. citizens do not need a passport to enter the U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes children.

However, you may want to make sure that you have your child’s birth certificate on hand as proof of citizenship. While this typically is not an issue, you want to ensure you’re prepared the best you can be for any unforeseen circumstances.

Are Vaccinations Required to Travel to the Virgin Islands?

Yes, a few vaccines are recommended or needed for travel to the United States Virgin Islands. The following vaccinations are recommended for the U.S. Virgin Islands by the CDC and WHO:

  • Chickenpox
  • Hepatitis A & B
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella)
  • Meningitis
  • Rabies
  • TDAP/DTAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis)
  • Polio
  • Flu Shot
  • Shingles
  • Pneumonia
  • Covid-19 (Always check with your destination’s regulations on the brand of vaccine)

The above list constantly changes on what is required versus what is recommended. Always check the updated list for more information.

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for any and all foreign and domestic travel. If immunization is available in your area, contact your local Passport Health clinic.

Important Note

Dengue fever is existent on the islands, and Zika is also a threat. Mosquito repellent is advised for travelers. Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should exercise extreme caution. Consider mosquito netting or changing your travel plans.

Can I Drive in the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Americans with a valid U.S. driving license can drive in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and car rental services are available on all three main islands.

Visitors who choose to drive on the left must remember that using a phone while driving is illegal. Although American driver's licenses are accepted, all non-US tourists must obtain a short-term USVI driving permit upon entrance.

The USVI DMV website does not mention an international driver's license is required to rent a car. Car rental companies have all these short-term permits; some are more careless about enforcing them than others.

Driving regulations in the USVI are usually the same as in the U.S., except that the driving is done on the left side. It is worth noting that having a phone conversation while driving is illegal unless you are using a hands-free device.

Is Travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands Considered Domestic?

The American Virgin Islands – also known as the United States Virgin Islands – is a U.S. territory, like Puerto Rico.

Citizens of the Virgin Islands also are residents of the United States, and a trip to the Virgin Islands is regarded as a domestic trip for U.S. residents.

When visiting one of the United States insular properties, such as the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or Guam, you must clear Customs and Border Security.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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