Required Travel Documents for Minor Cruise Passengers
Cruising with children exposes them to global cultures. Travel offers real world educational experiences that is impossible to achieve through school learning alone. Where else can your child learn about currency, the cultural aspects of it and monetary systems? What about close encounters with exotic animals, exposure to diverse languages and the chance to explore historical landmarks that many only read about?
Before you get too excited, make certain your child’s travel documentation papers are in order. Minors traveling with a parent or guardian must have proper documentation to prove their citizenship at boarding or risk being denied.
Cruising From and Returning to Domestic Ports
Minors traveling by sea entering international waters where the cruise departs and returns to the same port in the United States only needs a state certified birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization as proof of citizenship or a consular report of birth abroad to re-enter into the U.S. by sea . Certificates of birth issued by the hospital are not acceptable as proof of residency. Also, U.S. government issued photo identification is not needed for children under the age of 16.
Cruising With Infants
The minimum age requirement to cruise with certain cruise lines will vary. However, a typical general rule is that an infant must be at least six months of age to cruise. Always check with the specific cruise line before booking travel because under certain circumstances and depending on the length of the trip, a cruise line may require infants to be at least 12 months of age. Norwegian Cruise Line is the perfect example. Infants cruising on a voyage that is 3 or more days must be 12 months old at the time of sailing.
When Passports are Required for All Minors
- For cruises that begin in one United States port but end in another
- For cruises departing from international ports (and visas where applicable)
While having a passport is optional for minors under certain circumstances, it highly recommended that all travelers have a valid passport. Having a valid passport while cruising could prevent complications and delays with immigration in the event of an emergency that would require travelers to fly from an international location.
Emergencies to consider:
- Medical related
- Family related
- Involuntary disembarkation
- Missing a ship’s departure port of call
To stay up-to-date on the latest travel information please visit Travel.State.Gov