That Mexican vacation is all booked and it is only one month to go until nothing but sun, surf, bikinis, and margaritas. Everything is planned, everything is taken care of, unless, wait…do I need a passport to Cancun? This question is not as simple as it seems, and although the answer is almost certainly yes, there are a few different factors to consider.
Since Cancun is not a part of the United States, one can safely assume that they would need a passport to travel there. However, while this will usually be the case, there can be exceptions. It is perfectly understandable how some people are very confused by the whole process because these laws were not even in place about a year ago.
New passport laws that were put into place in June 2009 have made things a bit confusing for many people. Prior to that date, a passport was not always necessary when traveling to US border countries. Up until that point, as long as a traveler had a valid driver’s license, they could pretty much head to countries such as Mexico and Canada at will.
Anyone traveling to Cancun will most definitely need a passport. Since the new passport laws cover sea travel, logic dictates that anyone on a cruise to Cancun would also need a passport. However, there is one exception in the sea travel clause.
When a travel is on a closed loop trip to certain destination that leaves port from the United States, they are not required to have a passport. A closed loop is when the ship leaves out of a US port and then returns to the same port at the end of the trip. However, this exception has limitations for the different countries that it can be applied.
Countries that are accepted into this exception are such location as: Bermuda, The Virgin Islands, Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean Island locations. Because all areas are not fully accepted, it is always good to check with either the State Department or the travel agent to make sure that the destination does or does not require a passport for re-entry.
All of these changes were made because of Homeland Security. It is no secret that border security was pretty lax, especially on the Canadian and Mexican borders. People were literally coming and going as they pleased. In order to secure the borders, these new passport laws were put in place to make it more difficult for people to get across the border into the United States.
Anyone traveling to Cancun from the United States will almost certainly need to fill out a new passport application. The only time a passport to Cancun is not necessary is when a person is traveling to Cancun in a closed loop cruise. Any other form of travel will require that a valid U.S. passport is in hand or that person will risk not being able to enter the foreign country.