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Passport, Passport card or Birth Certificate???

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by setablaze, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. setablaze

    setablaze Earning My Ears

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    I have read a fair amount on the subject but no one has touvhed on the Passport card. Gov website states its good for "entering the US from Canada, Mexico, Carribean and Bermuda at land border crossings and at sea ports of entry". Cost for 2 new adults and 2 new children for passports is $480, same for passport card is $190.

    I have also read that a valid birth certificate is enough but alot of ppl worry about what is probably less than 1% chance something may go wrong and actually need a passport. We have never had a passport and after this cruise dont anticipate needing one again before they would expire.

    So spend $$$ and be safe with an extremely small chance something goes wrong or save big $$$ and hope for the best. I really believe that a birth cert is enough but need reaffirmation. Also looking for anyone that has had experience either way.
     
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  3. Loveofgage

    Loveofgage Earning My Ears

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    I thought a passport card was only good for travel to Mexico and Canada.
     
  4. erionm

    erionm DIS Veteran

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    From GetYouHome.gov:
    http://www.getyouhome.gov/html/lang_eng/eng_uspc.html
     
  5. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    The Passport card is good if you live in an area where you may cross the border (Canada or Mexico) frequently. Yes, it is accepted for cruising as well. However, if you do not already have a Passport card and are considering getting Passports for a cruise - don't waste your money on the card. Either spring for the full passport book or decide that you are willing to travel with ID and birth certificates. That's all the Passport Card (or an enhanced drivers license) is - a glorified ID with birth certificate. People who opt to get a Passport for cruising do so because if an emergency occurs requiring a flight home, a full Passport booklet is still necessary and the card will not help in that situation. So decide if you are comfortable with the idea of just using ID and BC, or spring for the full Passport.

    Enjoy your cruise!
     
  6. ScholarAndAGent

    ScholarAndAGent Earning My Ears

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    According to Dave Disney in his trip report, which can be found at the top of the trip reports forum, he just used his and his DW's birth certificates and photo ID. They were able to get abord fine.

    That is a lot of money to pay for passports, money that could be well used on the cruise instead.
     
  7. bitlerzx4

    bitlerzx4 DIS Veteran

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought I understood if you need to be brought back into the US by air craft the passport card would NOT work for you.
     
  8. erionm

    erionm DIS Veteran

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    Correct. Only a Passport Book will get you home from a foreign location by air. Someone without a Passport Book would need to obtain an emergency Passport Book to return home by air.
     
  9. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Correct, that is allowed for a closed-loop cruise (beginning and ending at the same US port) - as long as none of the destination ports require a Passport for entry to their country (I believe Canadian ports do).

    Many people will opt for a Passport book as "insurance" because in the event an emergency occurs and you need to leave the ship and return home, a Passport book will be required to fly home from a foreign port. But it is not required, only you can decide what your family is comfortable with.
     
  10. HappyPeach

    HappyPeach Mouseketeer

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    A passport book is necessary if you had to fly back to the US from a foreign port. A passport card is useless for the purposes of a cruise; a birth certificate will get you on the ship.
     
  11. Dave Dizney

    Dave Dizney <font color=blue>Super-Duper organized Ultimate Di

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    We just got back from a 4-night closed-loop trip a couple weeks ago and since our passports were over a year expired, we took the risk and just brought our birth certificates (with the raised seal) and photo ID's. I have to say, I lost a little sleep on the way down thinking that I'd get up to the counter and the nice cast-member would say "Sorry, these won't work" and then just dump my wallet with the other money that would be going down with the "flushing" sound.

    But all was well and easy. We saved the extra $ and bought a couple extra drinks. I have to say, when I got my KTTW cards, I was quite elated!:banana:
     
  12. NWDAD

    NWDAD DIS Veteran

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    Don't forget about enhanced State DL ot ID's. We have used these for the Alaska Cruise and the Eastern and Western on the Fantasy with out any problems. Check to see if your state has them. They are cheaper than even a Passport Card. My 11yr old DD has an enhanced Sate ID as well.
     
  13. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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    There are lots of threads about passport cards--try a google search.

    The bottom line is that a passport card will not do you any good in an emergency; you would still have to go thru the hassle of getting an emergency passport. Either spend the big bucks and get the passport book OR save all your money and use birth certificates.

    Spending a little less money on something that is essentially worthless in this situation is just not sensible...at least to my way of thinking.
     
  14. setablaze

    setablaze Earning My Ears

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    Just got off the phone with helpful man at local post office that handles passports and such. He said "closed loop cruise" is a very loose definition. A BC gets you in and out of your own house (USA) but if any country we come into port requires a pass port to enter/deboard ship a BC will NOT do. A BC is good in US territories. Simply explained a BC gets me in and out of my own house (USA) but a passport or passport card is needed to enter foriegn countries, like Mexico possibly, when you get off of the ship. So at mininum I think I need a passport card, which is specifically good for land crossings and sea ports but NO International air travel.

    Huge cost difference. I have read alot about "what ifs" on several different subjects like passports, book your own shore excursions and room upgrades. If you start keeping track of the money spent on "what ifs" it adds up dramatically. I understand all the "what ifs" but when you put thoguht into it % chance of "what ifs" are extremely small in my opinion.

    Like insurance that I pay for everything at home, in all reality its a huge waste of money till you need it and if all is well you are just throwing $$$$ away.
     
  15. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    What is your destination and cruise ports? In all honesty, I think the only US based closed-loop cruise that DCL is offering right now that requires a passport is to Alaska due to Canadian requirements. The Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexican ports used by DCL all accept ID + BC.

    Based on your logic, if the cruise destination doesn't require a passport, then the card is also a waste of money. If you don't want to spring for full passport books, then don't waste money on a passport card just because the post office said you should.

    In the end it's your choice, but make sure you are making an informed decision. Post office workers do not know the rules at specific ports.
     
  16. Disney Dreams

    Disney Dreams Proudly afflicted with TDMA!

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    You can find LOTS of threads on this topic if you run a search.

    Bottom line? Do you HAVE TO have passport books, legally? No, as long as you return with the ship.

    SHOULD you have them? Welcome to the great cruise debate. I, personally, would never travel out of the US without a passport. If you or your family members have an emergency that makes it such that you have to return without the ship for whatever reason, you are now in a foreign country without a passport. Getting back in the USA will require jumping through hoops, money, and time. Passport cards will not help you with flying home, either

    So, if everything goes perfectly during your cruise, no, you do not need them. If there is an emergency back home and you need to leave the ship or if you or someone with you on the cruise needs medical attention in a city while on your cruise and you do not return to the ship, life gets much more complicated without passports. And of course, if you miss the ship.....

    It's a personal decision. We would never travel to a foreign country without them, even via cruise ship.

    HTH,
    Dreams
     
  17. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

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    This is true, however, DCL doesn't currently dock at any country on a closed-loop cruise that requires a passport for you to enter except on the Alaskan cruises. It is very simple to find that information online at the State Dept's website for the specific ports you will be visiting.

    If you are not on a closed-loop cruise you will need a passport. Also, if DCL ever goes to Cartegena with a closed-loop cruise you would need one because they require them. That port is only on the PC repo cruises though, so is already covered.
     
  18. setablaze

    setablaze Earning My Ears

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    Ladyjune we are on Oct 26 Fantasy western 7 night. Grand cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Castaway cay. Do you NOT need a passport for these ports? Will a BC be enough. I agree that if a passport is a waste then a passport card may be a waste as well BUT the card still gets you entry via land and sea just no air travel.

    So since so many are using the "what if" logic, I figured at least with a passport card I can still enter via modes of land and sea transpotation. Yes if I needed to come home, air travel would be MUCH better but at least with card it is still a passport for entering and leaving countries in the WHTI. My state does not offer enhanced drivers license.

    Check out WHTI. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiave, just found it. Explains alot about what is needed, what will get you in and out and I was wrong. They do use "closed loop cruise". It means you left and returned to the same port on the same ship so a BC & Id are fine, you only need a passport to enter other countries in ports of call.
     
  19. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Yep, I'm familiar with the WHTI. I personally am comfortable taking my chances on the "what if" emergency scenarios; others are not and they opt for a Passport. I do have a Passport Card which we use for cruising - but not because we got them for a cruise, we live 20 miles from the Canadian border and contrary to a PP the Passport Card was less expensive for us than the Enhanced Drivers' License (those fees and expirations vary by state, so another state may be more expensive than mine). However, I would not recommend a Passport Card just to use for a cruise because you'd have a difficult time getting land or sea transportation back to the States if had to leave the ship early at any port.

    At this time, the DCL Caribbean cruises on the Fantasy do not stop at any ports currently requiring Passport for entry. IF a DCL cruise stops at a port requiring a Passport, it's not a question of "I just won't get off the ship there" - all passengers will be required to have a Passport to board the cruise. But the ports you mentioned will be fine using just a government-issued photo ID and certified birth certificates.

    Enjoy your cruise!
     
  20. manateesmom

    manateesmom Mouseketeer

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    No, you don't need a passport to get off the ship in any of the ports you've listed. You don't need to have your BC on you, either, you just "check out" from the ship with your KTTW card and check back on when you go back to the ship, the ship provides the port country with a manifest identifying your citizenship. That's if you're a US citizen - there may be different requirements if you're a citizen of another country.

    There's another thread on here about a topic that comes up all the time - trip insurance. Yes, I get trip insurance. Yes, I have a passport. It's a one-time expense, and it's good for 10 years for adults, and you can use it for all domestic air travel, it's easier than prying the driver's license out of my wallet. In a way, a passport is a form of trip insurance.

    In the event that you needed to be evacuated from your cruise due to health reasons, you have to fly, and would need a passport. Same if, god forbid, something terrible happened to a non-traveling family member at home and you urgently needed to get back. Look, it's extremely rare, yes, but people get injured, get gravely ill, get into car accidents, and die every day. It could happen to you or a traveling companion, and it could happen to someone you love who isn't traveling with you. Yes, there are provisions for you to get an emergency passport from the nearest US consulate, but that's a hassle neither you nor your family/traveling companions should have to deal with when facing a true emergency situation.

    As mentioned numerous times above, a passport card is of no use to you in truly emergency situations where you'd need to fly to get home. You can't get home from Grand Cayman without flying, unless you're going to complete your cruise first. You're not really going to rent a car in Cozumel to drive back to the US, even if you were capable of doing so (and for what it's worth, it's a PITA to rent cars and have the property insurance coverage in foreign countries).

    The passport card is an expense there's no reason to incur. Either just use BCs, or get a real passport. The passport card is simply of no utility to you in any situation that might confront you while traveling. If it's a closed-loop cruise, BC will be fine. If you need to get home in an emergency, only a passport book will do. The passport card only makes sense if you live near a border and regularly cross, and just want something easy to stick in your wallet.
     
  21. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS Veteran

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    There's nothing that a Passport Card does that can't be done with just a birth certificate/photo ID. You are just spending money on something you really don't need.

    :cutie:
     

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