Do You Need a Passport to Visit the Bahamas?

Long Island The Bahamas
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Many forms of photo identification are accepted by the Bahamian government, including enhanced driver's licenses, passport books, and passport cards. In fact, the travel documents required for a trip to the Bahamas have less to do with where you're going (swimming with pigs on the island of Exuma, maybe?) and more to do with how you plan to get back into your home country.

U.S. citizens traveling on a cruise, for example, may use a passport book or card, an enhanced driver's license, or a Trusted Traveler Program card to enter the Bahamas. The same documents will allow you to re-enter the U.S. via sea border, but only a passport book is accepted if returning on an airplane.

Because the rules vary based on mode of transport, U.S. travelers are encouraged to travel with a passport at all times. Even though a passport card or enhanced identification card will allow you to travel inexpensively to other countries, it can make flying to the U.S. in the case of an emergency unnecessarily difficult.

It's also important to note that, at this time, only the states of Washington, Vermont, New York, Michigan, and Minnesota offer enhanced drivers licenses — EDLs, that is, which have security features acceptable for international travel. EDLs should not be confused with REAL IDs, which are valid only for domestic travel.

For entry into the Bahamas, your passport must be valid throughout the duration of your stay. Make sure your passport has two available blank pages for stamps.

At the end of the day, you really should obtain a U.S. passport book before taking a trip to the Bahamas. The good news — at least for your wallet — is that no tourism visa is required unless your trip will exceed 90 days.

Check the U.S. Department of State's Bahamas travel page for up-to-date information.

Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.

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