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Birth certificates instead of passports


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How much more of a pain is it to carry just our original birth certificates instead of passports. We are 6 months out and have 2 expired passports and an eleven year old with no passport. We are already dumping so much money into this trip, the passports add a few hundred more,plus time is becoming a concern.  Is there any difference in lines or ease of embarkation if we just fold up and carry the certificates and id's in a little pouch with us?

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You are welcome to use your original birth certificates and another form of ID in lieu of passports as long as you are on a cruise beginning and ending at the same US port. If, however, you have an issue at a foreign port of call requiring you to return home by some other method, the BC will not help you.

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When debarking, You cannot use the facial recognition customs scanners if you do not have a passport. You will wait in a longer line to speak to an agent.

As mentioned above, if you have any issue in a foreign port, you cannot fly home easily. You would need to get a passport first through the US Embassy in that country. It's not likely,  but it has happened. A NCL ship had an issue earlier this year that required all passengers to get off in the Dominican Republic.

6 months is plenty of time to get a passport and they are good for 10 years, 5 for your child.

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If everything goes fine, you will not have a problem.  If the worst-case scenario happens you will have big problems.  If you have medical issues out of the United States, you will have issues getting back to the United States.  If you miss the ship in a port the ship will take your passports out of your room and leave them with a representative on the dock.  If you do not have passports, you will have issues getting back home.

I do not want to sound like the half empty person, but I just like to be prepared.  

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I agree with everyone above.... Can you? Yep. Will it be an issue if everything goes as planned? Apart for slightly slower at customs... nope. Will you have mayjor issues if for some reason you can't return to port with the ship (sickness/injury, miss ship, accident in port etc, ship being stuck in a port due to a mechanical issue etc etc?)... absolutly!.

It really comes down to how much risk you are prepared to take and how big an issue would it be fore you had to spend days sorting out emergency passport/visa etc if stuck in a port? Chances of their being an issue.... low... but not 0
 

PErsonally if I ahd time to get a passport before I traveled I absolutly would.

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23 hours ago, Riley said:

Sent my passport renewal in around 6/10 and got it back last week. I paid for expedited as I needed it by 9/1 but 6 months should be plenty of time even under regular processing.

Wow! I can't believe it takes that long to get a passport renewed in the US. Last time I got mine renewed in new Zealand I had it back in less than 10 days and that was npt paying for the expediated service (I believe they garantee 5 days for that). It use dto take a lot longer here but they moved to the enw online renewal process about 10 years ago and it really has made a big difference in turn around time.

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21 minutes ago, EmersonNZ said:

Wow! I can't believe it takes that long to get a passport renewed in the US. Last time I got mine renewed in new Zealand I had it back in less than 10 days and that was npt paying for the expediated service (I believe they garantee 5 days for that). It use dto take a lot longer here but they moved to the enw online renewal process about 10 years ago and it really has made a big difference in turn around time.

It doesn't ordinarily take this long -another effect of the pandemic and service slowdowns.  I live in Chicago, which has a full-service passport office, and got my previous one done in a day. 

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We did a Bahamas cruise in March and my mother-in-law has no passport. She was fine w/ her birth certificate. We just kept it in a folder with our COVID test results in a nicer bookbag where it wouldn't get ruined. It was no trouble and didn't take any longer. But that also was going to the Bahamas, where they never checked passports getting off or on the ship. Customs at the terminal was just as quick and easy.

 

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We did a closed loop cruise that went to Canada and my mom was in line to get into the terminal when she realized she'd forgotten her passport. She was able to call my dad (in another state) get him to take a picture of her original BC and text it to her. RC made a copy for themselves, one for her, and asked her to keep it on her anytime she got off the ship. It was stressful, but it worked. I used my BC on my honeymoon cruise 20 years ago, but after that I got a passport, just for the ease of use, and that they are good for ten years. I also do PP for the kids now, though they are only good for five years up until a certain age. 

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On 7/27/2022 at 4:04 PM, Scott Dalfonso said:

How much more of a pain is it to carry just our original birth certificates instead of passports. We are 6 months out and have 2 expired passports and an eleven year old with no passport. We are already dumping so much money into this trip, the passports add a few hundred more,plus time is becoming a concern.  Is there any difference in lines or ease of embarkation if we just fold up and carry the certificates and id's in a little pouch with us?

The wait time for passports has come down significantly from where it was at the height of the pandemic.  If you are 6 months out I would strongly suggest you get passports. 

It is never a good idea to leave the country without your passport, even if you are taking a cruise you are still leaving the US, get and bring your passport.

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Just get passports for everyone, I also recommend global entry which comes with tsa precheck and sentri for $100 for 5 years also get the passport card . This will sound elitist, but if you cannot afford the passports you cannot afford the trip. I was firmly middle class when my kids were young and in their teens, prior to that we could not afford travel.  They have had passports since about age 11 and now  they are nearing 30. One lived and worked overseas for years and between the two they have visited at least 20 countries each. I consider a 4 year university education and a passport as the gold standard of what you should strive to provide for your children, not of equal cost but of equal importance. But then again I consider passports the best value of tuition in the education of life.

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We just sailed on Liberty last week with our 3 teens only having birth certificates.  There was absolutely no more wait time at embarkation or disembarkation at this port, as Galveston doesn't have facial recognition at the terminal, currently.  We sailed out of Miami (just my husband and myself both with passports and passport cards) a few months ago and they use facial recognition.  Yes, our disembarkation was faster in Miami than people that had someone with them with only birth certificates.  Those people only had slightly more of a line than the people with passports. IMO, that would not be worth the investment of hundreds to get a passport.  Our reasons to not get passports for the teens, were not financial.  They had to do with an uncooperative ex not willing to sign for a passport  on the teens.  We knew it was a risk not having a passport, but it was a gamble that was worth it for us, as our boys were able to leave the county without one.  It depends on how much of risk vs cost you are willing to gamble.

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One other thing to keep in mind is what ports of call you are going to. Closed loop cruise to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean is not much problem but if you have South American stops it won't work. I'm not sure on Central American stops but I would get a passport for there as well to be on the safe side.

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