Would you like to kick back and relax on a beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, without having to obtain a valid U.S. passport first? Good news, you can—U.S. Virgin Islands passport requirements state that as long as you don’t touch down on foreign soil before arriving, you do not need a passport. Since the U.S. Virgin Islands are collectively a U.S. Commonwealth and therefore considered domestic travel for U.S. citizens, it’s easy to take a tropical getaway without having to obtain a new passport for travel to St. Thomas, St. Croix, or St. John.
You may, however, be required to show proof of citizenship when departing the U.S. Virgin Islands, such as a raised-seal birth certificate and a valid government-issued ID card. Although this does not mean that you need a passport to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands, you may want to opt for carrying a passport with you anyway—that way, you only need to carry one document versus two.
Also, keep in mind that you will be required to have a valid U.S. passport if you choose to visit any of the neighboring British Virgin Islands.
U.S. Virgin Islands Passport Requirements
U.S. citizens do not need a passport when entering the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the official U.S. Virgin Islands passport requirements, but you may be required to show proof of citizenship (raised-seal birth certificate and valid government-issued ID card such as a driver’s license) when departing the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John.
Even though you are not required to have a passport to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands, you may want to take a passport versus having to carry the two forms of identification needed for departing the U.S. Virgin Islands.
How to Get a Passport Book for Travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands
If you decide you want to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands with a passport, apply as soon as travel is confirmed. The cost will be greater if you apply for a passport within two weeks of travel time and need an expedited application. You can learn more about the requirements and documents needed to obtain a U.S. passport by visiting USA.gov.
Other U.S. Virgin Islands Travel Requirements
Visa: No, U.S. citizens do not need a visa to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Vaccinations: No special vaccinations are required when visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands.
So, Do I Need a Passport to Visit the U.S. Virgin Islands?
In summary: While U.S. Virgin Islands passport requirements state that you do not need a passport to go to St. Thomas, St. Croix, or St. John, having a passport will come in handy because otherwise you will be required to carry two forms of government-issued ID, such as a raised-seal birth certificate and a valid U.S. driver’s license. You will also need a valid U.S. passport if you choose to visit the neighboring British Virgin Islands.
More Information When Visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism is a great resource for things to do and places to stay, as well as everything you need to know before you go when planning a trip to St. Croix, St. John, or St. Thomas.
Protect Your Passport
On travel days, only take your passport out during inspection. Otherwise, keep it stowed away in a dedicated section of your bag (if you keep it in the same place every time, you won’t ever scramble to locate it). Once you arrive at your destination, find a way to stow it securely. In-room safes or safe deposit boxes at the hotel front desk are generally good options, but if neither is available, you’ll need to decide how to keep your passport secure. You might consider keeping it in an under-clothing money belt that you wear, or leaving it in the hotel or vacation rental but locking it in your suitcase with a TSA-approved lock.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 5 Exotic Places Where You Don’t Need a Passport
- How to Renew a Passport, Global Entry, and TSA PreCheck—The Ultimate Guide
- How to Take Your Own Passport Photo
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.