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Do You Need A Passport To Visit Barbados As A U.S. Citizen?

The Islands
July 21st 2019
Do You Need A Passport To Visit Barbados As A U.S. Citizen?
Photo credit header image: piaharrisphotography/

Travelling to a foreign destination takes planning, and a large part of this is making sure your travel documents are valid, and close at hand.

If you plan on exploring the picturesque blues and greens of the Caribbean nation of Barbados and don’t have a passport, it’s a good idea to apply for one as early as possible, so your wait time for processing doesn’t get in the way of your dream vacation.

Picture: Barbados is home to exotic locales, a rich history, and an extensive variety of sports and activities.

In most cases, U.S. travellers to Barbados need to bring along their passports, as it is not possible to travel to the island by air with a U.S. government issued ID, or even a U.S. passport card. There are some exceptions when it comes to taking a cruise to Barbados, but even then it’s recommended to bring a passport in case of emergency.

Now that you know the basics, let’s get a little more into detail on the things you need to know ahead of going to Barbados for vacation, like what to do in an emergency if you’ve lost or misplaced your passport, regulations for minors travelling on their own, and more!

In this article on the Sandals Blog:

Visa requirements
Need a passport when flying to Barbados?
Need a passport when cruising to Barbados?

Passport cards
Trusted Traveler programs
Enhanced Driver's Licenses

Stuck in Barbados without a passport?
What if your trip exceeds the maximum period of stay?
Bonus: Special vaccinations required?
Bonus: Currency restrictions

Consulate and Embassy contacts

What are my visa requirements?

U.S. visitors do not need a visa when traveling to Barbados for less than six months. That should be enough to explore the island country and its amazing points of interests. A passport is all you need, and once you arrive in Barbados, an immigration officer will stamp your passport and indicate your maximum period of stay.

Do I need a passport when flying?

While you don’t need a passport for domestic travel in the U.S., you will absolutely need one when flying to the Caribbean islands, like Barbados. Your passport will provide important details like your identity and citizenship to immigration authorities in Barbados. When packing, place your passport and other travel documents in your carry-on for easy access at all checkpoints.

Concept of fast travel holidays

Photo credit: Jag_cz/

Not only is it a requirement that you need to have a valid passport when travelling to Barbados, you also need to have a return ticket which you may be required to present to immigration.

Check that your passport won’t expire at least until six months after you return home. There should also be one or more blank pages left in your passport when traveling to Barbados, as you’ll need space to accommodate customs entry stamps.

Do I need a passport when cruising to Barbados?

If you are traveling to Barbados by sea, you can use a passport or one of the following documents:

Passport cards
Trusted Traveler programs
Enhanced Driver's Licenses

Even though all the above are valid travel documents, it’s a good idea to bring your passport just in case. This will be useful in the event of an emergency, which might require you to fly home by air, or even just to meet your cruise ship at another port in another country because of unforeseen circumstances.

Exception for closed-loop cruises

Travelers intending to arrive in Barbados via a closed-loop cruise (starting and ending at the same port) through the U.S. do not need a passport. Cruise travelers can use their government issued driver’s license or birth certificate in lieu of a passport. Even still, it is recommended that travelers bring their passports with them anyway, in case of an emergency.

cruise terminal in Bridgetown

Photo credit: NAPA/

Exceptions for children

  • It is possible for children under 16 to use their birth certificate, naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship IF they are traveling to and from Barbados by sea.
  • Children under age 19 can also use birth certificates IF they are traveling by sea and IF they are traveling with a school group, a church group or a social or cultural organization supervised by an adult.

Even with that said, all air travelers need a passport to enter Barbados.

What is a passport card?

A passport card is a simplified and smaller version of a passport, which is eligible for use for land and sea travel into the U.S. from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada, and Mexico. You can use a passport card if you’re traveling to Barbados via a cruise.

recepcionist passport card

Photo credit: Corepics VOF/

Passport cards are also a low cost ($55) alternative to passport books ($135). They contain similar information to what someone sees on the photo page of your passport.

What are Trusted Traveler programs?

Trusted Traveler programs speed up the process for getting through the airport for frequent travelers. These programs include features like expedited lanes at U.S. airports, and when crossing international borders as well. Anyone can apply for this, but approval is usually only given to travelers who are considered low risk. Once you’re a member, you’ll be able to take advantage of a range of benefits which can enhance your airport experience.

Trusted Traveler programs include:

  • NEXUS: Generally used to enter the U.S. from Canada through land, air and sea;
  • SENTRI: Generally used to enter the U.S. from Canada and Mexico by air or land;
  • FAST: Generally used to enter and exit the U.S. from Canada and Mexico with a commercial truck.

At time of publication, all of the above memberships can be used as identification when embarking on a cruise to Barbados. However, none of the Trusted Traveler programs will replace the passport when flying to Barbados.

What is an Enhanced Driver’s License?

A state-issued Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) can be used as a driver’s license, and a travel document when reentering the U.S. under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). It can also be used for land and sea travel, the latter as it relates to closed-loop cruises starting in and returning to the U.S. The EDL provides proof of identity and citizenship, with enhanced security features which come in handy when traveling.

Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDL) are currently only being issued by states including Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington State. The EDL is not valid for air travel to Barbados.

I’m stuck in Barbados without a passport. What do I do?

If you’re in Barbados without a passport but find yourself in urgent need of one, you’ll be required to apply for an emergency passport. This can be done through the nearest U.S. Embassy. The Barbados Immigration Department can provide more details on travel requirements for cruise visitors to Barbados. Email [email protected] for more information.

Sandals Royal Barbados room
Picture: This all-suite resort features Sandals signature accommodations including Skypool Suites, Millionaire Suites and Swim-up Suites – all featuring Tranquility Soaking Tubs™ for two.

Tip: If you’re staying at one of the all-inclusive Sandals Resorts in Barbados and have lost your passport, head to the concierge and ask for help. Staff there should be able to put you in contact with the nearest U.S. Embassy, and the police if needed.

Here’s how you can get an emergency passport as quickly as possible while in Barbados:

  1. Go to the nearest police station. Make a report and get a copy to take with you.
  2. Get in touch with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate general. Provide details from your police report. You may also be required to show your airline ticket as proof of your need to travel. The address of the U.S. embassy in Barbados is provided below.
  3. Fill out the DS-11 passport application form.
  4. Complete the DS-64 form, which includes a statement regarding the lost passport.
  5. Pay your fees ($110 - the same as a new passport).

Here’s some of the things you’ll need to present at the consulate or embassy to get the process of securing an emergency passport underway:

  • Passport photo.
  • Picture identification, like a driver’s license.
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or a photocopy of your missing passport.
  • Travel itinerary (airline or cruise tickets).
  • Police report, if available.

Emergency passports in this case are of limited validity. You will need to reapply for a new passport once you return to the U.S.

Insider tip: If you’re staying at Sandals Barbados or Sandals Royal Barbados, ask about the in-room safes, which can help you keep your prized possessions, including your passport, safe!

What to do when your trip exceeds your maximum period of stay

Visitors can stay in Barbados for a maximum of six months. Once you arrive, the amount of time you can remain on the island will be stipulated by the immigration officer stamping your passport. This is done at the discretion of the immigration officers. If you want to spend more time in Barbados, you can extend your trip via the local immigration office:

Immigration Department in Barbados

Careenage House
Wharf Road
Telephone: (246) 4344100
Fax: (246) 4260819
E-mail: [email protected]

Bonus: Do I need to get vaccinated before traveling to Barbados?

Generally, there are no requirements as it pertains to vaccinations for U.S. citizens visiting Barbados. Visitors coming from countries with high risk of yellow fever transmission however, may be required to provide vaccination certificates upon arrival to Barbados. Some of these countries include:

doctor vaccinating male patient

Photo credit: New Africa/

Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Rep., Chad, Congo, Congo (Dem, Rep.) Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.

This list is complete at time of writing, please do check whether it’s still up to date before planning your vacation to Barbados.

These requirements also stand for travelers who have been in transit for more than 12 hours in a country considered high risk for yellow fever transmission. In this case, travelers will need to show that they have been vaccinated at least 10 days ahead of arrival to Barbados.

Bonus: What are the currency restrictions for Barbados?

There are no existing currency restrictions for visitors to Barbados. The amount imported however, should be declared on arrival.

pool ocean bar view
Picture: Experience the Royal Treatment at Sandals Royal Barbados, the all-new, all-suite Caribbean all-inclusive resort in the spirited St. Lawrence Gap area.

Consulate and Embassy contacts in Barbados and the U.S.

U.S. embassy in Barbados
U.S. Embassy Bridgetown
Wildey Business Park
St Michael BB 14006
Barbados, W.I.
Telephone: + (246) 227-4399
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: + (246) 227-4000
Fax: + (246) 431-0179
Email: [email protected]

US Embassy Board

Photo credit: Syda Productions/

Embassy contact in the U.S.
Embassy of Barbados in the USA
Telephone: (202) 939-9200
Address: NW, 2144 Wyoming Avenue, Washington, DC, 20008

Disclaimer: All information on this article was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Sandals is not affiliated with immigration authorities or their application centers and will not be liable for loss or inconvenience arising from the use of this volatile information.

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