Do You Need a Passport to Go to Guam in 2023?
Guam is a US territory. While it’s not one of the 50 states, many of the same rules regarding travel to US states apply when flying to Guam. So do you need a passport to go to Guam?
If you’re planning a trip to Guam and want to enjoy its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and tropical weather, you may be wondering whether you can travel without your passport.
Do You Need a Passport to Go to Guam?
For the most part, the answer is no. You do not need a passport to travel to Guam (or a green card), but you may need your driver’s license. In addition, you may need a passport to travel to Guam if you are traveling from outside the United States or transiting in a foreign country.
Guam is a US territory, meaning passport-free travel to and from the United States applies. At the same time, a new rule will require all US nationals to have a valid REAL ID to fly within the United States, and flying to Guam is no different.
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If You’re Flying Directly From the United States?
You do not need a passport if you’re flying to Guam directly from a US state or territory. However, if you do not have a passport or a passport card, you will still need an ID to fly on a plane and pass through TSA security.
Starting May 3, 2023, you will need a special type of ID: a REAL ID.
REAL ID cards are new driver’s licenses that contain a star at the top of the card. If you don’t see a star at the top of your card, you’ll need to get a new driver’s license before May 3, 2023, to fly to Guam.
While the DHS originally planned to implement the REAL ID rule earlier, the agency has extended the deadline due to Covid-19.
There is an exception, though. If you have a driver’s license from Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, New York, or Washington, you can also travel with a special state-issued enhanced driver’s license, even if it’s not a REAL ID. However, you can not travel with a regular driver’s license.
An enhanced driver’s license will have a flag instead of a star at the top of the card. Washington only issues enhanced driver’s licenses; it does not issue REAL ID cards.
However, if you are flying to Guam with a stopover in a foreign country, such as Mexico, you will need a passport to fly. A REAL ID will not suffice. Most of the time, flights to Guam will only stop over in states such as California and Hawaii, so you will not need a passport. It’s essential to check beforehand, though.
If You’re Taking a Cruise to Guam
If you’re taking a cruise to Guam, things get a little murkier. While you don’t need a passport to board a cruise, you may need one if the cruise stops in foreign ports, such as the Philippines.
It’s worth noting that for some cruises that stop in foreign countries, a passport card can suffice instead of a passport. A passport card is separate from your passport book, but it only allows for overland travel to Canada and Mexico and sea travel to Bermuda and Caribbean countries. Since Guam is in the Pacific, it is unlikely your cruise will stop in any of those countries.
If you’re not stopping in any foreign countries, you will not need a passport unless the cruise company requires you to take one. However, you should consider taking some form of proof of US citizenship, as you may have to answer questions about your US citizenship and the goods you bring with you when returning to the mainland.
Proof of US citizenship doesn’t have to include a passport, though. You can take a birth certificate, for example.
If You’re Traveling From Outside the US
If you’re traveling to Guam from outside the United States, regardless of the method of travel, you will need a passport. That’s because you will have to go through immigration to leave the foreign country.
If you’re in a foreign country, you most likely already have a passport unless you crossed over to Mexico or Canada by land. If you lose your passport, you will have to apply for a new one at the nearest US embassy.
Can You Travel From Guam to the US Without a Passport?
Yes. Just like you can travel from the US to Guam without a passport, you can also make the reverse trip without one. You will need a REAL ID or enhanced driver’s license to fly once the new law takes effect in 2023, and you should strongly consider having some proof of citizenship if taking a cruise from Guam to the US.
What Do You Need to Travel to Guam as a Foreign National?
Since Guam is part of the United States, you will need a valid visa to enter Guam as a foreign national. If you are already in the United States, ensure your passport and visa are still valid.
There is an exception, though. Twelve countries and territories are party to a special visa waiver agreement that allows their citizens to travel to Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) without a visa.
Those countries include:
- Hong Kong
- Papua New Guinea
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- The United Kingdom
However, citizens from those countries will still need to fill out a special form – the I-736 – and bring a signed paper copy with them when traveling to Guam. There are a few exceptions, such as foreign nationals who already have a normal US visa or who are from certain countries on that list and have an ESTA.
You can read more about the Guam visa waiver program here. You can download and print a copy of the I-736 form here.
What Other Territories Can You Travel to Without a passport?
Guam is only one of several US territories that make up part of the United States but do not make up part of the 50 states. These territories include:
- American Samoa
- The Northern Mariana Islands
- The US Virgin Islands
- Puerto Rico
Hawaii, while also an island, is a state, not a territory. Similarly, the Florida Keys are part of Florida.
When traveling to any of the five US territories, you don’t need a passport as a US citizen. However, you will need a REAL ID to fly there, starting in 2023. If you are taking a cruise to multiple US territories, you will not need a passport or passport card, providing you are not stopping in any foreign ports.
How to Get a New Passport in Guam
If you traveled to Guam without a passport and need a passport to fly to a foreign country, you can apply for a passport in Guam. The fastest way to get a passport in Guam is to apply at the Guam Passport Office at the Department of Revenue and Taxation. See here for more information.
Final Thoughts – Do you need a passport to go to Guam?
Traveling to Guam from the United States is relatively straightforward. Since Guam is part of the United States, you don’t need a passport. Flying to Guam is no different from flying anywhere else in the United States.