Do I Need A Passport To Go To Turks And Caicos Islands

Jun 21, 2022

6 min read

I love snorkeling, seeing all that life growing under the water, and all the amazing colors of the fish. So if this sounds like something you would love, your next travel destination should definitely be the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). Ever since the TCI updated their entry requirements, there seems to be some confusion about whether you need a passport to travel to these beautiful Islands. Well, fear not, I'll cover everything you need to know!

Let's dive in (pun intended):

Do I Need A Passport To Go To Turks And Caicos Islands?

The Turks and Caicos Islands are British overseas territory and whether you need a passport or not depends on your method of travel (by air or sea). There are some exceptions when traveling by sea, but they recommend you take your passport even then. Let me break it down for you because it can confuse people:

Do I Need A Passport When Traveling By Air?

Everyone needs a passport to board a plane. The Turks and Caicos Islands are no exception. Citizens of the US must travel with a valid passport and you must provide a return or onward flight ticket. Your passport must be valid for 6 months from your date of entry.

You can travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands with just your passport in hand for less than 90 days. Previously, visitors had to obtain a TCI travel authorization to visit the islands. However, the government has updated the entry requirements and eliminated the travel authorization requirement.

This is a blessing for US citizens because you don't have to go through the tedious process of applying for a visa. However, if you want to stay longer than 90 days, you need to apply for a visa. Check all the visa requirements and costs before deciding.

Travel tip: Take a copy of your passport with you. Keep it away from your original passport in case someone steals your passport, or you lose it.

Do I Need A Passport When Traveling By Sea?

When you travel by sea to Turks and Caicos, you can use your passport or any of these other documents:

  • Passport card.
  • Trusted traveler card.
  • Enhanced driver's license.

Even though these documents are valid travel documents, the US Department of State advises all US travelers to take their passports with them just in case there's an unforeseen incident (injury, family, or business emergency). This is especially useful for cruise passengers if they don't make it in time back to the port and need to fly to the next port to get back onto the ship. In these and other emergency situations, you won't be able to fly if you don't have a passport.

Do I Need A Passport For A Closed-Loop Cruise?

A closed-loop cruise is when your cruise embarks and ends in the same US port (like New York). You don't require a passport for a closed-loop cruise, but just like when you travel by sea, it is recommended to travel with your passport. Again, this is just in case there is an emergency you need to attend to (family or business.) Or there might be an incident that prolongs your stay on the Islands, like hospitalization, injury, or cruise ship damage. Going back to the US by air instead of by cruise will require your US passport.

Do I Need A Passport When Traveling By Private Vessel?

In short, yes, you do need your passport if you travel by private vessel. There are also specific Private Vessel Entry Requirements. Make sure that you read these requirements thoroughly. Upon entry, you must fill out and present the following documentation:

  • TCIS Pleasure Craft Report Inward.
  • TCIS Customs Form.
  • TCIS Immigration Form - one per person (if remaining in the TCI for more than 24hours).
  • A valid passport.

The U.S. Embassy advises traveling with a second form of identification, especially a government-issued photo ID, in case your passport is ever lost or stolen. Keeping an electronic scanned copy of your passport is also helpful.

Do Minors Need A Passport To Travel To Turks and Caicos Islands?

It depends on the method of travel. Like adults, minors require a passport when they fly. If your child under 18 travels unaccompanied, they need a notarized content document from their parents or legal guardian. Children under the age of 16 can use a birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or citizenship certificate if they travel to and from the Turks and Caicos Islands by sea.

Children 19 and younger can also use birth certificates to travel by sea and travel with a school group, a church group, or a social or cultural organization supervised by an adult.

If you travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands via a closed-loop cruise, a child six years old or younger will only require proof of citizenship to travel into the Islands; an original birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID will suffice.

Why Should I Carry A Copy Of My Passport With Me?

The Importance of having and safeguarding a U.S. Passport is because the Turks & Caicos Islands are geographically remote. The nearest emergency passport facility is almost 500 miles away (Grace Bay), which adds a costly flight to Nassau to get to the nearest U.S. Embassy. Since it's impossible to travel by air without a U.S. passport out of TCIS (as most flights to Nassau stop first in the United States), it's difficult to fly to Nassau if your passport is lost or stolen.

What Forms Do I Need When Traveling To Turks And Caicos Islands?

You are no longer required to present a pre-travel authorization. However, there are still two forms you need to present on arrival:

  • Each person will need to complete an immigration form which you need to present to an immigration officer.
  • The head of each family will also be required to complete a customs form (C105). In addition, in the case of friends traveling together with different surnames, each will need to complete their own customs declaration form.

Quick note: Whenever you travel to a foreign country be sure to have travel insurance.

What Is A Real ID?

If you didn't know, on May 3, 2023, every traveler 18 years and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license, state-issued enhanced driver's license, or another acceptable form of identification to fly within the United States.

You need a valid passport or a Real ID to travel within the United States. You don't need both.

How Do I Know My Documents Are Real ID Compliant?

They mark the REAL ID-compliant cards with a star at the top of the card:


If you're not sure, contact your state driver's license agency on how to obtain a REAL ID-compliant card.

At the end of the day, the answer will stay the same. Of course, you need to take your passport when you travel to the beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands. But, like I always say, "Rather safe than sorry." An emergency can happen within a blink of an eye; instead, be prepared.

Written By: Laliq Schuman
Fact Checked By: Richard Nathan

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can US Citizens Travel Without A Passport?

Citizens of the United States can travel to any of the fifty states in the U.S. without a passport. In addition, you can drive throughout the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia without a passport; sometimes, a big welcome sign is the only indication you've passed from one state into another. If you need a visa contact the immigration department for further information.

Do I Need A Real ID If I'm Flying Internationally?

You'll need your passport for international travel. Instead of a REAL ID-compliant state-issued driver's license, you can use your passport to verify your identity at the TSA checkpoint. If you plan to present your state driver's license to verify your identity at the TSA checkpoint, that card must be REAL ID compliant.

What Is A Passport Card?

A passport card is a smaller version of your passport, which contains more information than a standard-issue government ID card, and you can use it for travel over sea and land. US passport cards are not valid for air travel.

What Are Trusted Traveler Programs?

Trusted Traveler programs are enabled by The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and target international travelers who want a more seamless travel experience. Programs of this type include expedited lanes at U.S. airports and even across international borders.

Travelers need to be pre-approved and low risk to be eligible for these programs.

Trusted Traveler Programs include:

  • NEXUS: Generally used to enter the U.S. from Canada through the 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.

Is There Direct Flights Into Turks & Caicos Islands?

Providenciales International Airport (PLS) is the only airport with scheduled international flights into the country. You must exit customs and immigration in order to board a connecting flight, and thus you must have the ability to enter the country. Countries that require a visa for entry have the same requirements for transit. Check the pandemic restrictions to see if you need proof of vaccination or need a covid-19 test.

More from Turks & Caicos Islands

Related Articles