Can You Get Off a Cruise Ship if You Don’t Have a Passport?

By Alice Nichols

It is possible to get off a cruise ship even if you don’t have a passport. This can be done if the cruise ship is sailing to certain ports of call that allow for alternate forms of identification for disembarkation. For instance, in the United States and Canada, it is possible for citizens to disembark from certain cruise ships using a valid driver’s license and birth certificate instead of a passport.

These ports of call must meet certain requirements in order to allow non-passport holders to disembark. They must be located within 25 miles of the US or Canadian border and must offer direct transportation back into the country by land. Additionally, the port must be approved by US Customs and Border Protection or Canada Border Services Agency prior to allowing any passengers to disembark without their passports.

In order to determine if your cruise ship is visiting one of these ports that allows alternative forms of identification, you should contact your cruise line prior to your departure date. The cruise line will be able to provide you with detailed information about which ports allow this type of disembarkation and what documents are required for disembarkation.

It is important to note that only certain ports allow for this type of disembarkation, so it is important that you research your itinerary carefully before taking your trip. Additionally, it is important that all documents are verified prior to boarding the ship in order to ensure smooth sailing and an easy departure from the port.


In conclusion, it is possible for passengers without passports to get off a cruise ship at certain ports as long as they meet the requirements set forth by US Customs and Border Protection or Canada Border Services Agency. Passengers should contact their cruise line prior to departure in order to determine if their itinerary includes any such ports and what documents will be required for them upon disembarkation.