What Travel Documents Are Needed For a Spring Break Vacation to The Bahamas?
By Emma Adams
If your child is planning on a spring break vacation to the Bahamas please be sure to make sure they have the appropriate documents to travel out and back into the country. Don't let them miss their Bahamas vacation because they weren't aware of the Homeland Security changes.
The Grand Bahamas Island is a great place to spending for spring break with its wonderful beaches and great all-inclusive resorts, and for some high school and college students this may be the first time out of the country without their parents and family in tow, so a little bit of planning before the trip can make it flow so much better. To leave the US and travel to The Grand Bahamas Island, which is part of the Caribbean, procedures under Homeland Security has changed, so if your child is traveling for spring break 2011 here are some things to know to keep them traveling safely.
Effective Oct. 1, 2007, U.S. citizens traveling by air to the Caribbean must present a passport or other WHTI-compliant documentation (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) to enter or depart from the United States. Of course the US Passport is recognized internationally and the most common form of ID. The passport will identify the traveler and his/her nationality and is accepted for travel by air, land and sea. A passport must be renewed every 10 years so be sure your child's documents are up to date.
In addition to the passport there are other WHTI documents that can be used as travel identification tools such as the US Passport Card, Enhanced Driver's License (EDL) and the Trusted Traveler Program Card.
The US Passport Card is relatively new limited travel document. It can fit in most wallets and cost less than the passport. This card is only valid for travel by land or sea. The Enhanced Driver's License is offered states and Canadian provinces are issuing this driver's license or identification document that denotes identity and citizenship. It is specifically designed for cross-border travel into the U.S. by land or sea. The Trusted Traveler Program Cards NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST enrollment cards can speed your entry into the U.S. and are issued only to pre-approved, low-risk travelers. The cards are valid for use at land or sea; the NEXUS card can be used in airports with a NEXUS kiosk.
The Grand Bahamas Island is relatively easy to get into but like any country travelers are expected to go through immigration when they arrive on the Islands. The tricky part about leaving the Island via air is the process out of the country and that is because the traveler needs to plan the return trip with plenty of time as they are processed to leave the Bahamas and then walk a few feet and then begin the process of entering the US while still on the Island; this is great because upon arrival at the US airport there are no immigration lines. If your spring breaker is headed back to the US by air be sure to remind them that this process can be time consuming so give plenty of time.
Knowing what documents are required and having them ready when you return home will help streamline the entry process and ensure your return to the U.S. is as smooth as possible. Make sure your Spring Break vacation goes as smoothly as possible with a little planning.
Emma Adams provides advice and recommendations on vacation packages, cheap Bahamas vacations, the best deals on Spring Break packages, all-inclusive vacation packages to all the Bahamas Islands, and travels extensively to the Bahamas learning about the resorts and things to do. http://www.gobahama.com offers the best travel deals to the Bahamas has a unique service of a personal travel consultant to help determine the best resort package available.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.