If you’re an American citizen traveling out of the country, you have to have a passport to be allowed into somewhere else, right? While that’s mostly true, there are some exceptions. Some are independent countries, while others are U.S. territories that largely operate independently.
Note: Before you visit any of these places, make sure you look into what the entry requirements are. For example, you may need an enhanced ID or proof of certain vaccinations.
1. Puerto Rico
This Caribbean island is a U.S. territory, but it has a feel unlike any U.S. state, making it a popular travel destination. Its landscape is known for mountains, waterfalls, and rainforests. San Juan, the capital, features hotels, beach bars, and casinos.
Canada is the world’s second-largest country in area and has the world’s longest coastline, so there’s plenty to explore. Although you can visit without a passport, certain conditions apply. For example, you cannot fly in without a passport.
Famous for its pink-sand beaches, the island paradise of Bermuda is a British territory. The culture is a blend of American and British, and Bermuda is a popular cruise and resort destination.
4. Northern Marianas Islands
This U.S. commonwealth is located in the Pacific Ocean. Its attractions include mountains, sandy beaches, coral reefs, sandy beaches, and WWII battle sites.
Sharing the Caribbean island Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, Haiti is an independent nation. A 2010 earthquake ravaged the country, but plenty of historic structures and features survived.
With an enhanced driver’s license or passport card, you can enter this beautiful and historic country to our south without a passport. This is thanks to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
If you travel to this Caribbean island by plane, you’ll need a passport. However, one isn’t required if you visit by ship, and there are three ports that cruise ships can dock at: Port Antonio, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay. All provide access to bars, shopping, and lovely beaches.
8. American Samoa
7 South Pacific islands make up this U.S. territory. At the National Park of American Samoa, you can explore tropical scenery such as beaches, reefs, and rainforests. Entry requirements became more stringent in 2022, but you can still visit without a passport if you meet certain conditions.
9. U.S. Virgin Islands
Since these islands are a U.S. territory, you won’t need a passport to enter, but you will need the proper required ID, so be sure to check into that beforehand. Once you’re there, enjoy the white-sand beaches, reefs, and rolling hills covered in lush plant growth.
With proof of citizenship or proper ID, a U.S. citizen can enter this U.S. island territory in the Western Pacific without a passport. Once the site of key fighting in WWII, Guam is now better known for its villages, latte-stone pillars, and tropical beaches, but you can still connect with its WWII past at the War in the Pacific National Historical Park.
11. The Bahamas
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is an island country in the West Indies of the North Atlantic. Altogether, the islands comprise 97% of the land in the Lucayan Archipelago. Although parts of the Bahamas lie just above the Tropic of Cancer, the nation is considered a tropical one, and it is a popular destination for vacationers and cruises.
12. Turks and Caicos
Forty low-lying coral islands make up this tropical archipelago just southeast of the Bahamas. It’s a British territory regarded as an island paradise. Scuba divers, in particular, prize this destination for its 12-mile barrier reef on the north shore of Provo, one of the gateway islands, and for an underwater wall off Grand Turk Island. The wall, often called the Grand Canyon of the Caribbean, results from a sudden dropoff in the ocean floor and goes down 7,000’ deep.
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Robert Sihler is an educator, freelance writer, and rock climbing guide and instructor living with his family in Driftwood, Texas. In his spare time, he enjoys reading fiction, streaming films, completing crossword puzzles, and rock climbing. When he goes on vacation, he likes to visit the mountains of the West and climb remote, obscure peaks that have seen few or no prior ascents.