Traveling without a passport is easier than ever before. But if you don’t have one and can’t get one in time, how do you get out of the country? Most countries require some kind of identification document in order to enter or exit their borders. In the US, that document is usually a passport book—but there are alternatives!
Travel is enjoyable but also stressful.
Travel is enjoyable but also stressful. You don’t want to be caught off-guard with passport problems, so make sure you have a backup plan in case your first one doesn’t work out. It may sound obvious, but it’s important to have a plan before you go.
Have a plan, and if possible, have backup plans.
You should always have a plan, and if possible, have backup plans. Planning ahead is important to avoid surprises. If you’re traveling without a passport and your first plan doesn’t work out, it’s essential to have a backup plan in place so that you can make decisions based on facts rather than emotion—and possibly waste a lot of time while deciding what exactly to do next. When making travel plans without a passport, having multiple options allows for flexibility: if one route isn’t working out or there’s an unforeseen difficulty along the way, switch gears and take another path!
If you don’t have a passport and you can’t get one in time, an enhanced driver’s license is your best bet to get out of the country.
What is an enhanced driver’s license?
An enhanced driver’s license (EDL) or enhanced identification card (EIC) is a form of identification that offers extra benefits for travelers. While not technically a passport, this alternative will allow you to get out of the country if your original document isn’t available in time.
What do I need to get an EDL?
To apply for an EDL, you must have one of these:
- A valid U.S. passport
- An unexpired U.S. passport card issued by the Department of State in conjunction with your current state-issued driver’s license or ID card (if it has been expired less than two years).
Check to see what kind of identification your destination country requires.
Check to see what kind of identification your destination country requires.
If you’re flying, arriving in a new country, and the airline won’t let you board without an ID, you may be able to get one at the airport. If not (or if they don’t accept government-issued IDs), try contacting the embassy or consulate of that country in your home country first. They can help find other options for getting an emergency travel document before you arrive at the border control office. If there’s no embassy nearby then call airlines directly—they might also have information on how travelers can obtain temporary documents from their destinations’ airlines prior to arrival.
Don’t forget about local border control officials! Even if they allow people who aren’t carrying passports into their country for tourism purposes or business trips (like Canada does), sometimes these officials will still want proof of citizenship just in case something goes wrong later down the road (like say when applying for residency).
Even with an enhanced driver’s license or other travel documents, there are still places you can’t go.
It is important to know that even with an enhanced driver’s license or other travel documents, there are still places you can’t go. For example, Cuba and North Korea are off-limits to most U.S. citizens without a passport — even with an enhanced driver’s license. Iran, Yemen, Somalia and Libya all require a visa for entry and do not accept Enhanced Driver’s Licenses as a valid form of ID (although some of them will accept passports). Syria is another country where you cannot enter without a passport or other acceptable documentation such as an Enhanced Driver’s License — but even if you somehow managed to get inside Syria without the right documentation, you wouldn’t be able to use your EDL anyway because they don’t have any ATMs located in the country!
Another option is to not go very far from home.
If you’re feeling adventurous and have a valid passport, however, there are still plenty of ways to leave the country. It’s true that most people don’t have one of these documents—but that doesn’t mean they can’t travel! Just because you don’t have a passport doesn’t mean you can’t get out of town.
In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say: travel without a passport is easier than ever before! With technology comes new ways to get around bureaucracy and red tape—and we’ve got them all right here in this article.
Make sure you carry all the proper identification, even if it isn’t legally required for travel.
If you’re leaving the country without a passport, it’s important to have some sort of photo identification. The most common forms of identification are a driver’s license or state-issued ID card. However, if you don’t have a passport and can’t get an enhanced driver’s license (which requires additional documentation), your best bet is probably going to be carrying around something like a recent utility bill with your name on it—even though this isn’t technically required by law.
Allow for plenty of extra time in airports and at border crossings.
You should allow for plenty of extra time in airports and at border crossings. There are more variables than you might imagine that could impact your travel plans, including crowds, weather and flight delays.
You may need to go through security again, or you may be delayed by weather while waiting for a connecting flight. If your passport is lost or stolen, it will take time to replace it—and if an additional document (like an ID) is also required by law, obtaining one could cause further delays.
If these things all happen on the same trip? It’s best not to risk it!
Don’t leave home without a government-issued photo ID like a driver’s license or state-issued ID card.
When you travel, there are some things that you just won’t be able to get past the check-in counter without. Your passport is one of them. But what about other items?
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of 15 things travelers should never leave home without:
- A government-issued photo ID like a driver’s license or state-issued ID card (you don’t want to miss your flight because your boarding pass can’t be matched with an identity)
- Extra contact lenses or glasses (you never know when the ones you’re wearing will start acting up, so it’s best to have back up)
- Good walking shoes (walking is the best way to explore any new destination and if your shoes aren’t comfortable enough for long walks then they’re not doing their job)
Make sure any documents you carry are current and unexpired.
- Make sure any documents you carry are current and unexpired.
- If you have a passport, make sure it is valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates. You should also bring a copy of the photo page to present if asked.
- If you don’t have a passport, consider bringing an enhanced driver’s license that meets the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This will allow you entry into most countries without having to apply for a visitor visa first.
- Some countries require other types of documents as proof of identity and citizenship such as birth certificates or marriage licenses in case they’re needed upon your arrival at their borders; check with your destination country ahead of time so that there are no surprises when it comes time to cross over into its territory!
Be aware that a passport card isn’t the same as a passport book.
A passport card is a wallet-sized card that can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The U.S. Department of State does not recommend using a passport card as identification in air travel.
Use your passport book when traveling by air because it has an embedded microchip with biometric data that provides greater security than a regular photo ID. If you lose your passport while abroad but have managed to fill out an application form prior to leaving, then you may be able to apply for an emergency replacement at any U.S. embassy or consulate outside of the U.S., though this may take time depending on which country you are in at any given moment (they are busy places).
An expired passport is better than no passport at all. But only with some airlines — and only if it expired less than five years ago!
The good news is that most countries will accept your passport even if it’s expired. The bad news is that some airlines don’t accept expired passports at all.
The best thing to do is check with the airline before you travel, as some carriers may only accept passports issued within six months of departure, while others will accept them as long as they haven’t been expired for more than five years.
Research the rules on children’s passports carefully before you travel with minors.
- Children under 16 need a passport to travel in most countries. The exception is the United Kingdom, where children under 18 may need one; check with your airline before you fly there.
- If you’re travelling with minors and only one of their parents is present, be sure to contact the consulate for any country you are visiting before going on your trip. Some countries allow adult guardians without passports to accompany children across borders as long as they’re not travelling for work or school purposes (or any other reason). This makes sense because it prevents people from using fake documents or lying about their age when travelling with kids—but it also means that if both parents are unavailable during this time, some consulates might not accept guardianship documentation alone as proof of identity for those travelling abroad with unaccompanied minors.
You may be able to find legal ways to travel internationally without a passport, but they’re not always convenient or easy.[
You may be able to find legal ways to travel internationally without a passport, but they’re not always convenient or easy.
An example of a legal way to travel internationally without a passport is an enhanced driver’s license (EDL). In the United States, this type of ID is issued by the Department of Homeland Security and allows its holder to re-enter the country in certain situations if they are unable to present their passport at customs. EDLs require proof of identity such as birth certificate or naturalization certificate; proof that you live at your listed residence; proof that you have lived in the state where you are applying for six months (or three years if married); proof of citizenship; two recent color photographs taken within 30 days before traveling; and an application fee.
The process can take several weeks, so it’s best if you plan ahead and begin gathering all necessary documents now.