We tell our children fairy tales, like Cinderella and Little Red Riding, and there is always an obstacle in the plot – like Cinderella’s rather desperate need to return home before midnight, and Little Red Riding Hood’s confrontation with a remarkably toothy grandmother.
There is usually a moral involved in fairy tales, too.
And so we’d like to tell you a short fairy tale. The We-Are-So-Busy-and-Tired family decided that they wanted to go a special holiday to a place where they could run on white sand beaches and frolic in blue-green waters. Their friends, the We-Travel-A-Lot family, recommended that they go to the magical Abacos.
And so it was that the We-Are-So-Busy-and-Tired family counted each day on their kitchen calendar until it was finally time to go to The Abacos. They wheeled their carefully packed bags to the airport, and their mom carried their passports and their one-way tickets – to the Bahamas.
But when the immigration official looked at the We-Are-So-Busy-and-Tired family’s tickets, she shook her head: “You need to show the Bahaman officials your return ticket when you enter their country. You have only one-way tickets.”
The We-Are-So-Busy-and-Tired family had decided to buy their return ticket from the Bahamas, so that they could choose which day was best to leave, but now they had to hurriedly buy their return tickets at the airport.
The good news is that the We-Are-So-Busy-and-Tired family were able to catch a later flight and run and play in the sand and the sun. (The end.)
At Air Unlimited, we like happy endings. We also want you to be able to “Fly. Enjoy. Return.” and so we present the entry requirements, for American citizens, going to The Abacos.
Do I need a passport to enter The Abacos?
Yes, if you fly into The Bahamas, you are required to present an American passport to Bahaman officials.
You may have read the last sentence and thought something like this: But I did not need a passport when I travelled to The Abacos by cruise ship last May.
And, you would be correct. If you travel into The Bahamas by boat or by land, you can use any document that is compliant with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, as linked to above, dictates that the following forms of identification be acceptable:
- Valid U.S. passport
- Valid passport card
- Enhanced driver’s license
- A NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST trusted traveler program card
- A U.S. military identification card, if you are travelling under official government orders
- A U.S. merchant mariner document, if you are travelling on official maritime business
- A Form I-872 American Indian card, or enhanced tribal card
At Air Unlimited, we recommend that you use an American passport to travel to The Abacos, and other locations in the Bahamas. Why?
Should your cruise ship have an unhappy incident, say, a severe outbreak of influenza, it might be possible for you to leave the infected ship and fly home to America, but you would need your passport to re-enter America.
Similarly, if you are piloting your own boat, but are called back to America for an unforeseen emergency, you would need your passport to board a flight.
So, if you are flying into The Abacos, you require an American passport. Simple.
If you are entering The Abacos by boat (or somehow over land) you can use one the I.D.s permitted by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, however, you should use the one I.D. that can gain you re-entry by flight into America, your passport.
One last thing …
If you are travelling with your child, who under the age of 18, and the other parent is not present, you should carry a letter of permission from that parent, simply stating that they are aware that their child is travelling with you.
Similarly, if you are travelling with any child who is under 18, you should have written permission from their parents.
Enjoy The Abacos.
Fly. Enjoy. Return.