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Do You Need a Passport To Go To Hawaii?

Do You Need a Passport To Go To Hawaii

Hawaii, commonly known as the “big island,” is one of the most popular travel destinations for Americans and visitors from all over the world due to its stunning beaches and pristine rainforest. Whether it’s a family vacation or a solo trip, many beautiful destinations exist worldwide. Hawaii could be a great choice if you are looking for idyllic beaches, friendly people, and culture.

Many of the answers sought in today’s world, which is changing quickly, may be found in Hawaiian culture. Being in the presence of and sharing life’s essence teaches us the values of peace, kindness, and responsibility toward future generations. This is known as the spirit of aloha.

Before you start booking your trip…

However, before we get ahead of ourselves and order a Hawaiian shirt, we must prepare. There are many things to consider when planning a trip abroad. Budget, visas, and of course, a passport. 

So, Do You Need a Passport To Go to Hawaii?

GREAT NEWS for US citizens. You do not need a passport to enter Hawaii. But there are some rules that I’ll go through later. It’s especially good for those who don’t own a passport. Believe it or not, only 37% of Americans have valid passports. If you don’t plan on getting a passport but want a vacation, Hawaii is the destination for you.

 Do You Need a Passport To Go to Hawaii

The History Of Hawaii

Despite being an American state, the Hawaiian Islands have a very distinct cultural identity from the other 49 states. The last native king or queen of Hawaii was a member of the Liliuokalani royal family. When Americans first began to visit Hawaii in search of sugar, they soon discovered how wealthy the area was. Hawaiians attempted to fight American advances for several years but ultimately ceded the territory.

The eight Hawaiian islands joined the USA as a territory in 1898 and as a state in 1959. Due to its proximity to Japan and desire to use the islands as a naval base during the Spanish-American War, the USA was particularly interested in acquiring the islands as a territory (and eventually a state).

What Do I Need to Travel to Hawaii as An American Citizen?

As we know, you do not need a passport. However, US citizens need some form of government ID to travel to Hawaii. A driver’s license or provisional license with a photograph and a yellow star is what most airlines will accept. 

Most people traveling between states should show proof using a driver’s license, as this is the easiest way for TSA to recognize a traveler. Often hotels and car rentals will also request an ID too.

No proof is needed for kids…

Children do not have to worry about an ID card as long as they are traveling with a parent or guardian who has a valid ID. However, if you are worried, it would be good to bring along a birth certificate or a school card in case of the unlikely scenario they ask you. 

Circumstances in Which You Will Need a Passport to Enter Hawaii

The only circumstance in which a passport is essential for a US citizen traveling to Hawaii is if their first point of departure is from another country

For instance, a person from the UK might have left and chosen to travel to Hawaii, or someone from New York might have stopped in Toronto, Canada, before continuing to the islands. This is a routine process like any other state or admission back into the USA.

Always check your expiry before traveling!

This should be nothing to worry about, as entering these countries beforehand means you will have a passport on you already. It is essential to ensure your passport is valid if you travel from another country. Experts advise that you should always have six months left on your passport while traveling and a few pages for stamps. 

Keep in mind that Hawaii is located in the middle of the ocean. It is also included in the list of States with US military defensive gateways that are exotically remote.

Keep the military in mind…

Therefore, you must present your passport if you arrive in Hawaii from another international territory or country. Regardless of your citizenship or level of residency within the country. To be eligible for a flight taking them back to the United States, the traveler must have a valid US passport.

Do I Need a Passport to Visit Hawaii if I am not a US Citizen?

Permanent residents can enter the island without a passport, but there is a reason for this. Hawaii ID cards.

Anyone who does not hold an American passport must show their passport on arrival. It’s unlikely you’ll even be able to board a plane to Hawaii without a passport if you don’t have citizenship. Do your research, as you may also have to obtain a visa to enter the country.

Do I Need a Passport to Visit Hawaii if I am not a US Citizen

Entry without a visa…

Countries that qualify for entry without a visa are; The United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, and South Korea. You must check the requirements and rules before you book your trip. For example, the length of stay you are permitted without a visa. And as mentioned, any non-American citizen must have a passport to travel to Hawaii.

Hawaii State ID

After the catastrophic event of 9/11, the government tightened airport rules worldwide. Hawaii was considered an easy target for entry to the States. Therefore, the State issued residents with Hawaiin ID cards. These are called Real IDs or Hawaii State IDs.

Documentation Summary

US Citizens

US citizens coming from a US state to Hawaii only need a valid ID, such as a driver’s license. However, a US citizen must bring a valid passport if traveling from another country.


Children traveling with family from a US state don’t need to bring any ID. If a child travels with a US citizen from another country, like their parent or guardian, they must bring a valid passport. To be safe, you should bring some sort of identification for the child. 

Non-US Citizens

People traveling to Hawaii for work or pleasure must bring a valid passport. They can also bring other forms of ID, but they must have a passport to enter the country and leave their departure airport. You may also need a visa to enter. 

Things To Do In Hawaii

Once you have sorted all the vital documentation and know where you need to go, the fun part comes. What can you get up to on your trip to Hawaii? Let’s take a look…

Things To Do In Hawaii

Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Located on the main island of Hawaii, the volcanoes are a must-see. However, don’t try to steal any lava, as it reportedly gives tourists bad luck. 

Dive with Manta Rays

Not for the faint-hearted! However, Hawaii offers the opportunity for ocean lovers to get up close and personal with Manta Rays. You can do this in the evening when professionals light up the ocean floor with plankton, and you can snorkel above, watching the rays feed. 

Visit Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

The Botanical Gardens in Hawaii are extraordinary due to preserving the environment while creating a garden for people to visit. No tractors were used to preserve the soil on the land. Instead, the trails you will eventually walk were created by hand using lava rock, picks, and shovels—a must-visit on the island.

Sail the Nā Pali Coast

The small island of Kaui has more than 16 miles of undeveloped coastline. It is almost inaccessible by land, so you must take a boat or helicopter. Once you arrive on the island, it is worth looking online or speaking to a tour shop about sailing the coast. Na Pali means many cliffs in Hawaiin; the cliffs soar to an incredible height. The beaches, caves, and waterfalls are a must-visit, but the easiest way to do this is by boat.

Akaka Falls State Park

Spend a day exploring the rainforest and waterfalls. Unfortunately, the park is inaccessible for wheelchair access as there are stairs to climb to arrive at the falls. You do not need a tour guide for this trail, which is a bonus. The waterfall is just a short distance from the parking lot too.

Fun Fact: Jurassic Park was filmed at Akaka Falls State Park. 

Hamoa Beach Maui

Hamoa Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island and a popular tourist spot. It is an excellent place to catch some waves. Swimming during the calmer months, summer and fall, is perfect at Hamoa Beach. However, if you are there during winter, you must be cautious of undercurrents and riptides. 

Applying For A New Passport Through The Mail?

There are some strict policies when it comes to official documents. So, we recommend you start by finding out Does USPS Notarize DocumentsDoes UPS Notarize, as well as the USPS Flat Rate Envelope Restrictions.

Other important info you might be interested in includes How Do You Cancel a USPS Passport Appointment, and if you’re waiting on your passport to arrive but have recently moved, Does USPS Forward IRS And Other Government Mail?

Your passport photo must follow the necessary requirements, so rather leave it to the professionals! So, let’s take a look at Does CVS Take Passport PhotosDoes Target Take Passport Photos, and Does Walgreens Do Passport Photos, followed by Does Costco Take Passport Photos, and Does Walmart Take Passport Photos for your choice of local stores in 2023.

Final Thoughts

Hawaii is a fantastic destination whether you are a US passport holder or not. But if you’re a US Citizen, you can travel to Hawaii with a valid ID card

Remember though, if you travel from another country outside the US, you must show your passport. The closest State to Hawaii is Alaska which might come as a surprise. Two completely different climates. One offers tropical weather, and the other offers sprawling mountains and glaciers. You may even forget you are in the states for a second!

Happy Traveling, and Enjoy Hawaii!

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