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Port of Victoria --Passport vs. Birth Cert


OceanNerd

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My husband and I will be traveling with our two children -- My Daughter, His Son. We all have US Passports except my step-son. Victoria, BC, Canada is our only foreign port. Will our son be allowed off (and more importantly, back on) the ship with only his birth certificate?

 

My husband's divorce papers officially state "joint" custody with his ex-wife, however DS lives with us 100% of the time and "MOM" is completely unavailable and uninvolved.

 

I have read on the Princess site and others various information about minor children traveling with only one parent and want to have everything taken care of well in advance. Thanks!

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Assuming he is a US citizen, a BC and a photo DI (if 16 or older) is sufficient for a closed loop cruise. I assume you are talking the Grand Princess round trip San Francisco to Alaska and Victoria. This is a closed loop cruise.

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You guessed the right cruise Paul! Dear Son is 13 years old. I guess I have just gotten paranoid reading various things about children traveling with one parent. I have traveled with my daughter quite a bit but, she has a passport and her father and I have an amicable relationship so even if there ever was a question or issue, it could be easily resolved.

 

I sometimes forget that DS isn't really "mine" and the complications that can cause.

 

;)

 

Thanks Again!

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Unfortunately, you will need a notarized letter from "mom" stating that you have permission to take son out of country. Odds are you will not be asked for it, especially since you are traveling as a family so it might not come up that you are not mom, but you need to have it to be on the safe side. Since you state the decree states joint custody, you might have an issue.

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Double check the cruise contract and the princess website, i thought i recall hearing just recently that princess requires children travelling with only 1 adult to have a passport, no exceptions. I'm not sure if that 1 adult is defined as a legal guardian...

 

From the princess contract of passage:

"PASSPORT REQUIREMENT WHEN MINORS TRAVEL WITH ONE ADULT ON VOYAGES GOVERNED BY U.S. WESTERN HEMISPHERE TRAVEL INITIATIVE (includes travel within BERMUDA, CANADA, CARIBBEAN, MEXICO, UNITED STATES)

 

When minors are traveling with only one adult 21 years of age or older, Princess requires that all passengers must be in possession of a valid passport. Carrier has implemented this requirement so that Your party remains together should an emergency arise that requires one or more in your party to be disembarked in a non-U.S. port. Carrier cannot guarantee that all members of Your party will be allowed to disembark with just a WHTI-compliant document or birth certificate. Failure to present a valid passport for all passengers traveling together will result in denial of boarding without refund of the of the cruise or cruisetour fare."

http://www.princess.com/legal/passage_contract/index.jsp

 

Usually the cruise lines wont let passengers sail if they dont have documents that are accepted in all countries visited along the way, so victoria should be the least of your worries.

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I believe you must have better than a birth certificate now and a notarized letter from the ex. You can enter Canada with a birth certificate but you can't re-enter the states with it so I don't think Princess will let him board.

Here is a a snippet of the law...

According to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all persons entering or re-entering the U.S. from Canada by car must have a passport or one of the following WHTI compliant documents. These documents are Trusted Traveler’s Cards such as Nexus; state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses, Enhanced Tribal Orders, U.S. military ID with travel orders, U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling on official maritime business, Native American Tribal Photo ID card or Form I-872 American Indian Card.

could be wrong...I'ld double check with Princess for sure!

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I believe you must have better than a birth certificate now and a notarized letter from the ex. You can enter Canada with a birth certificate but you can't re-enter the states with it so I don't think Princess will let him board.

Here is a a snippet of the law...

According to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all persons entering or re-entering the U.S. from Canada by car must have a passport or one of the following WHTI compliant documents. These documents are Trusted Traveler’s Cards such as Nexus; state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses, Enhanced Tribal Orders, U.S. military ID with travel orders, U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling on official maritime business, Native American Tribal Photo ID card or Form I-872 American Indian Card.

could be wrong...I'ld double check with Princess for sure!

 

Note the words "by car"

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I saw the car statement but they treat it the same as by water

this is clipped out of a government web site;

 

Documents Needed to Enter the United States

 

There are different documentation requirements depending on how you are entering the country. Generally speaking, you must have a document that complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Some of these documents have significant lead times and could delay your trip if you do not order them early enough.

Arriving by land or water you must present one of the following:

  • Passport
  • United States Passport Card
  • Trusted Traveler Cards – NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST
  • State or Provincial Issued Enhanced Driver’s License or Enhanced Identification Card – EDL / EIC
  • U.S. Military ID with orders. Must be traveling on official orders
  • U.S. citizens may present an unexpired Merchant Marine Document in conjunction with maritime business
  • Native Americans must have a WHTI compliant document. Some tribes have developed an approved “Enhanced Tribal Card” which is similar to an Enhanced Drivers License and is a valid border crossing document.
  • U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents can use their permanent resident card (Form I-551) or other valid evidence of permanent residence status.

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I saw the car statement but they treat it the same as by water

this is clipped out of a government web site;

 

Documents Needed to Enter the United States

 

There are different documentation requirements depending on how you are entering the country. Generally speaking, you must have a document that complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Some of these documents have significant lead times and could delay your trip if you do not order them early enough.

 

Arriving by land or water you must present one of the following:

  • Passport
  • United States Passport Card
  • Trusted Traveler Cards – NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST
  • State or Provincial Issued Enhanced Driver’s License or Enhanced Identification Card – EDL / EIC
  • U.S. Military ID with orders. Must be traveling on official orders
  • U.S. citizens may present an unexpired Merchant Marine Document in conjunction with maritime business
  • Native Americans must have a WHTI compliant document. Some tribes have developed an approved “Enhanced Tribal Card” which is similar to an Enhanced Drivers License and is a valid border crossing document.
  • U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents can use their permanent resident card (Form I-551) or other valid evidence of permanent residence status.

 

 

From the Princess website.....

 

PASSPORT REQUIREMENT WHEN MINORS TRAVEL WITH ONE ADULT ON VOYAGES GOVERNED BY THE U.S. WESTERN HEMISPHERE TRAVEL INITIATIVE (includes travel within BERMUDA, CANADA, CARIBBEAN, HAWAII, MEXICO, PANAMA CANAL, UNITED STATES) When minors are traveling with only one adult 21 years of age or older, Princess requires that all passengers must be in possession of a valid passport. We have implemented this requirement because we want to ensure that your party remains together should an emergency arise that requires one or more in your party to be disembarked in a non-U.S. port. We cannot guarantee that all members of your party will be allowed to disembark with just a WHTI-compliant document or birth certificate. Failure to present a valid passport for all passengers traveling together will result in denial of boarding without refund of the of the cruise or cruisetour fare.

US citizens traveling on U.S. roundtrip or “closed-loop” voyages may also travel with an original certified birth certificate presented together with a valid government-issued photo identification. These voyages include:

 

•Alaska roundtrip from San Francisco or Seattle (roundtrip Seattle cruisetours excluded)

•Canada/New England roundtrip from New York

•Caribbean roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale^, New York or San Juan

•Hawaii roundtrip from Los Angeles and San Francisco

•Mexico roundtrip from Los Angeles or San Francisco

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I saw the car statement but they treat it the same as by water

this is clipped out of a government web site;

 

Documents Needed to Enter the United States

 

There are different documentation requirements depending on how you are entering the country. Generally speaking, you must have a document that complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Some of these documents have significant lead times and could delay your trip if you do not order them early enough.

Arriving by land or water you must present one of the following:

  • Passport
  • United States Passport Card
  • Trusted Traveler Cards – NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST
  • State or Provincial Issued Enhanced Driver’s License or Enhanced Identification Card – EDL / EIC
  • U.S. Military ID with orders. Must be traveling on official orders
  • U.S. citizens may present an unexpired Merchant Marine Document in conjunction with maritime business
  • Native Americans must have a WHTI compliant document. Some tribes have developed an approved “Enhanced Tribal Card” which is similar to an Enhanced Drivers License and is a valid border crossing document.
  • U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents can use their permanent resident card (Form I-551) or other valid evidence of permanent residence status.

 

The WHTI allows minors under 16 to cross borders into Canada, US, and Mexico with a Birth Certificate. Look under "special groups" http://www.getyouhome.gov/html/lang_eng/eng_sa.html

 

Select the US or Canada as your "homeland" and both permit entry by certified birth certificate copy. I would take your childs insurance card as well as additional ID since there arent a lot of documents that have your child's name on them to support the birth certificate (utility bill, etc)

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I'd get a passport and then you don't have any issues.

 

 

When I called Princess, the CSR at first said since it is a closed loop, all we would need is a birth certificate. However, after a couple more questions and a little time on hold, he confirmed that there is a new federal regulation requiring all minor children traveling with one parent to have an actual US Passport. :(

 

This in itself isn't that big of a deal, however getting consent from birth mom is going to prove quite difficult. Hopefully we will be able to receive a hardship waiver for this bit of info.

 

Thanks for all the help and support.

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This in itself isn't that big of a deal, however getting consent from birth mom is going to prove quite difficult. Hopefully we will be able to receive a hardship waiver for this bit of info.

 

Thanks for all the help and support.

 

They won't waive anything when it comes to custody issues, customs or Princess.

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Facts: You are going on a closed-loop cruise in the Western Hemisphere from a U.S. port. You and your husband are traveling with the husband's minor son. Husband's divorce decree states that he and his ex-wife have joint custody of the minor child.

 

Question: Does the minor child (son) need a passport?

 

Answer: No. He may travel with his birth certificate. (Official state-issued, not a hospital b.c.)

 

Question: Does Princess require the minor child to have a passport?

 

Answer: No. There are two adults traveling with the minor child. Princess requires minors to have a passport only when they are traveling with one adult. (Yes, he is only traveling with one parent, but the operative word is "adult" and the minor child is travelling with two adults--father and stepmother. I think the Princess representative gave you an incorrect answer. He/she should read their own regulations.)

 

Question: Will you have to produce a statement from the birth mother granting permission for the minor son to travel?

 

Answer: Maybe. Assuming that the minor child has the same last name as his father and stepmother, it is unlikely that Princess or ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will ask any questions about a birth mother. However, if at all possible, it would be a good idea to get a signed, notarized statement from the mother granting permission for the child to travel outside of the United States.

 

Question: At some point in the near future, should the father have the divorce degree modified to reflect that he has sole custody of the child?

 

Answer: There seems to be a good reason to do this. It will prevent this and many other problems from occurring in the future. And it will allow the father to apply for a passport for his son without requiring permission from the mother.

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  • 3 months later...

With all due respect, you may want to double check to ensure that you have the correct documents and get it in writing. In accordance with Canadian Border Services a child under the age of 18 traveling with one parent (I. E.without the biological'mother) may enter Canada with a birth certificate and a notorized letter permission of from the other parent. In cases where the parents are divorced or separated, the legal custody papers may requested. It is very clear that the officials are to be diligent about children being brought across the border.

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The "Ship has sailed" but I'd be curious to know what happened to the OP and her family.

 

My experience with Princess is that they will have rules that are different than the rules of the country that is being visited (ie, the stupid your passport cannot expire within 6 mths of the end of the cruise rule). Getting across borders is becoming more and more difficult in North America and while it's entirely likely a passport isn't needed, all that needs to happen is a rep from Princess deeming one is necessary and it's too late.

 

Regarding the 6 mths expiry issue I ran into that for a UK cruise a few years back. The UK has no such requirement for a Canadian Citizen but Princess refused to budge. It wasn't a big deal to renew my passport early but....

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