- Jonathan Chum
Hawaii is a popular tourist destination for Americans, but due to nearly 2500 miles of saltwater between it and the nearest neighboring US state, many travelers are unsure whether they need a passport to visit this beautiful place. Although it does not appear on the US map and has its own language, Hawaii is one of the 50 United States. That means if you are a US citizen or a legal permanent resident, do you need a passport to go to Hawaii? the short answer, you don't need a passport to go to Hawaii.
For instance, if you are a US citizen and live in California, you don't carry your Passport to visit New York or Arizona or other US states. The same goes for Hawaii. You don't need to present a passport to fly to Hawaii. However, any form of a government-issued ID card is required for anyone who is over 18 years of age, as mentioned in this TSA page.
In early 2016, news outlets were reporting that a "Real ID" would be needed for domestic air travel. Initially, the US Homeland Security stated that the Real ID Act would be enacted starting October 1st, 2020. However, due to this COVID-19 pandemic affecting the DMV operations, they decided to shift the act to October 1st, 2021. The Real ID Act would put up new security standards for issuing Driver's license. Unless you have a passport or federal identification, you would need Real ID for boarding domestic flights, accessing federal facilities, and entering nuclear power plants. For any question on the Real ID Act, you can visit the DHS FAQ page.
Who needs a passport to visit Hawaii?
If you are not a US citizen or Permanent Resident, you need a passport with more than six months' validity before the date of expiration. Besides the Passport, you would also need a Visa/ESTA. The situation is similar to visiting any US state.
If you are a citizen of a US territory like Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, or American Samoa and traveling through foreign countries along the way, you would need a Passport. Also, the US customs and Border Protection recommends having valid citizenship proof while visiting Hawaii. This proof could be any valid Photo ID proof, a Birth certificate, or Green Card or Passport.
Passport is Universal Identification
Although US citizens and legal residents don't need a passport to visit Hawaii, you do need a valid Government-issued ID Card. So, you can choose to use your Passport as the ID. Even with the Real ID Act to be enacted from October 1st, 2021, you can travel to any US state using your Passport. However, you can use various other forms of ID, such as your Driver's license. You can find the complete list of valid Identifications here.
Make sure you leave a copy of these documents with someone you trust before traveling, just to be safe in case you lose the original documents. Below are the most critical documents you need to carry if you are a US citizen or lawful permanent resident.
- Passport (not mandatory but recommended)
- Driver's License
- Medical and automobile Insurance cards
Ensure that you have access to significant phone numbers such as your friends, relatives, medical physician, credit card issuers, your insurance company, hotel, car rental company, etc. in case of emergency while staying in Hawaii.
Few Restrictions in Hawaii
Although visiting Hawaii is similar to visiting any other US state, there are a couple of restrictions that could affect some passengers.
If you are traveling with a pet, animal quarantine would be required upon arrival in Hawaii. Hawaii is the only Rabies free state in the US, and it is crucial to maintain that status. To prevent rabies from entering the state, all dogs, cats, and other carnivores animals have to complete the 5-day or less rabies quarantine. You can find more information about Pet Restriction here.
Flying to Hawaii is slightly different than other destinations. According to the Hawaii Biological Survey, the state is considered as the "endangered species capital of the world," with more extinct and endangered species per square mile than any other destination on the planet.
If you bring non-native Plants and animals to Hawaii, it could have harmful effects on Hawaii's fragile native ecosystem and agriculture. So, the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture mandates passengers traveling with seeds, plants, animals, or any agricultural materials to declare them on the Agricultural declaration form distributed to the passengers aboard the flight. Plant quarantine Inspectors are stationed to check your baggage and agricultural materials at the Baggage Claim Area.
Airport Security Process in Hawaii
The TSA screens all the flights from other parts of the globe to Hawaii. Here's are a few guidelines described by the TSA about what you can expect at the Airport.
- At the security checkpoint, you are required to show a valid government-issued ID card to pass the inspection.
- If possible, avoid packing Oversized Electronics such as Laptops, DVD players, full-size video games console, etc. in checked baggage.
- For security purposes, the TSA and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have prohibited traveling with specific items like sharp objects, guns, firearms, martial arts, chemicals, flammable materials, and sporting goods.
- If a passenger cannot or chooses not to be screened by a Metal detector or imaging technology, they will be tested using the Pat down method.
- You can carry liquids, gels, and aerosol as per the 3-1-1 rule.
- There is a unique screening process for citizens 75 years or older.
What to pack for Hawaii?
When traveling to Hawaii, you don't need to bring your entire closet on vacation. Packing light is the best for your Hawaiian adventure. Here's everything you need to pack for Hawaii.
In Hawaii, every day feels like an Aloha Friday. Besides one of two-piece of clothing for upscale restaurants, all you need is casual, comfortable clothes with shorts, T-shirts and tank tops. As Hawaii's enjoy a tropical climate year-round, women can go with Bikinis and tops combined with a pair of comfortable shoes or sandals. Pack in a small towel, light Jacket, Hiking Shoes, and Pajamas. Don't forget your Swinswuit and the various swimming gear you need. Also, you would need a comfortable backpack.
Pack in all the Toiletries you may need, such as personal medicines, make-up, Toothpaste, Hand- Sanitizer, brush, Deodrant, and Hair products.
While Hawaii has the best weather, the proximity to the sun can cause tan and nasty sunburns. If you want your natural golden glow, you need to pack a high SPF sunscreen. If possible, buy a Reef-safe sunscreen to avoid the bleaching or coral and damaging the Island's natural habitat. Also, bring a UV- protective sunglasses and a brimmed Hat.
Most Golf courses in Hawaii require Proper Golf Attire. It means no denim, no cargo, and no sports shoes. You will need a collared shirt with dress shorts or slacks if you want to go golfing.
Best Things to do in Hawaii
When planning a marvelous vacation to Hawaiian islands, there are countless remarkable activities to choose from on each isle. Hawaii consist of 6 islands and each Island has its distinct character, cultural history, and rare things to explore.
Whale Watching is one of the most magical experiences you can get in Hawaii. Watching the whales in action, being close to them and experiencing their annual migration to Hawaiian waters is a priceless adventure that will always be memorable.
The gorgeous Islands and crystal clear water calls for an unbelievable snorkeling adventure. Book a snorkel tour, snorkel with shark and eye- witness the beauty of amazing Hawaiian Marine life with your loved ones.
The elegance of Hawaii lies in the fact that everywhere your head turns, you will see yourself covered with incredible mountain ranges, turquoise ocean scenes, natural wonders, and diverse landscape. Hawaii Volcanos National Park. Manta Rays, Waimea Canyon are some of the best places you can't afford to miss out on
Beach Hopping is the reason why we visit Hawaii. There's nothing like a long and lazy day under the enchanting Hawaiian Sunshine. We all want to return with a Golden Suntan and a glimpse of relaxation spreading across our face.
Whether you are a Professional golfer to an amateur, Hawaii offers an unparalleled golf experience to everyone.
You are in Hawaii, and you don't go Surfing? Your trip to Hawaii would be incomplete without it. Surfing, KiteSurfing, WindSurfing, are popular across Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay and the renowned Matsumoto's shave Ice.
Polynesian Style Luau feasts are the best way to explore the Hawaiian Culture. They are one of the most attended activities, and you must try it at least once in a lifetime.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is becoming a popular Ocean Activities everywhere, and Hawaii is the perfect place to experience it. With easy tutorials and easy-to rent boards, SUP through the Hawaiian Islands should be on your Bucket list.
Hawaii offers ridiculous hiking adventure ranging for trail walks to extreme 3-day excursions. You should plan an adventurous hiking expedition to explore the gorgeous Hawaiian islands and get astonishing views.