Do You Need a Passport to Go to Hawaii

Do you need a passport to go to Hawaii is one question that gets asked all the time!  Maybe it is because these islands are so far from the mainland and the flight is so long, but in a nutshell, the answer is no.  Of course, that answer will change if you are not a citizen of the United States, because in those scenarios, you definitely need a passport to fly to Hawaii! So if you’re wondering, do I need a passport to go to Hawaii, then the answer really depends on what country you’re a citizen of.  Do you need a passport to go to Hawaii if you are not a US citizen – yes, you most certainly do! And the other things that most people wonder is – do I need a passport to go to Hawaii if I am a permanent resident? The same rules that apply to US citizens apply to you, but of course, be sure to carry your green card with you when traveling to Hawaii or to anywhere outside mainland USA at all times. 

Is a passport needed to go to Hawaii from the US

Let’s also establish the fact that Hawaii is a part of the USA as people often wonder if Hawaii is part of the US. Going from Washington D.C. to Hawaii has the same requirement for travel as going from Washington D.C. to nearby Maryland or far-away California, all because we’re one big country. So even though you think you might need a passport to Hawaii, legally you don’t but practically you probably should.

Yes, just like the answer to do I need a passport to fly within the US is a NO, needing passports to Hawaii is also NO because Hawaii is in the US. And for the record, Washington D.C. to California is about a 5-hour flight, which when you think how far California is from Hawaii, you’ll realize it’s about the same distance as Washington D.C. is from California. The US is huge, and that is why it might be confusing to figure out where you need a passport to fly to.

While you do not need a passport to go to Hawaii, you will need some type of government-issued identification to fly.  Therefore, as you are asking the question, “Do I need a passport to go to Hawaii?”, you may decide to take it with you as your necessary form of identification.  It will be especially helpful to have your passport instead of just your driver’s license if there is a slight chance that you may need to travel to a different country when you leave Hawaii.  

There are times when you may need to fly into Canada before catching your flight to Hawaii, or on your return trip home.  That is one scenario where your passport will be needed since US citizens are only allowed to enter that country via plane with a valid passport.  So in this case, if you are wondering, do I you need a passport to fly to Hawaii or asking do you need a passport to fly to answer, we will say, yes, you do need a passport to fly to Hawaii. 


Also remember that while you’re gone, you might run into an emergency that might require you to fly through another international border before returning home. Though this is very highly unlikely, this changes the answer to whether you need a passport to Hawaii to a yes. Left to us, everyone should have a passport to Hawaii, especially when traveling from the mainland as it can make things a little less complicated.

If you choose to forgo taking your passport with you to Hawaii, then you must be prepared with one of the other approved identifications.  The most common one is a driver’s license or state photo identification card, which are both issued by every state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.  A DHS trusted traveler card, US Department of Defense Identification, permanent resident card, border crossing card, a tribal issued identification, a US Merchant Mariner Credential, and a US Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization card are also accepted by TSA employees as valid identifications. 

So, yes, can you you travel to Hawaii without a passport – yes, you can. Do we think you should go to Hawaii without a passport – no, we don’t. Even if you can travel to Hawaii without a passport, we strongly recommend against it. 

Do You Need a Passport to Go to Hawaii

A couple of these other accepted forms of identification will be changing around October of 2020 or possibly in 2021 because that is when the Real ID requirements will go into effect.  At that time, every acceptable driver’s license and identification card must meet the new Real ID Act requirements. If you do not change your identification over to a Real ID, then you will not be able to fly unless you have your passport with you.  Eventually, even Hawaii residents will have their Real Id Hawaii as well. 

When you are traveling with children under the age of eighteen, you may also be wondering if they need a passport to travel to Hawaii, and the answer is still no.  In fact, children under the age of eighteen do not even need to present identification to fly as long as they are with you.  It is helpful to bring some type of identification though, in case there is any question as to whether they are supposed to be traveling with you.  So, even though the answer to if a passport is needed for Hawaii for minors is no, it will be helpful to have their passports on you when possible, for the same exact reasons we gave for adult – emergencies and ease of movements. 

Passport needed to fly to Hawaii

So what if you need to renew your passport in Hawaii and are wondering how to renew your passport in Hawaii, you won’t have to worry too much. Again, luckily since Hawaii is a USA state, all the rules and processes that apply to renew passports for adults and renewing passport for minor in the USA still exist. We have extensively written about how to renew your passport in the USA for adults and for minors. Even how to get a new passport for adults and minors. So, rather than go through traveling with no passport, or staying awake wondering do you need a passport to travel in the US, or do you we need a passport to go to Hawaii, get everyone their own passport and travel worry-free.

All this is good news for when you are wondering, “Do you need a passport to go to Hawaii?”, because you do not need to worry about finding it, renewing it, or getting one altogether before traveling to this beautiful part of the world.  Instead, all you need to do is arrange your flights and reserve your hotel room and then spend your time planning on which beach you will be at for every day of your vacation!

And when you finally arrive in Hawaii, here are our recommended reading series on visiting Hawaii with family:

  1. Top 1o things to do in Big Island, Hawaii
  2. Eight main islands to visit on your next trip to Hawaii
  3. Place to go with kids -Hawaii family vacation 
  4. 5 places you must see in beautiful Kona Hawaii


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