Visa requirements for cruises in the United States and the Caribbean

Visa requirements for cruises in the United States and the Caribbean

For cruises in distant countries, local entry regulations must be observed. A visa is required in some countries in North America and the Caribbean. This applies both if you want to go ashore and if you are in transit during your arrival.

fort lauderdale new river boats

Fort Lauderdale - Boats on the New River


Caribbean cruises

The Caribbean islands are under German Vacationers' favorite cruise destination. The region is primarily associated with ultimate relaxation, palm-lined avenues, cocktails on sandy beaches and turquoise waters. This creates an ideal recipe for a relaxing and exciting cruise.

The Caribbean is made up of dozens of independent island states and overseas territories of Great Britain, France, the USA and the Netherlands. The independent Caribbean islands include countries such as Jamaica, Grenada and Haiti. German nationals can travel to most Caribbean islands without a visa for up to 90 days, with the exception of Cuba and the US overseas territories. For the other Caribbean islands, travelers from Germany only have to present their passport upon entry and can then visit the country freely for a limited period of time, which is usually 90 days.

 

Entry requirements for Cuba and the USA

Anyone planning a cruise to Cuba should apply for a so-called tourist card in advance. This is a specific type of visa that can be applied for at the Cuban Embassy or online. In addition, travelers must register before starting their journey via the online platform D'Viajeros.

Persons traveling to the United States or the overseas territory of the United States must have a valid visa or ESTA. Travelers from Germany are generally recommended to Apply for ESTA USA online, because this is the easiest way to fulfill the visa requirement. Since, among other things, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands belong to the USA, an ESTA must be applied for when traveling to these islands.

Various offers on Caribbean cruises

curacao mathey wharf ms rotterdam koningin emmabrug

Curacao - Mathey Wharf with MS Rotterdam and Koningin Emmabrug


Countless cruises are offered in the Caribbean, which span different lengths and trace different routes. Countries in Central America and the USA are also frequently visited. Many longer cruises depart from Florida, in the United States, but there are also cruises that depart directly from the Caribbean islands themselves. In addition, transatlantic cruises departing from European ports are also offered.

Regardless of the exact travel route, you should make a note of all the countries in which you dock and check which entry regulations apply in each case. It is also important to check the applicable regulations in the countries you are traveling through. In the case of an airport transit, a visa is also required in some countries, for example in the USA. In this case, the ESTA is sufficient for travelers from Germany, but this should be applied for before departure.

Special regulations for stopovers in the USA

When entering US territory at any point in your journey, whether for a short stay or a stopover, you should be aware of some special entry requirements. In any case, a valid biometric passport and a visa or ESTA are required. An ESTA allows you to stay in the United States for up to 90 days at a time. It should be noted that stopovers in countries neighboring the USA or the Caribbean are added to the 90 days. So if you first travel to the USA for 10 days, then through the Caribbean for 50 days and then back to the USA, you are only allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of 30 days after that.

Travelers to Cuba should prepare particularly well if they also want to enter the USA or an overseas territory of the USA. If you have previously stayed in Cuba, you are not allowed to enter the USA with an ESTA. In this case, you should contact the US Embassy or Consulate and apply for a special visa.

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