U.S. citizens traveling from the United States or its territories do not need a passport to travel to St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It may be a wise idea to carry one anyway, however, for a number of reasons. Passports are necessary for all travelers arriving in St. Thomas from outside the United States.

U.S. Territory

St. Thomas is an island in the Caribbean that is politically part of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), which also includes St. Croix, St. John and some smaller islands. The USVI is an unincorporated territory of the United States, and as such, U.S. citizens are free to travel there without a passport, just as they may travel freely between states or other territories without a passport.

U.S. Passports

As a practical matter, U.S. travelers to St. Thomas need to carry some form of identification, which may or may not include a passport, especially when arriving by air. Carrying a passport to St. Thomas is a good idea for other reasons as well. It gives travelers the flexibility to visit other places near the USVI that are not U.S. territory, such as the British Virgin Islands. Also, travelers returning to the United States via another country need to carry a passport to re-enter the United States. So even though a passport is not required for U.S. citizens entering St. Thomas, it's still a good idea to bring one with you.

Green Cards

Non-citizen legal residents of the United States – permanent residents, in government parlance – are not required to carry passports when traveling to other parts of the United States, including the USVI. However, the law specifies that permanent residents should carry proof of their permanent resident status. Thus permanent residents should carry their Permanent Resident Card, also known as a green card, on a trip to St. Thomas.

Entry From Other Countries

When entering the USVI from another country or foreign territory, which includes neighboring places such as the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda or the Bahamas – but not Puerto Rico, which is also a territory of the United States – all travelers must carry passports. For U.S. passport holders, arriving in the USVI is considered reentering the United States. For those holding other nations' passports, arriving at the USVI is considered entering the country. Non-American passport holders may also need a visa, depending on their country of origin.