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I have a very recently issued Nevada driver’s license that’s probably “enhanced” but that’s the only ID I have on me. I forgot my passport at home. I’m in anchorage now and the cruise leaves this evening. It doesn’t make any stops in Canada except the final destination of Vancouver in one week. Then I’m flying direct from Vancouver to my hometown of Las Vegas. How screwed am I? Is there any way to salvage the trip? Could I maybe pick up a replacement passport from the Vancouver consulate if I visited a passport office in Anchorage now? Should I leave the ship at the last US stop and just book a new flight from there? Why doesn’t CBP just have all the contents of all the passports in a searchable database so there’s no need for obsolete paper documents?

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    Even if Canada let you in, which the might with an enhanced licence... this works via land but not sure about via boat. The airline probably wouldn't let you board a flight to the US without a passport or NEXUS card. If you do manage to get to Vancouver you could try get back to US through a land crossing and prove your citizenship at the border. This will take a long time, expect to be held for a while. – BritishSam Jun 10 at 10:28
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    Why doesn’t CBP just have all the contents of all the passports in a searchable database so there’s no need for obsolete paper documents? Sounds like a topic for another question. – Mike Harris Jun 10 at 15:12
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    Is getting your passport couriered to your last US stop an option? – spender Jun 10 at 18:05
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    @jonathan You can't see why a medical emergency would qualify for an exception but "oopsie daisy I forgot my passport" wouldn't? – Azor Ahai Jun 11 at 1:47
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    @JonathanRay someone with a passport who leaves early is not a problem, someone without a passport that promises to leave early and then doesn't is a problem – Christian Jun 11 at 12:34
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I think you're out of luck for today.

As Richard mentioned, your driver's license is not enhanced, so it really doesn't help you at all.

The usual thing to do in this situation would be to go in person to a passport agency, where a passport can be issued the same day. Unfortunately, there are none in Alaska, and I doubt you have time to fly to another state, stand in line for hours, and fly back.

You may as well call the cruise line and ask if they will let you on, if you promise to get off at a US port; but I wouldn't count on that. Otherwise, I expect they will not let you board. You could also ask for a refund, but I wouldn't count on that either.

However, if you call the cruise line, I would guess they might offer to let you change your cruise to another date, or to credit your fare toward a future cruise on the same line. If you have a few extra days to spend on this trip, you may be able to rebook on a cruise leaving soon that doesn't exit the US. Or, rebook for a cruise to Canada in a few days, and have someone from home fetch your passport and send it to you via overnight shipping.

(Anything involving the US consulate in Vancouver is unhelpful, since Canada won't let you enter in the first place without a passport or other accepted travel document. The thing about a CBP database doesn't quite make sense either, since it's Canada that needs to check it. And anyway, beyond the information in the passport, a significant factor in having it prove your identity is that it's physically in your possession; it would take some work for an impostor to achieve that.)

  • If my memory serves me right, you can also apply for emergency passport at an expedited US Postal Service Office, which there SHOULD be some of in Alaska, though I am no expert. – Stian Yttervik Jun 10 at 18:18
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    @StianYttervik: I've never heard of an "expedited postal service office". You can request expedited service for a $60 fee when applying at a post office or any other acceptance facility, but this just reduces the processing time from 6-8 weeks to 2-3 weeks: useless for the OP. See travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/requirements/… – Nate Eldredge Jun 10 at 18:48
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    Yeah, sorry about that. My memory did not serve me right. It seems that the kind I was thinking of is only for "life and death situations" and is 72 hours. travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/…. – Stian Yttervik Jun 10 at 18:56
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    Note that unless the cruise ship is flagged in the US (which it probably isn't), then the Passenger Vessel Services Act prohibits the cruise operator from letting a passenger travel between US ports. They're liable for an ~$800 fine if they do let you off, which they'll be happy to add to your bill. – Michael Seifert Jun 10 at 21:31
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    @reirab: I didn't know that, but that makes sense. A round trip that starts and ends at the same US port is allowable so long as it stops at a foreign port along the way. – Michael Seifert Jun 11 at 20:02
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According to the Department of Homeland Security, Nevada does not issues EDLs that can be used to enter the US. Regardless, EDLs cannot be used to enter the US by air.

Furthermore, you will likely be refused entry to Canada, and possibly refused boarding for the cruise (not sure on that, but airlines would typically deny boarding in your circumstance, rather than you being rejected at immigration in Canada). Picking up a passport in Alaska before departure is your best bet, but I would work on the assumption that you will not make it to Vancouver.

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    Cruise lines can and do refuse to board people who don't have the proper travel documents for their ports of call. I think this person is not going on their cruise today. – Michael Hampton Jun 10 at 14:50
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Likely they won't let you on the boat without a passport (like airlines). Even if they do, this is going to be a problem entering into Vancouver.

This site indicates that there's a private company able to do expedited passports in Anchorage in 24h, give them a call ASAP to see if they can do it in time.

Be prepared to pay a hefty fee... $500+

https://www.uspassporthelpguide.com/passport/alaska/

https://www.uspassporthelpguide.com/emergency-passport/

Edit: Or pay a friend to fly it to you...

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The US government has expedited service. If you are traveling in the next 2 weeks via plane or cruise ship. The cruise line will most likely reject you due to the stop in Vancouver. You cannot enter Canada with only a Nevada license.

https://www.usa.gov/passport#item-34927

It does not look like there are any offices in Alaska. There are ones in Seattle.

Technically you still have a passport -- replacing it will invalidate the first one.

If you have a passport -- have someone get it and FedEx it to you. They can do it to any place including hotels, the cruise ship. Most likely breaking in and repairing the damage may be cheaper than expedited requests.

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