Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
U.S. citizens do not need visas to enter the Turks and Caicos Islands as tourists for short periods, however, U.S. citizens must present a valid passport. Note: U.S. Passport Cards cannot be used to travel by air or private vessel to TCIS. Recently, some U.S. travelers have mistakenly been allowed to enter the Turks and Caicos on expired U.S. passports and have experienced difficulty in returning to the United States. All travelers should check their passports to make sure they will be valid for the length of their trip before traveling to the Turks and Caicos.
If remaining in the Turks and Caicos Islands for more than 24 hours each person must fill out an immigration form.
Air Travel: All U.S. citizens traveling by air outside the United States to TCIS are required to present a valid U.S. passport to enter or re-enter the United States.
The Importance of Having and Safeguarding a U.S. Passport: The Turks and Caicos Islands are geographically remote, with the nearest emergency passport facility located almost 500 miles away which adds a costly flight to Nassau to get to the nearest U.S. Embassy. Since it is not possible to travel by air without a U.S. passport out of TCIS (as most flights to Nassau stop first in the United States) it is difficult to fly to Nassau if your passport is lost or stolen. If you are a dual national, a visa cannot be placed in a foreign document to travel to Nassau through the United States as U.S. citizens do not qualify for visas.
If you are traveling by sea, it is prudent to carry a passport even if not required in order to avoid being stranded in an emergency. Securing a passport before initiating travel can bring greater peace of mind if a crisis occurs and removes one additional stress and cost during an emergency. In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Nassau cannot replace a lost or missing passport with another 10 year validity document. Emergency U.S. passports issued by the U.S. Embassy carry a validity of 90 days or less, causing U.S. citizens to have to repeat the application process again in the U.S. upon return. U.S. citizen travelers are advised to apply for a U.S. passport well in advance of anticipated travel and to carry your passport in a safe place with you when debarking from a cruise ship in case you miss the ship or have a medical emergency while at port. You can call 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778 ) for information on how to apply for a passport.
Minors traveling unaccompanied or accompanied by a guardian or chaperone: What is required to enter The Turks and Caicos Islands may vary greatly from what is required to re-enter the country of origin. In general a child under 16 years of age may travel into the Turks and Caicos Islands merely with proof of citizenship. Proof of citizenship is a raised seal birth certificate and preferably a government issued photo ID if on a closed loop cruise or a U.S. passport if entering by air or private vessel.
The Turks and Caicos Islands requires compliance with regulations to divert child abduction. Any child traveling without one of the parents as listed upon the birth certificate should have a letter from the absent parent granting permission for the child to travel. This should be sworn before a notary public and signed by the absent parent(s). If the parent is deceased a certified death certificate may be necessary.
It is advisable to have the minor carry a written notarized consent letter from both parents (if both are listed on the child’s certificate of birth) before sending your child to travel as a minor with a guardian or chaperone.
Sea Travel: U.S. citizens may enter the United States from Turks and Caicos by sea using a passport, passport card, or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document if traveling by cruise ship. Sea travelers should check with their cruise line or travel agency for any additional foreign entry requirements.
Travel by private vessel has different entry requirements.
Private Vessel Entry Requirements: Upon entry you will be required to fill out and present the following documentation: a) TCIS Pleasure Craft Report Inward ; b) TCIS Customs Form ; c) TCIS Immigration Form - one per person (if remaining in the TCI for more than 24hours); and d) a passport. The U.S. Embassy advises traveling with a second form of identification, especially a government issued photo ID, in case your passport is ever lost or stolen. Keeping an electronic scanned copy of your passport is also helpful.
Visiting Boaters on Private Vessels: Visiting boaters to the Turks and Caicos Islands must notify and clear Customs and Immigration when arriving at the nearest designated Port of Entry. Travelers arriving via private vessel are charged docking fees and have additional paperwork requirements. Customs and Immigration officials will come to your vessel and all passengers must remain onboard the boat until the vessel has been cleared. A Report Inward and Customs form must be completed and everyone on board must have proof of citizenship in the form of a passport.
The Report Inward allows boaters to enter the TCI for a period of 7 days. If remaining in the Turks and Caicos for more than 7 days, a cruising permit must be purchased.
Cruising permits: Cruising permits are required for vessels that will be in Turks and Caicos territorial waters for 7 days or more. They must be purchased at a minimum of three months at a cost of $300 each. Forms can only be obtained at ports of entry or by contacting The Harbour Master on each island. Telephone numbers for each office are listed below.
TCIS Harbour: Cruising permit information is not available on the web, however, additional information is available by contacting the following offices: Providenciales: 649-946-4450; Grand Turk: 649-946-2325; South Caicos: 649-946-3214; North Caicos: 649-946-7109. Currently, cruising permits are $300 for 3 months. Upon entrance each vessel must pay a $15 Entry Fee and a $15 Clearance Fee. Regular entering hours are from 8 am until 4:30 pm Monday – Thursday and 8 am until 4 pm on Friday. Vessels arriving after 4:30pm Monday –Thursday or after 4pm Friday are subject to a $10 overtime charge. Additionally on weekends and holidays arriving vessels are subject to a $15 overtime charge.
Firearms: The importation of firearms to the Turks and Caicos is strictly forbidden without prior approval in writing from the Commissioner of Police. U.S. citizens may contact the Turks and Caicos Customs Department at (649) 946-4450 for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Private Vessels with Weapons, Firearms or Ammunition Aboard: All firearms and/or weapons on board a private vessel must be declared to customs when entering the Turks and Caicos Islands. If you have firearms or weapons on board,it is recommended that prior to your arrival, you have a completed list of all firearms and/or weapons on board and an exact count of ammunition to be attached to your Report Inward.
If remaining in the Turks and Caicos Islands for 24 hours or less you will be permitted to have your firearms and/or weapons on your boat, although you cannot remove them from the boat. Firearms, weapons, or ammunition of any kind must remain in a locked compartment on the vessel at all times.
When remaining in the Turks and Caicos for more than 24 hours with firearms and/or weapons on board, customs will remove them from the vessel and turn them over to the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force to be held until departure. You must notify Customs at least 24 hours prior to your departure so that firearms and/or weapons can be returned to you in a timely manner.
In cases of an emergency which requires your departure by air,you must notify Customs and the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force. Your firearms and/or weapons will remain with the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force until your return to the Islands and departure by your vessel.
If you fail to declare firearms and/or weapons accordingly you will be in illegal possession of such, a crime that isseverely punishable under laws of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Entering and Exiting the TCIS with Cash or Negotiable Instruments
If you or anyone traveling with you as a group takes out or brings into the Turks and Caicos Islands more than $10,000 (U.S. or foreign equivalent, or a combination of the two) in coin, currency or negotiable instruments such as a draft bill of exchange, debenture bonds of a company, script certificates to the bearer for shares or share warrants to the bearer, you are required by law to declare it to Customs.
Entering and Exiting the U.S. with Cash or Negotiable Instruments
While it is legal to transport any amount of currency or other monetary instruments into or out of the United States, a traveler entering or exiting the U.S. with an amount exceeding USD $10,000 - or its foreign equivalent – must file with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) prior to departure FinCen Form 105, Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments.
According to the Currency and Foreign Transaction Reporting Act, if a traveler asks someone to carry currency or monetary instruments on his/her behalf and the full amount exceeds $10,000 then the traveler is required to report the total amount to CBP. This means that you may not give unreported money to any other individual to transport for you if the total amount exceeds $10,000 unless you declare you are the owner of the currency when going through customs.
Failure to declare the total amount of cash carried in or out of TCIS may lead to seizure of all cash or negotiable instruments and may subject you to legal proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.