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Hawaii is a dream destination for travelers from around the world. And since it’s in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, travelers are often unsure whether or not they will need a passport to visit.
Here is what you need to know before traveling to Hawaii.
Do I Need a Passport to go to Hawaii?
If you’re a U.S. citizen, the answer is no, you don’t need a passport to travel to Hawaii. However, as of October 1, 2021 you will require a REAL ID form of identification. If you have an older drivers license, it will need to be updated to the REAL ID Format.
If your license has a gold star in the top right corner, then you are compliant and have a REAL ID license. If not, you need to go to your state office and update your ID.
Non-U.S. citizens will require a passport, and all the other documentation and visas needed to enter the United States of America at any other port. Here is a link to the government website indicated what you will need to enter the United States, including Hawaii.
What Documents do you need to go to Hawaii?
Traveling to Hawaii as a U.S. Citizen
As a US citizen all you’ll need is a REAL ID driver’s license or another type of TSA approved photo identification. You can also use your passport as identification.
The only time you would need to bring your passport to Hawaii is if it’s part of a multi-destination trip. If you’re heading on to another destination like Fiji, Australia or Japan after Hawaii, then you’ll definitely want to have your passport with you. Or if your flight routes you through Canada, you will need to have a passport.
TSA Approved Identification
Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel. The following forms of identification are approved by the TSA.
- Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, if you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly within the U.S., make sure it is REAL ID compliant. If you are not sure if your ID complies with REAL ID, check with your state department of motor vehicles.
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
- Permanent resident card
- Border crossing card
- State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
- Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
- HSPD-12 PIV card
- Foreign government-issued passport
- Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
- Transportation worker identification credential
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
- U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
- Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
Traveling to Hawaii as a non-U.S. Citizen
You are required to have a valid passport with 6+ months before the expiration. Permanent residents and foreign nationals may also need a U.S. visa. You must apply for a visa before you start your trip.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conduct arrival inspections using the same criteria for all foreign nationals visiting the U.S. They decide your admission to the United States, even if all your travel documents, including your visa, are in order.
What are the Largest Hawaiian Airports?
The Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is the largest airport in the State of Hawaii and is located in Honolulu, on the island of O’ahu. Each of the major Hawaiian Islands has an airport. Here’s a quick summary of the major Hawaiian Islands and their airports:
|Island||Nickname||Island Size||Major Airport|
|Hawaiʻi||The Big Island||4,028 sq miles||Hilo International Airport (ITO)|
Kona International Airport (KOA)
|Maui||The Valley Isle||727 sq miles||Kahului Airport (OGG)|
|Oʻahu||The Gathering Place||596 sq miles||Honolulu International Airport (HNL)|
|Kauaʻi||The Garden Isle||552 sq miles||Lihue Airport (LIH)|
|Molokaʻi||The Friendly Isle||260 sq miles||Molokai Airport (MKK)|
|Lānaʻi||The Pineapple Isle||140 sq miles||Lanai Airport (LNY)|
In case you were wondering, the Hawaii islands are about a six-hour flight from most destinations on the west coast of the United States and Canada. Flying from the east coast will take 10-11 hours for a direct flight, longer if you have to connect.
What Airlines Fly to Hawaii?
There are over 20 airlines that fly to Hawaii. Some of the airlines with the most flights to the Hawaiian Islands are:
- Hawaiian Airlines – Check out this article on how to save with Hawaiian Airlines Deals
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- United Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- All Nippon Airways
How do I get a Passport?
Additional Passport Information
Here are some other articles that address passport requirements of popular destinations for U.S. Citizens
- Passport Requirements for Puerto Rico
- Passport Requirements for Hawaii
- Passport Requirements for the Bahamas
- Passport Requirements for the U.S. Virgin Islands
- Passport Requirements for Canada
- Passport Requirements for Mexico
Frequently Asked Questions
Hawaii has been a part of the United States since August 21, 1959, when it became the 50th state.
Hawaii uses the U.S. Dollar
Hawaii follows Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST), which is five hours behind Eastern Standard Time and two hours behind Pacific Standard Time.
Anytime is a good time to visit Hawaii. The average temperature here is between 75˚–85˚ F (24˚-29˚ C). Summer, between April and November, is warmer and drier, while winter, between December and March, is a bit cooler.
Whale watching season begins in late December and ends in early May, with peak viewing occurring between January and early April.