Paperwork & the Cape May Ferry
June 26, 2011 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Who gets ID'd on the Cape May Ferry? Is it just the driver, or does everyone going to get looked at?

I am asking for a friend who's immigration papers are not in order & who wishes to take the scenic route to a wedding.
posted by Ys to Law & Government (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
On the "Reservations" tab on this page, it is stated, "All drivers and passengers 18 years and older must present a valid photo ID at check-in. Foreign travelers must present a valid passport." If you think about it, it'd be ridiculous if it were otherwise.

That said, if "immigrations paper are not in order" isn't code for "lost his/her foreign passport", it sounds like he/she could just present that and be OK.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:30 AM on June 26, 2011

In my experience, even though it says everyone has to have ID, they only check the driver. Caveat: I haven't taken the ferry since last summer.
posted by srrh at 8:43 AM on June 26, 2011

Yeah, as long as your friend has a foreign passport, why wouldn't s/he be ok? Tourists can take the ferry, surely, not just US citizens or people with green cards?
posted by kestrel251 at 9:29 AM on June 26, 2011

In the past few years, the US Transportation Security Agency (TSA) has taken to conducting infrequent but telegenically high-profile dragnets at ground transportation facilities, including the Cape May ferry. The TSA calls these "VIPR" teams and they have been known to include Customs and Border Patrol agents who would most definitely check that foreigners' papers are in order.

For now, VIPR dragnets are still infrequent enough to be close to the noise floor; they are more of a publicity stunt than anything else (and not always particularly successful ones). But it does mean that the chance of having immigration papers checked on the ferry is very slightly higher than zero.
posted by Dimpy at 11:57 AM on June 26, 2011

I haven't gone for details, but I'm assuming that the paperwork in question is either expired or is not legit. It's common enough in my area that prettymuch everyone basically ignores it. But I was asked if this travel plan would fly, and I'd like to give a more informed opinon than "I dunno, doesn't sound like a good idea."
posted by Ys at 11:59 AM on June 26, 2011

We're kind of foreigners, in that my husband and daughter have Canadian passports though I've retained my American citizenship. We've taken the Cape May Ferry every year for the past three on our way to Chincoteague, and in our experience, everyone in the car gets ID'd as you approach the terminal (while you're still in the car and passing through the gate at the point where you show your ticket). The attention to detail, as far as I could see, is less intense than, say, a US/Canada Customs officer's -- but there's more scrutiny than a Target clerk checking your Visa signature. The information is entered into a computer at that point.

We book our tickets online, and I need to provide my driver's license to do that though not the other passenger info, as I recall though I'm not going to the site to check; and then again at the check-in point, along with my passport. I'm NOT advising, but I don't know that they'd know a passenger is a "foreigner" if he had a valid American driver's license. I don't think they'd know what to do with my landing papers or a PR card, as those have never been checked or asked for, we just hand over the passports. I think they just want a formal, official record of who's in the car and passports are the easiest, most consistent and nearly universal thing to accept.
posted by peagood at 2:07 PM on June 26, 2011

Thanks; That gives a pretty good idea of the sitch.
posted by Ys at 6:01 AM on June 27, 2011

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