American citizens are pretty fortunate in terms of passport power, but your little blue booklet may not be quite as powerful as you think. The list of countries that require visas for Americans includes some travel hotspots, for example Australia, Brazil, Cuba, and China.
The United States has the 12th-most powerful passport in the world: 157 foreign countries allow U.S. citizens with a passport in without any visa, 43 require you to get one upon arrival, and 45 require or recommend visas ahead of arrival. This, according to PassportIndex.org, puts the U.S. on the third tier of passport power: alongside South Korea, Spain, Denmark, and the U.K., and just behind Sweden, Singapore, and Germany—which have the three most powerful passports.
Countries That Require Visas for Americans
So, where in the world will you need to have a visa to support your passport?
For short-term travel there are a few primary ways to acquire a tourist visa. The most common route is simply getting one upon arrival by paying a fee at the airport—this occurs in most visa-requiring places that are popular for travel, and is known as “visa on arrival.” Some nations, however, may require you to secure one before your arrival by pre-registering or purchasing a visa online, usually called an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or eVisa, or by applying for one in person at an embassy.
Advance Visa Required or Strongly Recommended
The following countries require or recommend visas are secured before your arrival. Terms and conditions vary: some may need to be acquired online. Some countries may simply recommend purchasing one beforehand in case the airport is busy—Australia, for example, may offer visas at your departure airport, but it’s wise (and may be necessary) to get your eTA beforehand. (Starred nations offer eTA or eVisa, which means you will get electronic approval rather than a physical visa—check their Entry Requirements page on the State Department’s website for more details.)
Visa Upon Arrival
Here are all the countries that require visas for Americans and offer them upon arrival. Starred nations use eTA or eVisa. Check your destination’s Entry Requirements page on the State Department’s website for more details, and note that some or all visa rules may not apply if you’re entering the country via cruise ship.
There is hope, however, that some parts of Southeast Asia could soon be visa-free for American travelers. This list will be updated if that happens.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Europe Votes to Ban U.S. Travelers Without Visas
- Everything You Wanted to Know About Working Holiday Visas for Americans
- Traveling to Cuba: 7 Things You Need to Know