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 22nd-most powerful passport in the world: 116 foreign countries allow U.S. citizens with a passport in without any visa, according to PassportIndex.org. This puts the U.S. in the sixth-most powerful class of passports, alongside Ireland, France, Belgium, Greece, Japan, Norway, and Malta.
Countries That Require Visas for Americans
So, where in the world will you need to have a visa to support your passport? Interact with the map below to see.
For short-term travel, there are a few primary ways to acquire a tourist visa. The simplest 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 or encourage you to secure one before your arrival; either 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 that visas are secured before your arrival. Notable recent changes to this list include Brazil being absent since waiving visas (beginning in June 2019), and Turkey now offering eVisas.
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 depending on the time of year you’re visiting) to get yours beforehand. Starred nations offer eTA or eVisas, which means you’ll get electronic approval rather than a physical visa to put in your passport—at least until you arrive. Check specific Entry Requirements for your destination on the State Department’s website for more details.
Visa on Arrival
Here are all the countries that require visas for Americans and offer them upon arrival. Starred nations use eTA or eVisa. Notable recent changes to this list include Egypt now offering eVisas and Qatar being absent since waiving visas for visits under 30 days.
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.
Europe Travel Authorizations Starting in 2021
Beginning in 2021, U.S. travelers to Europe’s Schengen countries will need to acquire an authorization—which requires a process similar to that of obtaining visa, even though the European Union maintains that the countries remain visa-free for Americans. Called an ETIAS, the authorization will cost about $8 and is similar to SEPTA, the travel authorization that the United States currently requires of European nationals. Here are all the Schengen nations that will require an ETIAS as of 2021.
Editors’ Note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Egypt Adds Electronic Visas for Easier Entry
- Everything You Wanted to Know About Working Holiday Visas for Americans
- Traveling to Cuba: 7 Things You Need to Know