What Are the Visa Requirements for U.S. Citizens?

Visa requirements for U.S. citizens vary depending on which country you plan on visiting. There are over 160 countries that allow U.S. citizens to come as tourists for a limited period of time without needing a visa in your passport. For any international travel, you will be required to have a valid passport.

What Exactly Is a Visa?

A travel visa is a document that shows you are allowed to enter a country that is not your own. It allows you to enter for a specific amount of time and to do a specific thing, such as tour, study, or work. Unless they are part of a waiver program, the U.S. government requires visitors from other countries to get a visa before visiting the U.S.

Visa-Free Countries for U.S. Citizens

There are no visa requirements for U.S. citizens to enter the following countries as long as they are visiting as tourists. However, you should still make sure that you have a passport that will be valid for at least six months, at least one blank visa page, proof of sufficient funds, and proof of onward travel. Most South American countries (with the exception of Brazil) and Western European countries do not require U.S. visitors to obtain a visa.

The maximum stay for each country is listed in parentheses, followed by any other important notes.

  • Albania (30 days) — There is an entry tax fee of 10 euros.
  • Andorra (90 days) — Enter via Spain or France.
  • Anguilla (three months)
  • Antigua & Barbuda (one month)
  • Argentina (three months)
  • Aruba (three months)
  • Austria (three months)
  • Bahamas (one month)
  • Barbados (six months)
  • Belgium (three months)
  • Belize (one month)
  • Bermuda (six months)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (90 days)
  • Botswana (90 days)
  • British Virgin Islands (30 days)
  • Brunei Darussalam (90 days)
  • Bulgaria (90 days)
  • Canada (six months)
  • Cayman Islands (30 days)
  • Chile (90 days)
  • Colombia (90 days)
  • Costa Rica (90 days)
  • Cook Islands (31 days)
  • Cote d’Ivoire (90 days)
  • Croatia (90 days)
  • Cuba — A visa is not required, but a tourist card needs to be purchased at an airline or travel agency for $25 before you travel.
  • Cyprus (90 days) — No visa is required to visit the southern part of the island, but tourists will need one to enter the northern part.
  • Czech Republic (90 days)
  • Denmark (90 days) — This includes the Faroe Islands & Greenland.
  • Dominica (six months)
  • Dominican Republic (30 days) — No visa is required, but a tourist card is issued on arrival.
  • Ecuador (90 days)
  • El Salvador (three months)
  • Equatorial Guinea (none indicated)
  • Fiji (four months)
  • Finland (three months)
  • France (three months) — If you plan to stay in the country for longer than three months, you need to apply for a visa before entering France. The same rules also apply to Monaco.
  • French Guiana (three months)
  • French Polynesia (one month)
  • French Antilles (three months)
  • Georgia (three months)
  • Germany (90 days)
  • Gibraltar (90 days)
  • Greece (90 days)
  • Grenada (three months)
  • Guatemala (90 days)
  • Guyana (90 days)
  • Haiti (three months)
  • Honduras (three months)
  • Hong Kong (three months)
  • Hungary (three months)
  • Iceland (three months)
  • Ireland (three months)
  • Israel (three months)
  • Italy (three months)
  • Jamaica (six months)
  • Japan (90 days)
  • Kosovo (90 days)
  • Kyrgyzstan (one month)
  • Latvia (three months)
  • Lesotho (14 days)
  • Liechtenstein (90 days)
  • Lithuania (90 days)
  • Luxembourg (90 days)
  • Macau (30 days)
  • Macedonia (90 days)
  • Malawi (90 days)
  • Malaysia (90 days)
  • Malta (90 days)
  • Marshall Islands — No visa is required.
  • Mauritius (six months)
  • Mexico (six months)
  • Micronesia (30 days)
  • Moldova (90 days)
  • Mongolia (90 days)
  • Montserrat (90 days)
  • Morocco (90 days)
  • Namibia (90 days)
  • Netherlands (Holland) (90 days)
  • New Caledonia (one month)
  • New Zealand (three months)
  • Nicaragua (90 days)
  • Niue (30 days)
  • Norway (90 days)
  • Palau (30 days) — A visa is required for stays longer than 30 days.
  • Panama (30 days)
  • Peru (90 days)
  • Philippines (21 days)
  • Poland (90 days)
  • Portugal (90 days)
  • Reunion Island (90 days)
  • Romania (90 days)
  • Samoa (60 days) — A visa is not required, but a visitor permit must be obtained on arrival.
  • Senegal (90 days)
  • Serbia and Montenegro (90 days)
  • Seychelles (one month)
  • Singapore (30 days)
  • Slovakia (90 days)
  • Slovenia (90 days)
  • Solomon Islands (three months)
  • South Africa (90 days)
  • South Korea (one month)
  • Spain (90 days)
  • St. Kitts-Nevis (three months)
  • St. Lucia (six months)
  • St. Vincent and The Grenadines (one month)
  • Swaziland (two months)
  • Sweden (90 days)
  • Switzerland (90 days)
  • Taiwan (30 days) — A visa is not required if arriving at Taipei Chiang Kai Shek or Kaohsiung Airport.
  • Trinidad & Tobago (three months)
  • Tunisia (four months)
  • Turks & Caicos Islands (30 days)
  • Ukraine (90 days)
  • United Kingdom (six months)
  • Uruguay (three months)
  • Vanuatu (30 days)
  • Venezuela (90 days)
  • British Virgin Islands (30 days)

Countries That Require Visas for U.S. Citizens

The following countries allow U.S. citizens to visit as tourists. Some require you to apply for a visa before you arrive, while others issue a visa upon your arrival. Most Asian and African countries require tourists from the U.S. to obtain a visa.

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria: Prior to traveling, obtain a visa from an Algerian embassy or consulate. If you have Israeli entry stamps in your passport, you may experience difficulties.
  • Angola
  • A rmenia: A visa will be issued on arrival, but only if you arrive at Zvartnots Airport in Yerevan. The fee is $30 for a maximum stay of 21 days.
  • Australia: U.S. citizens must acquire an electronic visa called an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) before traveling to Australia. It allows you to stay for up to 90 days.
  • Azerbaijan: A visa will be issued on arrival for $40. You will need a passport photo, and the maximum stay is 30 days.
  • Bahrain: A visa will be issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of 14 days.
  • Bangladesh: U.S. citizens are eligible for visas on arrival, but it is strongly recommended that you get one before traveling.
  • Belarus: U.S. citizens need to apply for a visa before entering Belarus.
  • Benin: Visas must be applied for within the U.S. You will also need to show proof of Yellow Fever vaccinations.
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia: Visas are issued upon arrival, with a maximum stay of 90 days.
  • Brazil: You need to get your visa for Brazil before leaving your home country. Visas are not issued at Brazilian airports or borders.
  • Burkina Faso: Single-entry and multiple-entry visas with a maximum validity of three months are available upon arrival.
  • Burundi: Visit the embassy of Burundi website or the nearest Burundi embassy or consulate for visa information.
  • Cambodia: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of one month.
  • Cameroon: You must obtain your visa before traveling.
  • Cape Verde: You may apply for a visa upon arrival at one of the country’s four international airports (Nelson Mandela/Praia, Cesaria Evora/Mindelo, Amilcar Cabral/Sal, and Aristides Pereira/Boa Vista), but it is better to get the visa in advance if possible.
  • Central African Republic: The country does not require you to have a visa, but some airlines do. Check with your airline before booking.
  • Chad: Visit the embassy of Chad website or the nearest Chadian embassy or consulate for the most current visa information. You'll also need proof of Yellow Fever vaccinations.
  • China: China requires that U.S. citizens apply for their visa at the correct Chinese consulate based on their state of residence.
  • Comores Islands: Visas are issued upon arrival at the Immigration Office, with fees that vary based on the length of your stay.
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: Contact the U.S. embassy in the DRC.
  • Djibouti : Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of one month. The fee depends on the length of your stay.
  • Egypt : Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of 30 days.
  • Eritrea: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of one month. The fee varies depending on the length of your stay.
  • Ethiopia: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of three months.
  • Falkland Islands
  • Gabon: Apply for the visa at the nearest consulate or embassy. The maximum stay will be 90 days.
  • Gambia: You can obtain a visa before traveling or within two days of arrival from the Department of Immigration in downtown Banjul.
  • Ghana: Visit the embassy of Ghana website for the most current visa information.
  • Guinea: Apply at the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Iran: To get a visa, you need to contact the Iranian Interests Section of the embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C. It has been reported that foreign tourists can obtain tourist visas at the airport in Tehran, but this is not true for U.S. citizens.
  • India: U.S. citizens must get their visas before arrival in the country.
  • Indonesia: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of 30 days. The fee depends on the length of your stay.
  • Iraq: Apply with the embassy of Iraq in Washington, D.C.
  • Jordan: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of three months.
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya: You can apply for a single-entry visa online. If you require a multiple-entry visa, you will have to visit the Kenyan consulate in New York City. Tourists are also able to apply for the East Africa Tourist Visa. It allows multiple entries to Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda during a 90-day period.
  • Kuwait: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of three months.
  • Laos: A 30-day visa will be issued on arrival.
  • Lebanon: You can have a visa issued on arrival for free if you are staying for one month or less.
  • Liberia: Apply at the nearest Liberian embassy or consulate.
  • Libya: Contact the Libyan embassy in Washington, D.C. for information on visa application procedures. Libya does not let anyone into the country if they have an Israeli visa or entry/exit stamps in their passport.
  • Madagascar: If you are planning to stay for less than three months, you can get a visa upon arrival with U.S. dollars, euros, or the Malagasy ariary.
  • Maldives
  • Mali: Apply for your visa at the nearest Mali embassy or consulate before arriving.
  • Mauritania: You can get a visa at most Mauritanian embassies or at the Nouakchott International Airport on arrival. You will need proof of Yellow Fever vaccinations.
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar: Myanmar visas are available at the embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Myanmar consulates in Los Angeles and New York City. Where you apply will depend on your state of residence. You can also apply online.
  • Nauru
  • Nepal: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of 150 days. The fee varies depending on the length of your stay.
  • Niger: You need to get a visa from the embassy of Niger before arriving in the country.
  • Nigeria: You can get your visa from a Nigerian embassy or consulate before you travel.
  • Northern Cyprus: You need to apply for a tourist visa to enter the northern part of Cyprus.
  • North Korea: U.S. citizens are not allowed into North Korea except on special pre-approved tours.
  • Oman: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of one month.
  • Pakistan: Get your visa at a Pakistani embassy or consulate before booking any of your travel to the country.
  • Papua New Guinea: The visa issued on arrival is valid for up to 60 days, with extensions available for an additional 30 days.
  • Paraguay
  • Pitcairn Island
  • Qatar: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of 21 days.
  • Russia: The visa application for Russia is complex, so give yourself plenty of time to go through the process before traveling there.
  • Rwanda: Visas are issued on arrival at no charge, with a maximum stay of three months.
  • Sao Tome & Principe
  • Saudi Arabia: Speak to someone at the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., before booking any travel.
  • Sierra Leone: Visit the embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone’s website for the most current visa information. You will need to show proof of Yellow Fever vaccinations.
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan: Apply through the embassy of South Sudan. You will need to show proof of Yellow Fever vaccinations.
  • Sri Lanka: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of 30 days.
  • Sudan: You need to get a visa from a Sudanese embassy before arriving in Sudan.
  • Suriname: You can either get a tourist visa at the embassy of Suriname or buy a Tourist Card when you arrive. The card costs $35. It is single entry and valid for 90 days.
  • Syria: Visas must be obtained before arriving in Syria from a Syrian diplomatic mission in your country of residence.
  • Tajikistan: Tourist visas are for a maximum of 45 days.
  • Tanzania: Visas are issued on arrival.
  • Thailand: Visas are issued on arrival. You are granted 30 days if entering by air or 14 if entering by land.
  • Tibet
  • Timor-Leste: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of 30 days.
  • Togo: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of seven days. Fees are not specified.
  • Tonga: Visas are issued on arrival at no charge, with a maximum stay of 31 days.
  • Turkey: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of three months.
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of one month.
  • Uganda: Visas are issued on arrival. The fee varies depending on the length of your stay.
  • United Arab Emirates: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of one month.
  • Uzbekistan: U.S. citizens should apply for visas well in advance of their travel.
  • Venezuela: You must apply for a visa at the nearest Venezuelan embassy or consulate before traveling.
  • Vietnam: Visas are issued on arrival only with pre-approval from an embassy application.
  • Yemen: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of one month.
  • Zambia: Visas are issued on arrival. The fee varies depending on the length of your stay.
  • Zimbabwe: Visas are issued on arrival, with a maximum stay of three months.

Note: In some countries, you may be able to get the required visas when you arrive. However, restrictions often apply, and requirements for entry change frequently. Always check with the local consulate of the country you plan to visit before booking flights, and ask your airline if you can board the aircraft without a visa.

Remember that immigration officials in the country that you are visiting can refuse you entry for any reason. To reduce the risk of being refused entry or to avoid having to wait in line for a visa on arrival, it is strongly recommended you get all visas before you travel.

How Do I Get a Visa?

Visa applications and fees will vary hugely depending on which country you are trying to visit. Before visiting any country, it is important to check their most up-to-date visa information.

  • Step 1: Look at the embassy or consulate website for the country you want to visit. This is where you will find all of the information you need to get a visa, including the application.
  • Step 2: Fill out the application and send it to the consulate or embassy. Depending on the country, you may be able to do this online. In some cases, you will have to bring your application to the nearest embassy or consulate. The time it will take to have the application processed and the visa placed into your passport will depend on the country you are visiting.
  • Step 3: Pay the application fee. You will either have to do this in person using cash, online with a credit card, or by mailing a money order to the consulate or embassy.

The Future of EU Visas for U.S. Citizens

As recently as March 2017, European Union (EU) parliament members have begun to discuss the possibility of requiring U.S. citizens to have a visa before entering one of the 28 member states of the Schengen Zone. Until the U.S. can grant visa-free reciprocity to all of the EU's 28 member states, the talks will continue.

The European Commission says that they are trying to resolve the issue without having to take such drastic measures. They feel strongly about not hurting tourism or business activities within the EU member states.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I know if I need a visa to visit a foreign country?

If you are unsure whether the country you are visiting requires a visa, you should check the U.S.-based consulate or embassy website of that country.

  • How much do visas cost?

The cost of a visa will depend on the country you are visiting. Some visas are free, while others can cost as much as $300.

  • Can I make the visa process go faster?

There are agencies that will fill out paperwork and deal with the embassy or consulate much faster than you would be able to do it alone. They can sometimes even secure your visa overnight. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 per visa, excluding your visa fees, for their services.

If you need help understanding the visa requirements for U.S. citizens, you can post your job or concerns on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.