american visa

The American Passport is among the most ‘powerful’ passports in the world. Citizens of the United States of America can travel freely to more countries and territories across the globe, than citizens of most other nations. That is such a big privilege that citizens of this country enjoy.

Travel freely means that American citizens can visit countries without first acquiring a Visa. This allows Americans, with a valid passport, to plan their vacation at short notice. All they need is flight tickets, to their destination of choice.

Nations that allow Americans free entry?

It may come as a surprise that your American Passport gives you free entry to 177 countries, considering that there are, in all, 218 countries and territories. That is a whopping 81% of the world, that you have access to, because of your passport.

Of course, not all 177 nations allow free entry or visa-free entry, a few offer visas on arrival. Visa on arrival, takes away the hassle of applying for a visa before planning a holiday.

Countries that offer visa on arrival include some countries in Europe and Africa.

However, not all countries have liberal travel rules. A few countries have stringent travel policies and only allow entry to visitors who arrive with a visa. That means travellers need to apply for a visa, in advance, wherever they are travelling from. And travel is possible only after the visa is granted.

Countries that require an advance visa

Most African nations require travelers to get an advance visa, before their visit. The other nations that require travelers to arrive with a visa are Brazil, China, India, Russia and Vietnam.

The good news is that a number of territories and provinces that until the recent past had required American citizens to get a visa before arrival have relaxed their rules, making it easier for them to travel.

Hainan Island is a good example – it’s a province of China that recently relaxed the entry rules for US citizens. There is no need for an American citizen to get a visa, to visit the province. Interestingly, Hainan is called China’s Hawaii.

Countries that need a visa

While it is nice to know where you can travel without a visa, it is equally important to know countries that will not allow you entry without a visa.

Below is the list of nations that require you to apply for a visa, prior to your travel

  1. Afghanistan (apply through the mission)
  2. Algeria (apply through the mission)
  3. Angola (you can apply for an eVisa)
  4. Austria (you can apply for an eVisa)
  5. Bhutan (apply through the mission)
  6. Brazil (you can apply for an eVisa)
  7. Burundi (apply through the mission)
  8. Cameroon (apply through the mission)
  9. Chad (apply through the mission)
  10. China (apply through the mission)
  11. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (apply through the mission)
  12. The Republic of the Congo (apply through the mission)
  13. Côte d’Ivoire (you can apply for an eVisa)
  14. Cuba (Tourist Card required)
  15. Djibouti (you can apply for an eVisa)
  16. Eritrea (apply through the mission)
  17. Gambia (apply through the mission)
  18. Ghana (apply through the mission)
  19. Guinea (apply through the mission)
  20. India (you can apply for an eVisa)
  21. Iran (apply through the mission)
  22. Iraq (apply through the mission)
  23. Liberia (apply through the mission)
  24. Libya (apply through the mission)
  25. Mali (apply through the mission)
  26. Myanmar (you can apply for an eVisa)
  27. Nauru (apply through the mission)
  28. Niger (apply through the mission)
  29. Nigeria (apply through the mission)
  30. Oman (you can apply for an eVisa)
  31. Pakistan (apply through the mission)
  32. Russia (apply through the mission)
  33. Saudi Arabia (apply through the mission)
  34. Sierra Leone (apply through the mission)
  35. South Sudan (apply through the mission)
  36. Sudan (apply through the mission)
  37. Syria (apply through the mission)
  38. Tajikistan (you can apply for an eVisa)
  39. Turkmenistan (apply through the mission)
  40. Uzbekistan (apply through the mission)
  41. Venezuela (apply through the mission)
  42. Vietnam (you can apply for an eVisa)
  43. Yemen (apply through the mission)

The application process for a visa to the above-mentioned countries is not difficult, but it can take some time. Prior appointment at the country’s embassy, high commission or consulate, has to be made to submit the visa application, and visa fee. If all your documents are in order and your antecedents check fine, you will be granted a visa.

The eVisa process is equally easy and most nations grant the visa within a couple of days, if not minutes.

No visa entry

Countries not listed above allow all American citizens to enter their country, without a hitch. Though you will require to show your passport at the point of entry. This could be by air, land or sea.

Every country has its own norms, and there are no fixed rules that each of them follows while allowing entry to American citizens. Upon arrival, some countries stamp the passport and log the traveler’s entry, while others grant a visa on arrival, just because the traveler has a US passport. There will be a bit of paperwork to complete, at the immigration counter.

It is in the traveler’s interest to carry out an in-depth research on procedures the country they are traveling to follows before they board the flight. This will rule out any problems that they might face overseas. Here is what travelers must do –

  1. Log on to the country’s official website, hosted by the Government or consulate and check the visa requirements specific to American citizens
  2. Travelers may also contact a travel agency in the USA, of repute, for guidance
  3. Personal safety must be a traveler’s prime concern, whenever they travel overseas. It is advisable to check the US State Department’s travel advisories on the country that they are planning to visit. Is there a political crisis? Is there an outbreak of disease? Is the country safe for a visit? What are the weather conditions like?
  4. It is important to check the circulars issued by the CDC, with regards to the country on the itinerary, to see if any health risks are associated with that destination

Finally, travel is possible only if the traveler has a valid passport. A valid passport entails one that has a validity date, long enough to cover the visa period.

It is best to travel on/with a passport that has at least 6 months before it expires. You do not want to be caught in a situation, where a country offers a 90-day visa, and you have just 60-days left until your passport expires. Pay heed to this advice and you will be fine.

Enjoy your travels!



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