Visa Requirements for US Citizens

Discover the visa requirements for citizens of the United States to travel to every country in the world.

Visa Requirements for United States Citizens

Visa requirements for United States citizens are administrative entry restrictions to other countries that apply to US nationals. The United States passport is considered the 8th most powerful in the world in terms of travel freedom, according to the Henley Passport Index. US passport holders are currently able to travel to around 180 countries and territories without obtaining a visa or with a visa on arrival.

Visa requirements for US citizens vary depending on the country the traveler wishes to visit and the amount of time they wish to spend in the territory, and the purpose of the visit.

The majority of visa-free countries for American citizens permit travelers from the US to visit for a short period of time (most usually between 30 and 90 days) without having to obtain a travel document. However, for longer periods of stay, or purposes other than tourism, it is necessary for US nationals to obtain a visa to travel to these same countries.

Although it is not necessary to obtain a visa from the United States for short stays for visa-exempt countries, it may be necessary to register for an electronic travel authorization to receive permission to travel to certain visa-free territories.

American citizens who wish to visit any territory not on the visa not required country list for US passport holders are required to obtain a visa to do so. This may be either a consular visa from an embassy of their destination, a visa on arrival from a border entry point, or an electronic visa through an online application.

List of Visa Countries for US Passport Holders in 2020

Although travelers from the United States are able to visit a number of countries without a visa, it is necessary to meet the visa requirements for US passport holders in order to travel to others. It is currently necessary to obtain a visa for US citizens to travel to around 80 nations across the world, no matter the duration and purpose of the stay.

Travelers are required to obtain the correct type of travel document depending on the reason for their visit, whether a tourist visa, student visa, business visa, work visa, or transit visa.

It is necessary to obtain a visa to travel to around 40 of these countries before departing the United States, either by applying in person from the nearest relevant embassy or consulate, or through an electronic visa application online.

Many of the countries for which US citizens require a visa have a visa on arrival option for American citizens in addition to an electronic visa system. However, it is often more convenient to apply for the eVisa, as this option eliminates the need to wait in line at border entry checkpoints upon arrival.

Find below a complete list of all the countries for which it is necessary to obtain a visa for citizens of the United States.

Electronic Travel Visa Authorization

An Electronic Travel Visa Authorization system allows citizens of the United States to obtain either an electronic visa waiver or an online eVisa to travel to the country of their destination, eliminating the need to apply for a travel document in person.

Some visa-free countries for US passport holders require visitors to pre-register for an electronic visa waiver before arrival to pre-identify any potential security risks, while other visa-required countries have implemented an online eVisa application for US citizens to expedite the application process.

Most electronic travel authorizations and eVisas for US citizens are multiple entry travel documents that permit the traveler to spend between 15 to 90 days in the relevant country with each entry. The majority are valid for multiple years from the date of issue, meaning there is no need to apply for an electronic travel visa authorization from the USA before every trip.

In most cases, an approved electronic travel visa authorization for Americans is sent to the traveler via email or electronically linked to their passport, and they are able to print a paper copy to present upon arrival and gain entry to the relevant territory.

In general, an electronic travel authorization or eVisa permits US travelers to visit the relevant country for purposes of tourism, business, and transit, for short stays. In order to visit the territory for other purposes or longer consecutive periods of time, it will be necessary to obtain the relevant visa.

Find below a list of the main destinations Americans can visit by applying for an Electronic Travel Visa Authorization.

Countries for nationality

Visa on Arrival

A visa on arrival for US passport holders is a type of travel authorization which may be obtained at border entry checkpoints upon arrival in the country of destination.

Those who wish to visit a country where a visa on arrival for American citizens is available are normally required to go directly to a border checkpoint upon arrival. It is then necessary to wait in a queue until an immigration officer provides them with a visa on arrival application to complete.

It is often necessary to pay the visa on arrival for Americans fee in cash in the local currency. Payment by credit or debit card may not be possible in some countries where the visa on arrival from the USA is available.

The majority of visas on arrival for United States citizens permit a stay of between 30 and 90 days in their respective countries and are single-entry travel authorizations.

A number of countries who issue visas on arrival for US citizens also allow visitors to obtain an eVisa, an electronic visa, before departure from the United States in order to expedite the application process and eliminate the need to wait in queues at the border.

Below you will find a list of the countries where you, as a US citizen, can travel to and get a visa on arrival at a border entry checkpoint.

Embassy or Consular Visa Required

An embassy visa for American citizens is a type of travel authorization that must be obtained from an embassy or consulate of the destination country in advance before departure from the United States.

To apply for an embassy visa for US citizens, it is normally necessary to make a visa appointment at the nearest diplomatic office of the destination county in the United States.

An embassy visa for US passport holders may be granted for a variety of periods of permitted stay and as either a single or multiple entry travel document, depending on the purpose of the intended stay in the territory of destination.

The applicant is normally expected to bring a completed visa application form to the consular interview, alongside a range of supporting documentation depending on the type of visa required, in order for the embassy visa from the US to be approved.

US citizens who wish to submit an embassy visa application are advised to do so well in advance of their planned trip, as in many cases it may take up to 2 weeks or more to receive visa approval.

Below you can find the main destinations where an American citizen can travel by first applying for an embassy visa.

Visa for North Korea for US Citizens

There are very few countries to which citizens of the United States cannot travel if they first obtain a visa.

At present, American citizens are only unable to obtain a visa to travel to North Korea from the United States.

This is because of a travel ban implemented by the U.S. federal government on September 1st, 2007, which still remains in effect. The ban was introduced in response to the increasing risk of arrest and long-term detention of US nationals in North Korea.

In order to visit North Korea, citizens of the United States must first obtain a special passport validation from the nearest US embassy or consulate before they can travel to the country. However, this may only be granted in limited circumstances.

Visa Not Required

A travel document such as an electronic authorization or a visa is not required for US citizens to visit a number of countries around the world for short stays.

American citizens are able to visit visa-free countries for US passport holders for different periods of permitted stay depending on the country of destination, from between 15 days up to a period of 1 year in some cases.

The list of visa not required countries for American citizens currently includes all of the European countries who have signed the Schengen Agreement. At the moment, citizens of the United States are visa-exempt for a stay of up to 90 days in any of the Schengen Area countries, within every 180-day period.

Travelers from the United States are simply able to present a valid US passport to gain entry to any of the visa-exempt countries for Americans for a short stay. US citizens are normally permitted to visit these countries visa-free for purposes of tourism, business, or to transit on the way to an onward destination.

In order to travel to visa not required countries for other purposes or longer periods of stay, it is normally necessary to apply for an embassy visa for the intended destination before departure from the USA.

Find below a list of visa not required countries for travelers from the United States.

ETIAS Visa Waiver for Americans

By the end of 2022, the Schengen visa policy will change and it will be necessary for all individual US citizens to pre-register for an ETIAS electronic visa waiver before traveling to any of the countries in the Schengen zone.

An approved ETIAS visa waiver from the USA is a multiple entry travel authorization that will allow multiple short stays in the Schengen Area during its 3-year validity, for purposes of tourism, business, transit, or medical treatment.

American citizens who wish to travel to Europe for other purposes and longer consecutive periods will be required to apply for a visa from an embassy or consulate of the individual country they wish to visit. This applies to US citizens who wish to obtain a work visa or study visa for a Schengen Area country.

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