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Beyond Borders: 7 Countries That Require Advance Visas for U.S. Citizens

January 18, 2024

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When organizing an international getaway as a United States passport holder, it is imperative to research and comprehend the visa requirements imposed on American citizens. This is because numerous foreign countries where visas are required may call for additional steps and planning ahead of your voyage. 


Do you find yourself wondering what countries require a visa? For U.S. residents, it’s valuable to note that well-known destinations such as Canada, Mexico, France, and Italy fortunately do not mandate them. 


However, many other nations do necessitate U.S. tourists to obtain visas in advance. Read on to uncover examples of countries that require visas for American travelers along with details on what’s involved in securing them before departure.


What countries do Americans need visas for? Australia is one destination where U.S. citizens must obtain visas in advance. Before traveling to Australia, American visitors must acquire an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) from the Australian government. 

This can be done online or through the Australian ETA mobile app up to 24 hours before departure. The ETA allows multiple stays in Australia, totaling 90 days within a year. The cost for U.S. citizens is about $150 AUD, equivalent to roughly USD $100. This visa is necessary for entering Australia.


Bolivia is one of the countries where U.S. citizens need a visa. It is recommended that U.S. citizens apply for a Bolivian visa online or at a consulate beforehand, as the on-arrival option involves extensive paperwork.

Required documents include an application form, a passport-size photo, hotel reservations or an invitation letter, proof of funds, return tickets, a valid passport, and a yellow fever vaccination certificate. The visa costs $160, payable in cash at the border. It allows a stay of up to 30 days, at most 90 days per year in Bolivia.


U.S. citizens will need an e-visa for all visitor types to Brazil starting January 10, 2024. This change comes after a visa-free travel period under 90 days, available since June 2019. 


Due to policy shifts, Brazil is reintroducing its visa requirement. Specifics on how to apply and the cost are still pending, but historically, the visa fee was $44, including a service charge. This change adds Brazil to the list of countries U.S. citizens need visas for entry.


Cuba might not be a surprise on the list of which countries require a visa for U.S. citizens due to its stringent travel regulations. U.S. citizens can travel to Cuba by obtaining a Cuban Tourist Card, also known as a Cuban visa. 

This card can be purchased online and allows for a 30-day stay. It is valid for 180 days from the date of purchase and requires travel within six months. Costs vary from $20 to $85, sometimes included in airline ticket prices.


U.S. visitors to Egypt can apply for an e-Visa online. The application requires a passport valid for six months, a travel plan, and a hotel confirmation. Once approved, print the e-Visa for entry. Costs vary from $25 for a single entry to $60 for multiple entries.


India‘s tourist visa process can change often, so it’s advised to check the Indian embassy’s website before traveling. Currently, U.S. citizens can apply for an e-Visa online up to 30 days before their trip and at least 4 days before arriving in India.

Costs range from $10 to $25 for 30-day stays, depending on the time of year, with longer one-year and five-year visas available for $40 and $80, respectively. Travelers must have a printed e-Visa, a return ticket, and proof of funds upon arrival.


U.S. citizens can now apply online for a Kenyan visa and get it within 48 hours. You’ll need a valid travel document, return ticket, hotel booking, and a photo, with a $51 fee for a single-entry visa. Print the e-Visa received as a PDF for entry. Alternatively, for $101, you can get an East Africa Tourist Visa for travel in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.


U.S. citizens planning to visit Vietnam can obtain a 30-day e-Visa through an online application. It involves an initial service fee and a subsequent stamping fee once in Vietnam, with the total cost depending on various factors, such as the type of visa. 

This e-Visa is exclusively for those flying into Vietnam’s major airports in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, or Da Nang. Arrivals by land or sea must secure a visa directly from a Vietnamese embassy.

What is the Difference Between a Visa and a Passport?

A passport is an official document issued by a government to its citizens for international travel and identification. In contrast, a visa is an endorsement placed within a passport that provides the holder official permission to enter, leave, or stay in a foreign country for a specific time period.


The key difference between a visa vs passport is their intended purpose. Passports verify an individual’s nationality and citizenship, containing details like a photo, name, date of birth, gender, and physical features. 


Visas, on the other hand, grant authorized access to a foreign nation. There are various visa categories, such as tourist, student, work, or transit, depending on one’s reason for visiting.


While passports are issued by a citizen’s home country, visas are provided by embassies and consulates representing the destination country. Some destinations mandate visas for entry, while others allow visa-free entry for short-term tourism and business.


With advance preparation, U.S. citizens can obtain necessary visas for destinations that require them. Be sure to research visa requirements and application procedures for your destination well in advance of travel. Securing visas ahead of time will ensure your international travel goes smoothly.


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