The Himalayas at night in Nepal

Popular Destinations Where You’ll Need a Tourist Visa

Americans are fortunate to be able to travel to over 100 countries without a visa. But there are some notable exceptions. Popular tourist destinations like Brazil, Cuba, India, and Russia require Americans to get a special visa before entering.

Getting a tourist visa can be as simple as paying a fee at the airport when you arrive. In other cases, paperwork needs to be done weeks before your trip. Check out which popular destinations require U.S. tourist visas and how you can apply.

Brazil

How to get a visa: You must obtain a visa from a Brazilian Embassy or consulate before your trip. The Brazilian government will decide the type and length of your visa based on your application. Make sure you hold onto this form because you will need it to exit. Brazilian visas are usually good for multiple entries.

Length of Stay: 30 or 90 days

Visa Cost: $160

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months, printed receipt from the visa application form, one recent passport-size photo, and round-trip air ticket

Pay by: USPS money order

Cambodia

How to get a visa: Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has launched e-Visa, enabling U.S. citizens to apply for a tourist visa online. After the application is complete and the fee is paid, visas are sent by email. Print it and bring with you on your trip. You can also process a visa at the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports and at all major border crossings.

Length of Stay: 30 days

Visa Cost: $37

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months, recent passport-size photo

Pay by: credit card

China

How to get a visa: China has very strictly enforced entry and exit requirements. U.S. citizens must submit applications to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General in person or through an agent. Mail, online and fax applications will not be accepted. You will only pay the visa fee once your application is processed and approved. Upon arrival, carry your passport and visa with you at all times. You must also register with the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours. Hotels and organized travel groups usually take care of this for you.

Length of Stay: 30 days

Visa Cost: $140

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months, a completed application form, and documents showing your itinerary, including round trip flight tickets and proof of accommodation

Pay by: credit card, money order, cashier’s check, or company check

Cuba

How to get a visa: Americans can now visit Cuba under certain restrictions. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued 12 government-approved reasons to visit, including cultural exchange, professional research, visiting relatives and humanitarian work. One of the most common ways for Americans to visit Cuba is on a “people-to-people” trip, which requires a full schedule of educational activities and a tourist visa. A tourist visa can be obtained in person at the consulate or by mail, but the process is much smoother if organized through professional tour operators.

Length of Stay: 30 days

Visa Cost: $25-30

What You Need: original, signed, valid passport or legible photocopy, return air ticket

Pay by: cash or bank check

Egypt

How to get a visa: The best bet way to apply for an Egyptian tourist visa is through an embassy or consulate, but you can also apply by mail using a stamped, addressed express or certified mail envelope. The U.S. State Department has reported that Egyptian officials have been known to deny entry to American travelers without explanation in the past, so err on the side of over-preparedness.

Length of Stay: 30 days

Visa Cost: $15

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months and two photocopies of the information page, two copies of your completed application form, and two recent passport-size photos

Pay by: cash or cashier’s check

Ghana

How to get a visa: It is easiest to apply for a Ghana travel visa by mail. Send a stamped, addressed, overnight, trackable envelope along with your documents. You will also need evidence of a yellow fever vaccination. Some consulates may also require a letter of invitation from a host entity or individual in Ghana.

Length of Stay: 30 or 90 days

Visa Cost: $60

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months, two recent passport-size photos, round trip air ticket, proof of accommodation, proof of financial stability, evidence of yellow fever vaccination, and completed visa application form

Pay by: money order, cashier’s check, or certified bank check

India

How to get a visa: The Indian government recently introduced an online, 30 day e-tourist visa (eTV) for U.S. citizens going to India solely for tourist reasons. This offers an alternative to obtaining the visa at an Indian embassy or consulate. You’ll receive the visa online and must carry it with you throughout travel.

Length of Stay: 1-6 months

Visa Cost: $60

What You Need: original, signed, passport valid for six months and photocopy of passport identification page, eTV, recent passport-size photo, and onward or return journey air ticket

Pay by: money order, credit or debit card

Laos

How to get a visa: The easiest way to obtain a Lao tourist visa is to purchase one upon arrival. Only U.S. dollars are accepted. If 30 days isn’t long enough, a visa extension is usually easy to obtain and costs just $2 a day so long as your current visa is still valid. You can also get one in advance at an embassy or consulate, but it usually more requires more time and money.

Length of Stay: 30 days

Visa Cost: $35-50

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months from trip start, completed visa application form, and two recent passport-size photos

Pay by: cash, money order, or certified check

Lebanon

How to get a visa: U.S. citizens qualify for a tourist visa on arrival at the Beirut International airport or at other ports of entry. This is an easy alternative to obtaining a visa ahead of time from the embassy or local consulate. However, any visitor with Israeli stamps, visas, or seals in their passport will be barred from entry, so you might need to renew yours if that’s the case.

Length of Stay: one month

Visa Cost: $35

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months and photocopies of the passport identification page, completed visa application form, two passport-sized photos, proof of accommodation, and return air ticket

Pay by: cash or money order

Madagascar

How to get a visa: Madagascar also allows U.S. citizens to purchase a tourist visa at the airport upon arrival. You must use either U.S. dollars, Euros or the local currency, Malagasy Ariary. You can also get a visa prior to departure from the embassy or local consulate.

Length of Stay: 30, 60, or 90 days

Visa Cost: $34-60

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months, return air ticket, completed visa application form, and recent passport-size photo

Pay by: Cash, certified checks or money orders

The Maldives

How to get a visa: The Maldives require visitors to apply for a tourist visa on arrival at no cost. The immigration officer can grant any number of days less than or equal to 30 using their own discretion. You can prove that you have “sufficient funds” with a bank account with at least $150 for every day you will be visiting.

Length of Stay: 30 days

Visa Cost: $0

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months, onward or return air ticket, and sufficient funds

Pay by: N/A

Nepal

How to get a visa: The Nepalese government grants 15-day visas for $25, one-month visas for $40, or three-month visas for $100. You can apply for a visa either at a Nepalese embassy or consulate before traveling, or upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu or at other official points of entry. The visa must be used within six months from the date of issue.

Length of Stay: 15, 30, or 90 days

Visa Cost: $25-100

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months, completed visa application form, and recent passport-size photo

Pay by: money order

Paraguay

How to get a visa: You can obtain a tourist visa for Paraguay on arrival at the airport if arriving by plane. If you are entering into Paraguay another way, you will have to obtain your visa from the embassy or a consulate before you arrive.

Length of Stay: valid for 90 days

Visa Cost: $160

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months, recent passport-size photo, return air ticket, and completed visa application form

Pay by: cash or money order

Russia

How to get a visa: U.S. citizens can obtain a travel visa from a Russian visa center in the states, through a third-party visa agency or with their hotel or organized tour operator. You will be given a “migration card” from the border police on your first entry. Carry your passport and migration card at all times as Russian police regularly stop people and request identity and travel documents. U.S. citizens traveling on cruise ships can enter without a visa for a maximum of 72 hours.

Length of Stay: six months

Visa Cost: $160

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months, completed visa application form, recent passport-size photo, and proof of invitation to Russia from host individual or organization

Pay by: money order or certified bank check

Turkey

How to get a visa: The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established an electronic visa application system that is less expensive and more convenient than applying through the embassy or a consulate. The visa will be emailed to you once your application is processed and your payment is made. Make sure you have room in your passport for entry and exit stamps. U.S. citizens traveling on cruise ships can enter without a visa for a maximum of 72 hours.

Length of Stay: 90 days

Visa Cost: $20

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months and completed e-visa application form

Pay by: Mastercard, Visa or UnionPay credit or debit card

Venezuela

How to get a visa: A Venezuelan tourist visa must be obtained prior to departure. The visa is valid for a year and allows for multiple entries. You are responsible for providing a stamped and addressed USPS Priority Mail envelope and tracking number. Be sure to get an entry stamp when you arrive to prove legal entry to the country when you leave.

Length of Stay: 90 days

Visa Cost: $30

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months and photocopies of the passport identification page, two recent passport-size photos, proof of employment or retirement, proof of accommodation, onward or return air ticket, completed visa application form, and proof of adequate funds or notarized letter of invitation of person or institution in U.S. or Venezuela who will cover costs of stay

Pay by: money order

Vietnam

How to get a visa: U.S. citizens can apply for a visa to Vietnam beforehand by mail or in person at an embassy or consulate office. You must provide a stamped and addressed USPS overnight envelope and tracking number if you wish to receive the visa by mail.

Length of Stay: one or three months

Visa Cost: $25-100

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months, completed, printed and signed visa application form, and two recent passport-size photos

Pay by: money order, cashier’s check or company check payable to Embassy of Vietnam

Zimbabwe

How to get a visa: Travelers from the United States can obtain a travel visa for Zimbabwe at airports or other ports of entry, or in advance through the Embassy of Zimbabwe. For a quicker solution, consider applying with the electronic visa. You must carry identification at all times once in the country.

Length of Stay: 90 days

Visa Cost: $30-100

What You Need: original, signed passport valid for six months, return air ticket, address at destination, and proof of adequate funds

Pay by: cash

Keep in mind that many of these destinations operate predominately in cash. Sending money through Western Union can make it easy to get local currency where and when you need it.

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