Which Countries Are Visa-Free for U.S. Citizens?

By Danielle Fernandez

What is a visa-free country, and your most pressing travel questions, answered

Which Countries Are Visa-Free for U.S. Citizens?

Roughly 40 percent of U.S. citizens held a valid passport in 2016, giving them the freedom to travel to and from many countries in the world – including Canada, Mexico and much of Europe. A number of other popular destinations, however, might also require a visa. Each country sets its own travel requirements, and they often change. Be sure to check the State Department’s "country information" search feature well in advance of your trip.

Countries that don't require a travel visa

As of April 2017, U.S. passports have a visa-free score of 157, which essentially means citizens with valid passports can travel to 157 countries and territories without a visa. These include the following:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Central African Republic
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Estonia
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kiribati
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Lesotho
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macao
  • Macedonia (FYROM)
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Namibia
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Palau
  • Palestinian Territories
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • San Marino
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Swaziland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Vatican City

Countries that require a travel visa

Advance visas are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil, China, Russia, India, Vietnam and most of the countries on the African continent. While most require an advance, mailed-in application, some offer online facilitation (known as "e-visas"), and still others allow you to purchase yours when you arrive at your destination (called a "visa on arrival").

The U.S. State Department lists country-specific travel requirements, or you can check with the embassy at your destination country. Significant restrictions and varied requirements often apply to visas and visas on arrival, such as six months' remaining passport validity prior to arrival in Vietnam, for example. Research areas specific to your destination ahead of time to avoid excessive waiting and minimize the risk of being refused entry.

Required documents at application

Documentation requirements for tourist visas vary by country, though you'll find the same basics around the globe. A current passport is required, sufficient blank pages for visa stamping, and an application fee paid to the embassy or consulate where the via application is being processed. If you're mailing your application ahead of time, you may also need to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or additional fees to cover shipping costs. Some countries may request additional information, such as your travel itinerary or military service history.

Passing with a passport

Even if your final destination requires only a passport, be sure to double-check the country's imposed time limits, which can be anywhere from 14 to 90 days. You'll also need to understand the types of activities you're permitted while visiting, since restrictions often exist for business and education travel. If you've verified that a passport is all you'll need, leave yourself plenty of time to get the proper documentation in place before you go. Generally speaking, processing times for a new or renewed passport can be as long as eight weeks, according to the U.S. State Department.

About the Author

Based in Tampa, Fla., Danielle Fernandez been writing, editing and illustrating all things technology, lifestyle and education since 1999. Her work has appeared in the Tampa Tribune, Working Mother magazine, and a variety of technical publications, including BICSI's "Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual." Fernandez holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of South Florida.