Visa Requirements for US Citizens
Today, I was chatting with a colleague about my radical idea to take a year off and travel the world. Generally, the reaction is horror and confusion, followed by the question, how can you afford to do that? This time though, my friend looked at me with excitement in his eyes and asked me if I had started applying for visas. My response to which was…no?
Up to this point in my preparation, I had simply been putting together the list of places I would ideally like to visit during my gap year. However, I hadn’t even considered that certain countries had pre-arrival visa requirements, and that some of them could be difficult to obtain. In the back of my mind, I knew that this would be a part of the process at some point, but did you know that certain visas can take up to a year for approval? I didn’t. So I put on my research hat and got to work on a list of countries which have pre-arrival visa requirements.
As of 2014, Americans were able to travel to a total of 174 countries without a visa, or with a visa granted upon arrival, so that is good news. However some of my top destinations, ones that I don’t want to miss, have pre-arrival visa requirements.
Countries with Pre-Arrival Visa Requirements for US Citizens:
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Republic of Congo
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia (No tourist visas granted)
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
- Margarita Island
- Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
Well folks, I know what I will be doing on nights and weekends for the next couple months. I am not too worried about being approved for most of the visas that I will need, however, Russia and China are intimidating. Hopefully this helps you understand the visa requirements for US citizens. If anyone has experience applying for and being granted tourist visas in those countries, please let me know!