Surprising Countries Where U.S. Citizens Need an Advance Visa

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Many countries require U.S. travelers to present entry visas on arrival.

U.S. passport owners have the privilege of being able to visit various countries—among them CanadaMexicoFranceItalyBelizeIcelandNew Zealand, and more—without needing a visa. However, a number of international destinations do require that travelers with U.S. passports purchase tourist visas before entering the country. Here’s what you need to know about a few of the more frequently visited countries that require visas from U.S. citizens upon arrival.

Australia

Before heading to the Land Down Under, travelers with U.S. passports must apply for an electronic authorization from the Australian government known as the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). You can purchase an Australian ETA online up to—but no later than—24 hours in advance of your departure. Electronic tourist visas are valid for one year and permit multiple stays of up to 90 days in Australia. They currently cost $20 per person.

Bolivia

Although U.S. passport holders can obtain visas on arrival at the Bolivian border, the extensive paperwork you need to have with you can complicate matters, which is why it can be better to apply for a Bolivian tourist visa online or at a consulate in advance. To enter Bolivia, U.S. citizens must provide a completed application form, a passport-size headshot, evidence of hotel reservations (or a letter of invitation to stay at a private residence), proof of sufficient funds and departure tickets, a photocopy of your passport, plus a yellow fever vaccination certificate. All of this is in addition to a fee of $160, which is only accepted in cash at the border.

Brazil

A Brazilian tourist visa costs $44 for two-year entry or $160 for 10-year entry, and it can be applied for online or at a Brazilian embassy at least one month before travel. In early 2019, Brazil’s Foreign Ministry announced that the country will soon eliminate visa requirements for visitors from the United States (as well as from Canada, Japan, and Australia). However, timelines for this change have not yet been announced, which means that until further notice, U.S. passport holders must still obtain travel visas prior to arrival in Brazil.

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China

Non-business travelers with U.S. passports are permitted to visit Hong Kong visa-free (for stays of up to 90 days). But to enter China’s mainland, U.S. passport holders must purchase an entry visa through the Chinese embassy no less than one month before their trip. China’s required visas currently cost $140 and allow for multiple entries to the country over the course of 10 years as long as the U.S. passport has a remaining validity of one year at the time the tourist visa is issued.

Cuba

Cuba might be the least surprising country to appear on this list due to its complicated history of travel regulations with the United States. But U.S. passport holders can visit the Caribbean island nation—they just have to adhere to a few specific requirements for entry, the first of which includes applying for a Cuban Tourist Card (sometimes referred to as a Cuban visa). These tourist cards can be purchased online and grant visitors a maximum stay of 30 days on the island. They’re valid for 180 days after purchase, which means you will need to travel within six months of obtaining the document. (Learn more about the legwork required to visit Cuba here.)

India
India’s visa application process changes frequently, so the Indian embassy in Washington, D.C. urges travelers to check its website for updates before planning a trip. At the moment, however, India’s tourist visa regulations are as follows: U.S. citizens can apply online for an electronic travel authorization referred to as an “e-Visa” up to four days before arrival in India, but no more than 30 days before travel. The e-Visa costs $100 and is valid for 60 days upon entry to India. (Be prepared to present a printed copy at customs in the international airport.)

Vietnam
Just as with Australia and India, U.S. citizens planning trips to Vietnam have the option to apply for an e-Visa—also referred to as a “visa on arrival”—online and in advance. Acquiring this e-Visa, which is valid for stays of up to 30 days, requires paying two fees: one “visa letter service fee” at the time of application and another “stamping fee” upon arrival in Vietnam. (The cost varies depending on length of travel and other factors—see more information here.) It’s important to note that Vietnam’s online visa approval process only applies to air travelers who arrive at one of the country’s international airports in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, or Da Nang; travelers arriving by land or sea must apply for a visa through a Vietnam embassy.

For the full list of countries requiring tourist visas from U.S. citizens, including Russia, Nepal, and Tanzania, click here.

Deal Alert: Flights to Europe From $340 Round-Trip

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By Max Prosperi

Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.

For many, it’s still far too early to start planning your summer travels. But, putting off your summer travel plans could result in having to pay insanely high prices for flights to and from your preferred destination. This is especially true of flights between the United States and Europe. Luckily, we’re seeing quite a few deals to popular cities in Europe extending into June.

These low fares are available from major US cities to popular cities in Europe such as London and Paris, available in the early spring months into summer. Late March and early April appear to offer the most availability. Still, fares are available starting late February and trail into June. These less than-$400 round-trip fares are currently available through popular Oneworld and Star Alliance carriers including American and United.

If you manage to find a deal that works with your wallet and schedule, make sure you don’t miss out on what your destination has to offer. Check out  Get Your Guide’s list of best activities in popular cities throughout Europe.

To search for these fares, head to Google Flights and enter your origin and destination cities. Scroll through the calendar function to find dates and prices that work for you. Finally, click through to book. Most of these fares are available directly through the airline, however, some fares may only be available through OTAs like Priceline or Expedia.

Airlines: American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Swiss, TAP Air Portugal, United
Routes: BOS/EWR/JFK/ZFV/LAX/SFO/ORD to BCN/CDG/CPH/DUB/FCO/LON/OSL/ZRH
Cost: $336+ round-trip
Travel Dates: March – June 2019

Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Citi Premier CardChase Sapphire Reserve CardAmerican Express® Gold CardCiti Prestige Card (3x on airfare plus excellent trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)

Here are a few examples of what you can book:

New York City (JFK) to Paris (CDG) for $341 round-trip on American Airlines in April:

New York City (JFK) to Rome (FCO) for $357 round-trip on American Airlines in May:

Newark (EWR) to Dublin (DUB) for $391 round-trip on TAP Air Portugal in April:

Chicago (ORD) to Oslo (OSL) for $387 round-trip on Swiss in April:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Barcelona (BCN) for $356 round-trip on American Airlines in April, May:

Boston (BOS) to London-Gatwick (LGW) for $363 round-trip on American Airlines, British Airways in May:

Maximize Your Purchase

Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve CardAmerican Express® Gold CardCiti Premier CardCiti Prestige Card (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

Featured image by Joe Daniel Price/Getty Images