Even the most seasoned of travelers might be surprised to learn that the country they’ve chosen for their upcoming vacation requires a visa for foreign entry. Unlike a passport, which is used to verify citizenship, a visa is an endorsement placed within an individual passport, which allows the holder to visit a certain country for a designated period. Read on for a partial list of countries that require U.S. citizens to obtain visas. Also, bear in mind that waits can be lengthy, so be sure to plan ahead.
Visitors to the Land Down Under must first obtain what’s known as an Electric Travel Authority (or ETA) from their travel agent or visa service. ETAs are valid for stays of up to 90 days.
Brushing up on Portuguese isn’t the only step Brazilian tourists have to take — a visit to the local Brazilian Consulate is also in order. There are 10 such consulates maintained throughout the United States; check this website to find the one that’s closest.
The process for obtaining a visa to China is similar to that of Brazil; simply contact the embassy that has jurisdiction over your area of residence. Multiple-entry visas to China are valid for up to 10 years.
These are available in either single-entry (valid for a single stay of up to 30 days) or multiple-entry (valid for up to 10 years) form. Note that the application process is complicated; consider enlisting the aid of a visa expedition service.
Visas to Indonesia are available upon arrival at Indonesian international airports. Alternately, one can apply in advance at the local consulate.
As many African countries require a visa, it’s best to check the table available here to see if your desired destination appears on it. Visitors planning multiple stops in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda should consider the East Africa Tourist Visa, which allows multiple entries to these three countries in a 90-day period. Kenya also offers single-entry e-visas, available online.
As the visa process is complicated for anyone planning to visit Russia, use of a visa service is highly recommended. Note that you’ll need an official invitation — either tourist or business — before beginning the application, and that applications sent through the mail are not accepted.