Countries that Require US Citizens to Have a Travel Visa
While many countries Americans are likely to frequent do not require visas, many countries do. Here is a list to help with your travel plans.
Some visas require travelers to show travel plans, passport photos, and sometimes in-depth applications to be submitted at the country's consulate here in the US. Don't be surprised if you are told that it will take a number of weeks to issue the visa! Of course, most applications are simple, quick, and some can even be obtained upon arrival. Just make sure to double-check first, so your plans don't take a detour.
This list was last updated in May 2011. For an always current, and more in-depth resource, check with the US Department of State's directory of Country Specific Information.
North America, Central America and Carribean
Only Cuba will give you issues here. Panama and the Dominican Republic issue tourist cards upon your arrival.
Brazil is the most challenging visa application, though Bolivia, Paraguay and Suriname also require travelers obtain one in advance. Chile issues a visa upon arrival. Venezuela allows tourists without issue, but business travelers must obtain visas in advance.
Russia requires a visa in advance, and they actually make it kind of complicated. Turkey issues visas upon arrival, and Albania does not require a visa, but it is recommened to obtain one, so as not to be held at entry, or asked to pay an entry fee.
Advance visas are required for: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, the Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoirem Djibouti, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Togo.
Visas are issued upon arrival in: Burkina Faso, Comoros (in the city of Moroni), Madagascar (which can take a while), Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Mauritania requires a sponsor in order to obtain a visa and Guinea-Bissau requires one that Americans can only obtain through embassies in Portugal or Senegal.
Advance visas are required for: Bahrain, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
Visas are issued upon arrival in: Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
You can only travel to Saudi Arabia as a tourist if you travel with an approved group.
Asia and Oceana
Advance visas are required for Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Cambodia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Visas are issued upon arrival in: Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Timor-Leste.
New Zealand and Vietnam typically issue visa exemptions for American travelers.
Australia requires a visa, but it's an extremely easy online process that issues an Electronic Travel Authority in just a few minutes.
You can only travel to Bhutan as a tourist if you travel with an approved group.
Good luck getting into Burma (Myanmar), or North Korea as an American!