American citizens usually can travel freely across foreign borders, however there is a rising trend of reciprocity for restrictions that the U.S. places on incoming visitors. More and more countries are requiring Americans to come prepared with pre-issued tourist visas that carry fees as high as $400. Chile, for example, charges U.S. nationals surcharges in the form of exit and entry fees at airports. In addition to an increase in fees, most countries require that your passport be valid for six months prior to entry that it contain several empty pages. These ever-changing visa regulations means that travelers must be careful to know the requirements before purchasing airline tickets. According to Roman Yagudaev, President of Rush Passport™, the premiere passport and visa specialists, “Several of our customers book costly excursions to destinations without taking into account departure dates as they correspond to the most up-to-date visa regulations.”
Below are the top 10 countries to be aware of when booking your next exotic vacation.
- China. Many Americans are taken by surprise by China’s $130 fee for a single-entry visa. China also requires applicants or visa specialist to arrive in person at one of six consulates across the U.S. to submit the forms and visa fee.
- India. Visa requirements have changed and continue to change so much that many travelers find it difficult to keep up to date on the latest changes. For more information you can contact us 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at Tri-State Area 212- 643-9305, Toll Free: 1-877-937-7277 or Nationwide: 1-877-937-8472.
- North Korea. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea does not share diplomatic relations with the United States and there are no North Korean embassies in the U.S. , nor is there an American embassy in North Korea. U.S. travelers can use the Swedish Embassy as long as they are escorted by North Korean “guides” for the duration of the visit. According to various sources, visas are not usually granted to Americans.
- Russia. Russia’s visa process can be a bit complex, especially the requirement of a letter of invitation, written in Russian. Rush Passport™ can offer assistance in obtaining this letter. Also, be prepared to answer extensive questions on topics such as medical insurance, military service, employment history, and educational background.
- Democratic Republic of Congo. Similar to Russia, the DRC also requires a notarized invitation. You will also need an International Certificate of Immunization as proof that you have received the yellow fever vaccination. In addition, travelers have been known to experience difficulties upon entering and exiting the country such as being detained, passport confiscation, and payment of unofficial ‘fees’.
- Saudi Arabia. Visa requirements are very limited. There are special visas issued to government-approved tour groups and even travelers with layovers or who are passing through may need to apply for a transit visa. In addition, women are subjected to stricter rules such as being required to be met by sponsors at the arrival point and having to be accompanied by a male relative for the duration.
- Angola. The U.S. State Department warns of excessive waiting times to receive a tourist visa. Travelers must provide proof of immunization, two invitations, and means of financial support. Approval time can take several months.
- Cuba. The official United States position on tourism to Cuba is that it is not allowed. Travel is only available for specific purposes such as visiting family, educational and religious travel. U.S. travelers can get there from Canada, but are advised not to have yout U.S. passport stamped by Cuban authorities.
- Brazil. High visa fees, inconsistent visa timetables and a no smile rule in effect for passport photos make this destination a tough place to visit.
- Iran. Just like North Korea, Iran and the U.S. do not have diplomatic representation in their respective countries. The Swiss Embassy in Tehran and the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, D.C., must provide assistance to travelers wishing to obtain tourist visas.
If you have any questions about obtaining a visa to any of the countries mentioned above or to anywhere else in the world, feel free to call Rush Passport™ 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at Tri-State Area 212- 643-9305, Toll Free: 1-877-937-7277 or Nationwide: 1-877-937-8472.