How to Visit Every Country in the World as an American

How many countries are in the world?

This is a tough question to get a definitive answer for. It depends who you ask and what you define as a country. There are 195 Sovereign States according to the United Nations, 201 States with at least partial recognition acknowledged by at least one UN member, 204-207 De Facto Sovereign states that are self-declared countries, 206 olympic nations, 211 FIFA countries eligible for the World Cup, and 249 country codes in the ISO Standard List. This makes it very difficult to put an actual number on it.

What is a country?

First, we have to think about what makes a country, a country. By definition, a country refers to a territory with its own borders as well as total sovereignty over its territory and people. An independent country is not only a self-governed nation with its own authorities, but its status needs the international diplomatic recognition of sovereignty from at least some other sovereign countries. The United Nations, as the most influential international organization, is often considered the starting point for the correct number for total countries. There are currently 193 members of the UN that are recognized worldwide as independent countries. However, there are 2 permanent observer states, Holy See (Vatican) and Palestine, which are considered countries because of the UN observer status confirming the degree of their international recognition. This brings the UN total to 195, which is more than likely what will come up first on a Google search.

But wait! There’s more! Here’s where it gets a bit more complicated with that figure excluding 2 more widely recognized entities in the list of independent countries. Taiwan is recognized by 22 countries as its own nation, but excluded by most due to the asserted ownership by China in order to prevent harm to relations and trade opportunities. Another exception is Kosovo. Despite being recognized by 111 countries as a nation, its been in political debate since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008. With these two exceptions, it brings the United Nation’s list of recognized countries in the world to 197.

Nowadays, there is no consensus on the country quantity issue because there is still no universal agreement on the definition of “country.” When looking at a map of the world, it may seem easy to distinguish what areas ought to be countries based on looks. That’s not the case though! Greenland, for example, is a large island between the north Atlantic and Arctic oceans and certainly looks like it ought to be a country, right? Wrong! While it controls many of its own domestic affairs, Greenland is not recognized as a UN member. It’s actually claimed by Denmark, a European country fractional in size comparison and located 1,800 miles away. People can certainly say they’ve technically been to every country in the world even though there’s still a massive untouched section of map, though some may consider that cheating.

Another example up for a technicality discussion is the United Kingdom, where I currently live. The UK is one country utilizing the same currency and passports, ruled by the same Monarch figure (long live the Queen), and ran by the same government. The FIFA organization, however, recognizes Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales as four separate “countries”. Many people, majority being football fans, follow the separation because of their teams and also because of the differences between the regions. All of this demonstrates the complications behind determining the exact number of countries in the world.

So if you’re wanting to be in the exclusive club of travelers racing to visit every country in the world, you’re probably going to want to know how possible and realistic it is. There are currently 199 people who claim to have accomplished this goal, although only about a fourth of them have been verified. You can visit nomadmania.com to keep up with the world’s top travelers. This website breaks up each country into regions so that travelers can mark what regions they have been to in each country. I like that you can see where you rank amongst other travelers.

How do I get into every single country?

I have heard that some countries are nearly impossible to enter as an American, so I thought I would put together a list of visa requirements and any expected hurdles that you may come across. Hopefully one day the world will be more peaceful and it won’t be so much of a hassle to explore the world. One can dream, right?!?

Still, Americans are very lucky compared to other nationalities. U.S. citizens have visa-free access to 113 countries across the globe. We can even get a visa on arrival in 41 countries, without applying beforehand. 43 countries require Americans to obtain a visa before arriving in the country, either by mail or an electronic application. A United States passport is a powerful document to have, ranking 6th in terms of travel freedom according to the Henley Passport Index. The US passport is tied with Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Greece, and Ireland.

Below is a list of the 197 countries in alphabetical order and how to enter each as an American tourist.

Green indicates that no visa is required

Purple indicates that a visa can be obtained on arrival

Blue indicates that an electronic visa can be obtained in advance

Red indicates that a visa must be obtained by mail or at an embassy

Afghanistan- Visa required
Online application at https://www.afgvisa.com/
Digital copy of your passport
Have application signature notarized
5-15 business days to process
$195
Albania- Visa not required
Algeria- Visa required
Visit https://www.itseasy.com/visa-expediting/algeria/ to view requirements and complete application
Mail in passport to obtain a visa or visit consulate in person
Approximately 10 days to process
$309
Andorra- Visa not required
Angola- eVisa
Online application at http://www.smevisa.gov.ao/
2-6 days to process
$120 paid in cash at the border
Antigua and Barbuda- Visa not required
Argentina- Visa not required
Armenia- Visa not required
Australia- eVisa/ETA
Online application at https://www.eta.homeaffairs.gov.au/ETAS3/etas
15-19 days to process
$128-$178
Austria- Visa not required
Azerbaijan- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Online application at http://washington.mfa.gov.az/content/79
Visa on arrival is only valid for direct flights from NY on specific airlines
3 days to process
Valid for 30 days
$20
Bahamas- Visa not required
Bahrain- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://www.evisa.gov.bh/ for eVisa
Two-week visa on arrival will cost 25BD ($66 USD)
Bangladesh- Visa on arrival
Visit https://www.visa.gov.bd/ for eVisa
Valid for 15-30 days
$50 (USD only)
Barbados- Visa not required
Belarus- Visa not required
Belgium- Visa not required
Belize- Visa not required
Benin- eVisa
Visit https://evisa.gouv.bj/en/ for eVisa
Valid for 30 days or 90 days
1-5 days to process
$80-$175
Bhutan- Visa required
You must work directly with a licensed tour operator to obtain a visa for Bhutan.
3-10 days to process
$40
Bolivia- Visa on arrival
Visa can be used for up to 3 trips per year within a 10-year period, up to a maximum of 90 days per year.
$160
Bosnia and Herzegovina- Visa not required
Botswana- Visa not required
Brazil- Visa not required
Brunei- Visa not required
Bulgaria- Visa not required
Burkina Faso- Visa on arrival
Valid for 3 months
Single entry = 94,000 CFA $155
Multiple-entry = 122,000CFA $200
Burundi- Visa required
Visit https://burundiembassy-usa.com/index.php/consular-services/visa-services for application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
Single Entry Visa valid up to 30 days = $70
Multiple Entry Visa valid up to 30 days = $90
Transit Visa valid up to 72 hours = $40
Cabo Verde- Visa on arrival
Valid for 30 days
$25
Cambodia- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Valid for 30 days
$30
Cameroon- Visa required
Visit https://www.traveldocs.com/expedited-visa-services/cameroon-tourist-visa-washington-dc-visa-instructions40-538-1-3 for application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
Valid for up to 3 months
5-7 business day processing time = $487
10 business day processing time = 197
Canada- Visa not required
Central African Republic- Visa not required
Chad- Visa required
Visit https://www.chadembassy.us/index.php/visa-information for application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
1 week to process
1 month single entry = $150
3 month multiple entry = $200
6 month multiple entry = $250
Chile- Visa not required
China- Visa required
Visit http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/zyxx/ for application
Submit application to Chinese Embassy
1-4 days to process
Valid for multiple entries for 12 months or more
$140
Colombia- Visa not required
Comoros- Visa on arrival
Valid for 45 days
$50
Congo, Republic of- Visa required
Visit http://www.ambacongo-us.org/en-us/embassyservices/consular/visa.aspx for application
Submit application at least 2 weeks prior to departure
Yellow Fever vaccination required
5-7 days to process
Valid for 90 day and multiple entries. A visa of 180 days can be granted.
$200
Costa Rica- Visa not required
Côte d’Ivoire- eVisa
Visit http://www.ambaciusa.org/fr/?id=31 for application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
2-3 business days to get back the passport
$209 multiple entry up to 90 days
$249 multiple entry up to 1 year
Croatia- Visa not required
Cuba- Visa required
Visit http://misiones.minrex.gob.cu/en/usa/consular-services#visa_turismo for application
Valid for 30 days
$85
Cyprus- Visa not required
Czech Republic- Visa not required
Democratic Republic of Congo- Visa required
Visit https://www.ambardcusa.org/consular-affairs/ for application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
Average waiting time is a minimum of 90 days
$45-$450
Denmark- Visa not required
Djibouti- eVisa
Visit https://www.evisa.gouv.dj/#/ for application
Transit visa (1-14 days) = $12
Short stay visa (15 to 90 days) = $23
Dominica- Visa not required
Dominican Republic- Visa not required
Ecuador- Visa not required
Egypt- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Valid for 30 days
$25
El Salvador- Visa not required
Equatorial Guinea- Visa not required
Eritrea- Visa required
Visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Eritrea.html#ExternalPopup for application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
About 20 days to process
Valid for up to 90 days
$50
Estonia- Visa not required
Eswatini- Visa not required
Ethiopia- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Single-entry visa valid for 30 days = $52
Single-entry visa valid for 90 days = $72
Fiji- Visa not required
Finland- Visa not required
France- Visa not required
Gabon- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Single-entry visa = 45,000 CFA or 70 euros cash (USD not accepted)
Valid from days up to 6 months
Gambia- Visa required
Visit http://www.accessgambia.com/information/gambian-embassy-united-states.html for application
Valid for 5 years
$100
Georgia- Visa not required
Germany- Visa not required
Ghana- Visa required
Visit https://www.ghanaembassydc.org/ for application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
$60-$250
Greece- Visa not required
Grenada- Visa not required
Guatemala- Visa not required
Guinea- Visa required
Visit http://guineaembassyusa.org/en/visa-2/ for application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
Valid for up to 3 years with multiple entries
$160
Guinea-Bissau- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://www.rgb-visa.com/ for eVisa
Valid for 30 days to 1 year
55-100 €
Guyana- Visa not required
Haiti- Visa not required
Honduras- Visa not required
Hungary- Visa not required
Iceland- Visa not required
India- eVisa
Visit https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html for application
Valid for 30 days to 5 years
$60-$150
Indonesia- Visa not required
Iran- Visa required, except for Kish Island
Visit https://evisatraveller.mfa.ir/en/request/ for application
Allow 60-90 days to obtain a visa before departure
$80-$160
Iraq- Visa required
Visit http://www.iraqiembassy.us/page/visas-to-iraq for application
Valid for 3 months to 1 year
$50-$150
Ireland- Visa not required
Israel- Visa not required
Italy- Visa not required
Jamaica- Visa not required
Japan- Visa not required
Jordan- Visa on arrival
Valid for 30 days
40 JD (approx. $56 USD)
Kazakhstan- Visa not required
Kenya- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html for eVisa
Yellow Fever vaccination required
Valid for 90 days to 6 months
$50
Kiribati- Visa not required
Korea, North- not permitted
Visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/how-apply/passport-for-travel-to-north-korea.html for information about a Special Validation Passport
Korea, South- Visa not required
Kosovo- Visa not required
Kuwait- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://evisa.moi.gov.kw/evisa/home_e.do for eVisa
Valid 30 days and up to 90 days
$20-$80 for eVisa
3KD ($3USD) upon arrival
Kyrgyzstan- Visa not required
Laos- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://laoevisa.gov.la/index for eVisa
Valid for 30 days within two months of issue
$50 eVisa
$30 upon arrival
Latvia- Visa not required
Lebanon- Visa on arrival
A money order (no cash or checks accepted) payable to the Embassy of Lebanon
Valid for 30 days
$35 single entry
$70 multiple entry
Lesotho- Visa not required
Liberia- Visa required
Visit http://www.liberianembassyus.org/index.php?page=consular for application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
10 days to process
Apply within two weeks of travel date
Valid for 3 months to 3 years
$70-$350
Libya- Visa required
Visit http://www.embassyoflibyadc.org/about/consulate_services/visa for application
Valid for 30 days
$25
Liechtenstein- Visa not required
Lithuania- Visa not required
Luxembourg- Visa not required
Madagascar- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://www.e-visa-madagascar.com/ for eVisa
Valid for 30-60 days
$20-$45
Malawi- Visa on arrival
Transit Visa = $50
Single-entry = $75
Six-month multiple entry = $150
One-year multiple entry = $250
Malaysia- Visa not required
Maldives- Visa on arrival
Valid for 30 days
Free of charge
Mali- Visa required
Visit http://www.maliembassy.us/visas for application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
5 days to process
Valid up to 5 years
$131
Malta- Visa not required
Marshall Islands- Visa not required
Mauritania- Visa on arrival
Single entry valid for 30 days
55€
Mauritius- Visa not required
Mexico- Visa not required
Micronesia- Visa not required
Moldova- Visa not required
Monaco- Visa not required
Mongolia- Visa not required
Montenegro- Visa not required
Morocco- Visa not required
Mozambique- Visa on arrival
Valid for 30 days
$50
Myanmar- eVisa
Visit https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/ for application
Valid for 28 days
$50-$56
Namibia- Visa not required
Nauru- Visa required
Visit http://www.naurugov.nr/about-nauru/visiting-nauru/visa-requirements.aspx for application
Apply one to two months prior to trip
Valid for 30 days
$50 AUD
Nepal- Visa on arrival
15 days = $25
30 days = $40
90 days = $100
Netherlands- Visa not required
New Zealand- Visa not required
Nicaragua- Visa not required
Niger- Visa required
Visit http://www.embassyofniger.org/demande-de-visa/ got application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
3 days to process
Valid for 3 months
$155
Nigeria- Visa required
Visit http://www.nigeriaembassyusa.org/index.php?page=visas for application
Multiple Entry valid for 2 years
$160
North Macedonia- Visa not required
Norway- Visa not required
Oman- eVisa
Visit https://evisa.rop.gov.om/ for application
Valid for 30 days within 6 months of issuance
20 OR ($52)
Pakistan- eVisa
Visit https://visa.nadra.gov.pk/ for application
Valid for 3 months to 5 years
4-10 days to process
$60+
Palau- Visa not required
 IHRC: Fly the Palestinian flag in last 10 days of Ramadan – 5PillarsPalestine- Visa not required
Panama- Visa not required
Papua New Guinea- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://evisa.ica.gov.pg/evisa/account/apply for eVisa
Valid for 180 days
K100 (Approx. $58 USD)
Paraguay- Visa on arrival
Multiple entry visa with validity of up to ten years
$160
Peru- Visa not required
Philippines- Visa not required
Poland- Visa not required
Portugal- Visa not required
Qatar- Visa not required
Romania- Visa not required
Russia- Visa required
Visit https://visa.kdmid.ru/ for application
Passengers of cruise ships and ferries at St. Petersburg and Vladivostok are permitted to stay in Russia for 72 hours without a visa when accompanied by a tour operator licensed by Russian authorities.
14 days to process
Multiple Entry visa valid for 3 years
$160
Rwanda- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://www.migration.gov.rw/anounce/online-visa/ for eVisa
Valid for 30 days
Single entry = $50
Multiple entry = $70
Saint Kitts and Nevis- Visa not required
Saint Lucia- Visa not required
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines- Visa not required
Samoa- Visa not required
San Marino- Visa not required
São Tomé and Principe- Visa not required
Saudi Arabia- Visa required
Visit https://www.saudiembassy.net/tourist-visa for application
Multiple entry valid for up to one full year with a maximum 90-day duration at one time
SAR 440 (Approx. $123)
Senegal- Visa not required
Serbia- Visa not required
Seychelles- Visa not required
Sierra Leone- Visa on arrival
Valid for 30 days
$80
Singapore- Visa not required
Slovakia- Visa not required
Slovenia- Visa not required
Solomon Islands- Visa on arrival
Valid for 3 months
Free of charge
Somalia- Visa on arrival
Valid for 30 days and a maximum of 90 days
$50
South Africa- Visa not required
South Sudan- Visa required
Visit http://www.southsudanembassyusa.org/visa/ for application
Yellow Fever vaccination required
5 days to process
$160
Spain- Visa not required
Sri Lanka- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Must have ETA or a visa
Visit http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/ for ETA system
ETA is available online or at port of entry
Entry valid for 30 days
$5
Transit visa valid for 2 days = free
Sudan- Visa required
Visit https://www.sudanembassy.org/service/entry-visa/ for application
Yellow Fever and Cholera vaccination required
7-10 business days to process
$154
Suriname- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://suriname.vfsevisa.com/suriname/online/home/index for eVisa
Tourist card on arrival valid for 30 days (extendable to 90 days) = $35
Multiple entry visa valid for 5 years = $100
Transit visa valid for 3 days = $15
Sweden- Visa not required
Switzerland- Visa not required
Syria- Visa required
Visit https://www.traveldocs.com/expedited-visa-services/syria-visa-processing-country216 for information
Visas must be obtained prior to arrival. The Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Washington, DC, however, suspended all operations in 2014.
Taiwan- Visa not required
Tajikistan- eVisa
Visit https://www.evisa.tj/index.evisa.html for eVisa
$52
Tanzania- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://www.tanzaniavisas.com/ for eVisa
$50
Thailand- Visa not required
Timor-Leste- Visa on arrival
Valid for 30 days
$30
Togo- Visa on arrival
Valid for 7 days
$30
Tonga- Visa on arrival
Require a letter of authority
Valid for 31 days
Free
Trinidad and Tobago- Visa not required
Tunisia- Visa not required
Turkey- eVisa
Visit https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ for eVisa
Valid for 180 days. Stay cannot exceed 90 days.
$50
You do not need a visa if you are a transfer/transit passenger who has a transit stop of less than 24 hours and wish to explore Istanbul for free with Turkish Airlines. Visit https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-gb/flights/fly-different/touristanbul/ for more info.
Turkmenistan- Visa in advance/Visa on arrival
Visit https://usa.tmembassy.gov.tm/en/consular-services/visa for application
Letter of invitation required
Single entry visa valid for 10 days = $70
Tuvalu- Visa on arrival
Valid for 30 days
$100 AUD
Uganda- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://visas.immigration.go.ug/ for eVisa
Valid for 90 days
$50
Ukraine- Visa not required
United Arab Emirates- Visa on arrival
Valid for 30 days
Free
United Kingdom- Visa not required
United States- Citizens
Uruguay- Visa not required
Uzbekistan- eVisa
Visit http://evisa.mfa.uz/evisa_en/ for eVisa
For single entry visas:
up to 7 days = $40
up to 15 days = $50
up to 30 days = $60
up to 3 months = $80
up to 6 months = $120
up to 1 year = $160
For multiple entry visas:
up to 6 months = $150
up to 1 year = $250
For transit visas:
up to 72 hours = $40
double entry transit visa = $50
Vanuatu- Visa not required
Vatican- Visa not required
Venezuela- Visa required
Must appear in person at the closest Embassy/Consulate to apply
One-year, multiple-entry visa good for a 90 day stay = $30
Vietnam- eVisa
Visit https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/trang-chu-ttdt for eVisa
Valid for 30 days, single entry
$25
Yemen- Visa required
Visit https://www.yemenembassy.org/consuloraffairs/visa-services/ for application
Visa must be obtained at Yemeni embassies and consulates abroad
An invitation letter is required
Valid for 30 days
Minimum processing time is two weeks
$65
Zambia- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://eservices.zambiaimmigration.gov.zm/#/home for eVisa
KAZA visa valid for travel between Zambia and Zimbabwe and day trips into Botswana is valid for 30 days = $50
Day tripper visa = $20
Single-entry visa = $50
Double or multiple-entry visa =$80
Zimbabwe- eVisa/Visa on arrival
Visit https://www.evisa.gov.zw/ for eVisa
Single-entry visa = $55
Double entry visa = $70
***All of the information above is likely to change based on many factors. It is accurate to the best of my knowledge. If I have posted inaccurate information, please comment below so that I can update it.

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