A United States passport is a powerful document to have, ranking 6th in terms of travel freedom according to the Henley Passport Index. The Henley Passport Index is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom of their citizens. The US passport is tied with Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Greece, and Ireland.
As of October 1, 2019, US citizens have access to 184 countries and territories without a travel visa or with a visa on arrival. Of the countries that do not require a travel visa, some have different time frames after which a passport is required. These time frames can be 30, 60, 90, or 180 days and so on or unlimited. Because of the high number of countries that US citizens can travel to without a visa, it's simpler to mention some of the ones that do require a visa.
US citizens do not need a tourist visa to enter any of the 28 countries that are European Union members. This includes the United Kingdom, which is possibly leaving the European Union, and US citizens will not need a visa either way. If a US citizen wants to travel to Russia, however, a visa is required, can take up to three weeks to process, and costs $139.
In countries where visas are required, travelers are subject to registration fees, departure taxes and fees, fingerprinting, and being photographed. Additionally, some countries, such as Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Niger, require an International Certificate of Vaccination. In Libya, Sudan, and Syria, anyone with Israeli entry or exit stamps on their passport may be denied entry into the country.
China requires a travel visa for US citizens. The application must include travel dates, itinerary, and proof of onward travel out of China and the application must be typed with no handwritten corrections. Additionally, every visitor between the ages of 14 and 70 is fingerprinted upon arrival and departure.
US citizens are not permitted to travel to North Korea, with or without a visa. The travel ban took effect in 2017 after a United States student died after being released from a North Korean prison. Failure to adhere to the rules can result in criminal penalties and having one’s passport revoked. In order to travel to North Korea, US passport holders would need to obtain a special passport validation from the United States government.
Before traveling, it is necessary to check the visa requirements of one’s destination. Below is a table of the visa requirements for each country, including countries that do not require one.