Having a U.S. passport is an extreme privilege, allowing us to travel to many countries around the world visa-free. In fact, Henley Passport Index, a company tracking passport rankings, reveals the US passport is the sixth most powerful in the world, giving Americans access to 184 countries visa-free. 

Countries like Saudi Arabia and Brazil have made it easier for U.S. travelers to visit in recent years. 

However, there are countries that aren’t so welcoming to U.S. passports and will require you going through the process to obtain a visa. 

While the US government keeps us away from traveling to the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, there are other countries that keep us away with their rules. 

Here are countries U.S. passport holders can’t easily travel to:


Before heading to China and visiting the Great Wall, you will have to head to the Chinese consulate to get a visa. If you’re visiting Bhutan, a landlocked country bordered by China, you should expect to pay a daily fee. Charging this daily fee is Bhutan’s strategy for keeping tourist visitation to a minimum. 



Although Cuba is super close to Florida, traveling there isn’t as easy. Visiting Cuba had become accessible during Obama’s presidency but the Trump administration has put an end to that. 


According to CNN Travel, the US embassy has a list of 12 categories in which citizens can travel to Cuba, ranging from journalism to humanitarian work but limits tourism. 


There has been a decline in US citizens visiting Iran in the past few years because of the difficulty to obtain a visa, with the process ranging from 60 to 90 days. 

Iran is a great country to visit because of it’s Achaemenid Empire, Armenian monasteries, awesome food, and culture but US citizens may be banned in the coming years. In 2017, President Trump issued an order to limit immigration from Iran to the US and in retaliation, the Iranian government has announced they will ban American visitors.

North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the only nation in the world that US citizens are banned from visiting by the American government because of “serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention.”


If you think you can fly to Russia without obtaining a visa first, think again. US citizens need to receive a letter of invitation from a Russian citizen or company to apply for a visa. Once you’ve received your visa and are in the country, you will be under constant surveillance by the thousands of cameras around the country. 


Oh, and if you overstay your visa, you will have to apply for a visa to leave the country. The US Department of State says US citizens with an expired visa could be held up for 20 days waiting for an exit visa to be issued. 


Much like Russia, to visit Turkmenistan, you will have to receive an invitation letter (from the government) to apply for a visa. Most US citizens only travel to this country if they are visiting with an organized tour or for business.