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Andrew Henderson

Founder of Nomad Capitalist and the world’s most sought-after expert on global citizenship.

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Visa-Free Countries for US Citizens in 2024

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Once considered the best, most powerful travel document in the world, the US passport is beginning to lose its appeal. 

That’s evident from many sources, including our own Nomad Passport Index which, in 2024, ranks the US passport in a lowly 44th place, just above Uruguay but still behind Argentina. That’s a shocking statistic for a country so used to striding confidently across the world stage.

But that fall from grace has been coming for some time. In recent years, the US has become more focused on levying taxes, enforcing stringent regulations and promoting an unhealthy distaste for the wealthy.

No wonder more and more US citizens are looking for a Plan B that allows them to diversify their wealth and get a second passport to ensure they’re prepared for whatever may come.

That’s where we come in. At Nomad Capitalist, we encourage people to go where they’re treated best. As the Nomad Capitalist founder, Andrew Henderson, discussed in a recent Ted Talk, that means not being afraid to leave your home country if it no longer aligns with your needs and beliefs. 

Go Where You Are Treated Best | Andrew Henderson | TEDxVake

Staying where you are because you were born there or because, once upon a time, it was the best does not serve your best interests. You need to go somewhere that values the same things you value and wants to promote your growth. 

In many ways, that’s no longer true of the United States of America. One thing the country still scores well on, however, is travel freedom. A US passport offers visa-free access to over 80% of the world.

Then again, so does a passport from Malta, Portugal, Singapore and many other countries. Unlike the US, these are places that value foreign entrepreneurs, are tax-friendly and offer many lucrative investment opportunities.

Again, that’s where Nomad Capitalist can help you. Whether you want to renounce your US citizenship or look for better personal and business opportunities while keeping your US passport, we can help you.

At Nomad Capitalist, we’ve helped over 1500 clients go where they’re treated best, and we can help you do the same. Set up a call today to legally reduce your taxes, diversify your passport portfolio and acquire peace of mind.

Benefits of Owning a US Passport in 2024

US passport visa-free countries

Passport Strength

According to the Nomad Passport Index, US passport holders can travel to 172 countries either visa free or without having to obtain a visa in advance (meaning these countries offer visa on arrival or electronically). 

In the modern fast-paced world of business, visa-free travel matters for US citizens. Whether you’re a digital nomad or someone looking for a more permanent place overseas to live and work, visa-free access offers many opportunities. It allows you to visit for a short period and assess if the lifestyle, climate, real estate market and job opportunities are worth relocating for.

In short, it gives you an idea of what’s on offer should you decide to apply for residence and incentives such as a digital nomad visa. US citizens can, for example, travel visa-free to Germany and apply for their Freelance Visa, which is valid for a  year and can be renewed.

So, despite the increasing government regulations and IRS tax enforcement, the US still ranks high in global terms for openness to business. That means that, for those determined to do business in the US, despite its complicated tax system and government policies, it can still be a land of opportunity.

Visa-Free Countries for US Citizens

Visa-Free Countries for US Citizens

As of 2024, US passport holders can travel visa-free or visa-on-arrival to 172 countries. As long as you do not stay longer than permitted, you can remain in those countries with just your passport. For example, in Colombia, a US passport holder can stay in the country for up to three months

This can be extended to six months with permission from the government but if you wish to remain in the country for more than six months, you’ll need to apply for a visa. 

Visa-Free Countries for US Passport Holders

Grenada

As we discussed above, the US passport is still a fairly powerful travel document, despite the many setbacks the nation is facing. Below are some of the countries you can travel visa-free to with a US passport:

  • Albania
  • Germany
  • Namibia
  • Netherlands
  • Andorra
  • Greece
  • Nicaragua
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Grenada
  • Argentina
  • Norway
  • Armenia
  • Guatemala
  • Palau
  • Palestine
  • Austria
  • Guyana
  • Panama
  • Bahamas
  • Haiti
  • Peru
  • Barbados
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Belgium
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Belize
  • Iceland
  • Portugal
  • Ireland
  • Romania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Israel
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Italy
  • Saint Lucia
  • Brunei
  • Jamaica
  • Bulgaria
  • Georgia
  • San Marino
  • Canada
  • Kazakhstan
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Kiribati
  • Serbia
  • Chile
  • South Korea (Visa requirements lifted until December 2024)
  • Singapore
  • Colombia
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Slovakia
  • Costa Rica
  • Latvia
  • Slovenia
  • Croatia
  • Lesotho
  • South Africa
  • Cyprus
  • Lithuania
  • Spain
  • Czech Republic
  • Luxembourg
  • Denmark
  • Macao
  • Dominica
  • North Macedonia
  • Sweden
  • Dominican Republic
  • Malaysia
  • Switzerland
  • Ecuador
  • Malta
  • Taiwan
  • El Salvador
  • Marshall Islands
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tonga (No visa for trips of 30 days or less)
  • Estonia
  • Turkey
  • Mauritius
  • Tunisia
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Moldova
  • Ukraine
  • Finland
  • Monaco
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Mongolia
  • Uruguay
  • Montenegro
  • Vanuatu
  • Morocco
  • Vatican City
  • United Arab Emirates (30 days or less).

Although these locations don’t have visa requirements for US citizens, you should still do your research before hopping on a plane and entering a foreign airport. For example, although you don’t need a visa for the Schengen Area with a US passport, from 2025 you may need to fulfil the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) requirements for entry. This is a planned electronic authorisation system of the European Union for visa-exempt visitors travelling to the Schengen area. 

If you’re planning a trip to the Schengen Area, an area encompassing 29 European countries, keep in mind that your stay in each counts towards a combined limit of 90 days. So, if you stay in Germany for 35 days and then travel to Poland, you can only stay in Poland for 55 days. 

Countries That Require Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

An eTA allows a country to screen visitors before they enter the country, increasing its security and transparency.

The US has an ESTA system for certain visa-exempt foreign nationals. Countries that require US citizens to have an eTA includes places like Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Although not used by every country, electronic travel authorisation is a far quicker process than completing a full visa application.. 

Visa-on-Arrival Countries for US Passport Holders

Cambodia

The Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) process is much more straightforward than the standard process of getting a visa. When travelling to VOA countries, you need to obtain a visa through immigration before entering the country.

In most cases, the applicants have to go through an online pre-approval process and approved travellers are then granted a visa through an accelerated process at the port of entry. For VOA applicants, the immigration process is faster and less stressful.

The following countries are some of those that require US passport holders to obtain a visa on arrival (VOA):

  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • Rwanda
  • Burkina Faso
  • Samoa
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Cambodia
  • Nigeria
  • Sierra Leone
  • Qatar
  • Comoro Islands
  • Solomon Islands
  • Egypt
  • Somalia
  • Ethiopia
  • South Sudan
  • Gambia
  • Oman
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Indonesia
  • Tanzania
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • East Timor
  • Laos
  • Togo
  • Lebanon
  • Tuvalu
  • Malawi
  • Uzbekistan
  • Maldives
  • Vietnam
  • Mauritania
  • Madagascar
  • Zimbabwe
  • Nepal

US citizens can enjoy visa-free travel to the countries above, but each may have its own rules about passport validity, duration of stay, and other such requirements.

US citizens can travel visa-free to all European Union countries and do not need a tourist visa for stays up to 90 days.

For longer stays, each country has its own immigration process and requirements. For example, some countries may require travellers to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination.

How Do US Citizens Visit Countries with Visa Requirements?

visa requirements for US citizens

Americans can enjoy visa-free travel to the majority of the world’s countries without going through a standard visa-acquiring process.

However, a relatively small number require visiting US citizens to have a visa and go through the following process:

  • Choose the purpose of a visit: This will define the type of visa that you will obtain and whether it’s a multiple-entry visa or not.
  • Submit application: You will be required to submit a visa application with supporting documents at the embassy of the country you plan to visit.
  • Have an interview: Make an appointment in the nearest embassy or consulate and appear for an interview.

Different countries have different procedures but all have these common steps.

Restricted Countries for US Citizens

North Korea

A few nations restrict US citizens from entering.

For example, they cannot travel to North Korea without a special passport validation from the US Government. Contrary to popular belief, they are allowed to visit Cuba but, again, they will require special legal permission in advance to do so. 

Other countries like China and Russia do permit US citizens to visit, although they must complete the visa process before arrival. 

Is a US Passport Still Worth Having? 

US passport

We’ve discussed the countries US passport holders can travel to visa-free, but a passport is more than a travel document; it’s both a tangible and symbolic representation of one’s national identity.

In terms of the travel freedoms it offers, a US passport is strong, but what about the freedom, rights and opportunities available to its citizens?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the United States but at Nomad Capitalist we believe there are better options for high-net-worth individuals to reduce their taxes and protect and grow their assets. That could be in a tax-friendly country with a high quality of life and freedom or it could mean living in one country and having your business in another. 

We call it ‘going where you’re treated best’ and many clients are successfully living our Trifecta lifestyle in multiple countries.

So, here are some reasons you should consider the alternatives if you are a US citizen. 

Complicated Tax System

The US has a citizenship-based taxation (CBT) system, meaning that the government will follow you to the ends of the earth and tax you wherever you live. The US is one of only two countries with a CBT system, the other being Eritrea.

There are some exclusions for US citizens overseas but in general you’ll likely liable for US taxes and at the very least you’ll be obliged to file a tax return and report all economic activity to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). That’s why it’s challenging for US citizens to pay lower taxes overseas unless they renounce US citizenship

Increasing Government Regulation

It is estimated that regulations cost US businesses roughly US$300 billion a year, with the costs increasing as firms grow from small to medium size. 

With the Biden administration introducing a minimum 15% corporate tax on larger enterprises to close previously legal tax loopholes, it seems the tax and regulatory environment in the US is currently being geared to punish rather than promote business. 

All it takes is one presidential signature and your business can face more costs and higher taxes. We used to think of the US as a business-friendly country, but recent events show that this may no longer be the case.

US Passport Shortcomings

A US passport may allow access to 172 countries but US citizens still must obtain a visa to travel to China, the world’s second-largest economy. The additional visa requirements may restrict entrepreneurs from benefiting from the Chinese market.

Suppose you are a businessperson interested in China? You should think about acquiring a second passport that offers visa-free access to China and allows you to work there without any restrictions.

That kind of passport exists. And China is just one of several examples – all of which means that, while a US passport has a lot of power, it may not meet your personal needs or goals. 

Visa-Free Countries for US Citizens in 2024: FAQs

How much does a US passport cost? 

A standard, adult US passport and passport card costs US$130 plus processing fees. The cost increases if the process needs to be expedited.

Can I have multiple passports as a US citizen? 

Under certain limited circumstances, US citizens are allowed to hold other passports while retaining their US passport.

Does holding a US passport prevent you from entering certain countries? 

There are only a few countries where US passport holders are forbidden to enter without explicit permission. While the US government typically doesn’t bar citizens from travelling, it does regularly publish travel advisories on unsafe or unstable nations.

Can anyone get a US passport? 

Only US citizens (either by birth or naturalisation) and certain non-citizen US nationals. 

passport portfolio

Expand Your Passport Portfolio

The US passport is a powerful document if you want to travel without restrictions but the freedoms associated with the US citizenship it confers are beginning to diminish. Many citizens are now realising that the United States just isn’t the same nation it was even 20 years ago.

Rising taxes, high inflation, skyrocketing cost of living, costly and inadequate healthcare, along with crime are all factors that are currently driving many US citizens to look for an escape route.

It takes planning to get a second passport and ensure you have the ideal combination of location, lifestyle, tax planning and asset protection strategies to achieve your goals.

Renouncing US citizenship is a tried-and-tested means of reducing your taxes but, even by choosing to live overseas, you can still substantially lower them without renouncing.

Whatever you decide to do, it must be structured properly. You’ll need to incorporate the best solutions from all available options. That could mean moving to a zero-tax jurisdiction or establishing a base in Europe, or closer to home, and paying some tax. 

It’s what we call ‘going where you are treated best’ and it looks different for each of the 1500-plus high-net-worth people we’ve helped. Our global team of over 80 professionals and country-specific advisors leave no stone unturned when it comes to helping you win personal and financial freedom. 

So, if you’re a US citizen reviewing your options, take the first step towards your new life and find out how we do things here

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