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Should I Get a Visa on Arrival?

San Blas Island
Waiting to Get Entry Visa by Paha_L on DepositPhotos

Many countries around the world allow U.S. travelers to visit for a limited stay visa-free by just presenting a valid passport. Some countries insist you obtain a visa from their embassy before traveling to their country. These nine destinations meet you in the middle by offering visas on arrival, which means you can show up at their port of entry and they’ll issue a travel visa to you on the spot. As you will begin to see, just because a country offers VOA, doesn’t mean they will make it easy for you to visit. Each of these VOA destinations has its own set of rules.


You can apply online for a 14-day eVisa that is valid for 30 days. The Bahraini government prefers you choose this option; eVisas are usually available. You can also just show up at the border for a VOA, but Bahrain has refused to allow some U.S. citizens to enter, so it is a risk. Visa in hand or VOA, prepare to be grilled upon entry. A 14-day tourist VOA is around $14USD. You must have a passport with six months’ validity and an onward or return ticket. U.S. citizens do not have to declare their HIV status when applying for a visa, but will be deported if discovered to be HIV positive.


U.S. travelers to Comoros need a valid passport, an onward or return ticket, and a visa to visit. Visas can be obtained at the Comoran Mission to the U.N. in New York in advance of travel. Visas on arrival cost U.S. citizens around $82USD. Getting a VOA is a viable, low-risk option.

Cote d’Ivoire

You must have a U.S. passport that is valid for six months beyond your visit, a visa, an onward or return ticket, and a health certificate verifying that you have had a yellow fever immunization, to visit the Ivory Coast. Visas on arrival are now available at the airport, but you must request yours online before you arrive. You can do that at The cost to get a VOA at the airport is around $95USD; you save almost $30USD getting one from the embassy ahead of time.


U.S. travelers arriving by air in Egypt are required to present a valid passport, visa, and proof of onward or return travel when entering Egypt. You can purchase a visa on arrival at the airport for $25USD. The tourist visa is for 30 days and is renewable. A multiple-entry visa, also available at Egyptian ports of entry is $35USD. U.S. tourists arriving at a land border should get a visa before traveling to Egypt. Travelers arriving from Israel at the Taba border crossing will receive a no-fee 14-day visa that can only be used for the Sinai Peninsula. To purchase a $25 30-day tourist visa, you would need a travel agency support letter. That service is also available at the border for a fee. The Rafah border crossing with Gaza is often closed and visa requests require prior special permission.


U.S. non-dual nationals must present a valid passport, an onward or return ticket, and proof of sufficient funds for travel, to obtain a VOA. Travelers are issued a no-fee 90-day tourist visa in the form of a tourist card, rather than a stamp in their passport book. You must keep the card with you during your visit to Israel, because it is your only proof that you are there legally. All U.S. citizens should expect intense security screening, physical searches, and possible confiscation of electronics or insistence that you login to e-mail and social media accounts for inspections. You may be denied entry without reason.

Israeli-Americans must enter and exit with their Israeli passports. If they don’t have an Israeli passport, they may be required to get one in order to leave the country. Palestinian-Americans arriving by air will likely be returned to the U.S. They are treated as residents of Gaza and the West Bank regardless of U.S. citizenship, and can only enter with a PA ID at the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan.


You are required to have a passport with at least six month’s validity and a visa to enter Jordan. Visas on arrival are available to U.S. citizens at most international ports of entry for around $56USD. The single-entry tourist visa is issued for 30 days. You can purchase a 90-day two-entry visa for $85USD, or 180-day, multiple entry visa for $170USD. You cannot get a VOA at the Allenby Bridge border crossing. Travelers known to have HIV may be denied entry.


U.S. tourists must present a passport with six month’s validity from the date of entry and at least three blank visa pages, a visa, and valid certification of yellow fever vaccination to enter Mozambique. Sometimes U.S. citizens are allowed to obtain single-entry visas on arrival for $82USD, other times they are denied entry if they don’t possess advanced visas. Travelers who cannot present proof of vaccination against yellow fever will be required to get the vaccination at the port of entry for $50USD.


For entry to Oman, U.S. travelers need a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months from the date of entry and a visa; proof of onward or return ticked and adequate funds for travel are not required, but strongly encouraged. You may obtain a 10-day VOA at any port of entry, air, land, or sea, for about $13USD, or a 30-day VOA for around $52USD. You may obtain an additional 30-day extension for another $52USD. Yellow fever immunizations are only required if you are traveling from an infected area. You can obtain a visa prior to visiting Oman from an Omani embassy for multiple entries, valid up to two years. Omani immigration determines the length of stay at the port of entry based on purpose.


U.S. travelers need a passport valid for their length of stay, proof of onward or return travel, proof of adequate funds, and proof of accommodation to enter Seychelles. A no-fee 30-day visa on arrival is issued once the documentation is presented. It may be renewed up to three months at a time for a total of 12 months. After the initial no-fee 30-day visa, subsequent visas carry fees. Yellow fever vaccinations are only required if you’ve visited an infected area within six days prior to entry.

Overall, it may be better to plan ahead and obtain your travel visa to these countries before you leave. Destinations like Comoros, Jordan, Oman and the Seychelles are the best destinations for just showing up and feeling secure that you will get a visa on arrival, because you are pretty much guaranteed entry with a little documentation. The Ivory Coast will issue a VOA if you request it online first, Egypt issues visas on arrival as long as long as you aren’t coming from Israel. Bahrain, Israel, and Mozambique are unpredictable at their ports of entry, so you should probably get those visas from their embassies or through a reliable expedited visa courier service before you go.

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