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El Salvador Travel Requirements

U.S. citizens must have a passport to enter El Salvador, along with a Salvadoran visa or a single-entry tourist card. Tourists cards are available from immigration officials at air or sea entry ports at the cost of USD $12.

Multiple-entry visas are available free-of-charge from the Embassy of El Salvador in Washington, DC or from a Salvadoran consulate in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Long Island, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, or San Francisco. Travelers may contact the Embassy of El Salvador at 1400 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036.

You may need proof of employment in the U.S. or evidence of financial capacity before receiving a Salvadoran visa. A departure tax must be paid when departing by air or sea, although airline fares regularly include the tax in the price of the ticket.

Travelers should be aware that El Salvador's entry requirements vary in accordance with agreements the country has with foreign governments. Citizens of several countries in addition to the United States may enter El Salvador with a current passport and either a visa or tourist card.

Citizens of many other countries, including many Latin American and western European nations, may enter with only a current passport. However, citizens of most nations are required to present both a current passport and a visa to enter El Salvador. Non-U.S. citizen travelers are advised to contact a Salvadoran embassy or consulate to determine the entry requirements applicable to them.

El Salvador is a part of the "Central America-4 (CA-4) Border Control Agreement" along with Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. This agreement allows both citizens of the countries and eligible foreign visitors to travel across land without additional visas or tourist entry permits, and without entry/exit formalities at immigration checkpoints.

U.S. citizens are eligible for this agreement. A maximum of 90 days will be awarded to visitors upon arrival, and foreign visitors who wish to stay longer need to apply for a one-time extension of stay or leave the area.

Local immigration authorities may grant stay extensions, and visitors who leave the CA-4 countries can apply for readmission to the region. If you are expelled from any country in the agreement you will not be permitted to enter any of the other three countries. Isolated incidents of confusion over the CA-4 details have led to delays, fines, and detention for a few travelers.

U.S. citizens may not board flights to the U.S. out of El Salvador international Airport unless they can present a valid U.S. passport. The U.S. Embassy in El Salvador cannot issue U.S. passports without photographic proof of identity and citizenship.

Non-emergency passports are printed in the United States, so citizens applying for passports in El Salvador may have to wait 10 business days for the passport to arrive.

Foreign visitors to El Salvador are subject to El Salvadoran law and their visa restrictions. They may not participate directly or indirectly in El Salvadoran politics, and run the risk of deportation if they do. Visit the Embassy of El Salvador web site for the most current visa information.

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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