Summer is the perfect season to travel, when everything is brighter and energetic. With the kids out of school and work slowing down at the office, it’s the season to roam around European capitals like Paris, London, and Rome, or to relax on the blue shores of Bora Bora, Caribbean islands, and Maldives.
Whether you are on a solo trip or planning a family vacation, you’ll need to check whether a visa is required before you head abroad. Let’s have a look at the most popular travel locations around the world and their visa requirements for US travelers.
#1. Cancun, Mexico
The former Mayan trading city, Cancun has now become a 24/7 party spot for college students and nightlife lovers. However, that’s not all! History buffs can use Cancun as a base to explore the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum, and people looking to relax and unwind can enjoy Cancun’s many resorts. The low cost airfare, 14 miles of beaches along the transparent blue Caribbean sea, and the energetic carnival style nightlife, makes Cancun, Mexico the top summer travel destination for Americans.
Visas are not required, but travelers who will stay in Mexico for one week or more must purchase a tourist card on arrival for approximately $20.
#2. London, United Kingdom
London is one of the all time favorite destinations for US travelers. The historic city is home of many must visit attractions, including the Tower of London, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, West End theaters, the British Museum, the London Eye, and the list goes on! London is also the gateway to Europe and an ideal spot to spend a day or two while in transit to the Continent.
The United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) allows US citizens to enter the country without a visa for tourist, business, or social visits of less than 90 days. However, if one is visiting for charity work or planning to getting married in Great Britain, a visa is mandatory prior to travel.
#3. Paris, France
The City of Light remains a favorite destination for travelers of all ages. As a world capital of art and fashion, this city has stunning architecture, world famous art museums, incredible shopping, and some of the best restaurants in the world – everything a traveler desires! The web of romantic cobblestone streets, river bridges, and the cafe culture also make this place an iconic tourist destination.
US citizens visiting France for tourism, business, or as flight crew can stay for up to 90 days without a visa.
#4. Rome, Italy
The beautiful capital of Italy blends an ancient and glorious history with a vibrant modern culture, and is one of the most popular travel destinations for US travelers. The birthplace of the greatest empire in history, Rome displays nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture, and culture. The most popular must visit attractions in Rome, include the stone amphitheater of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Vatican City.
US citizens only need a valid passport to visit the country for 90 days, however, the passport should be valid for at least 6 months past the end of the trip and should contain 2 blank pages marked “Visas”.
#5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Who doesn’t know about Rio, one of the Modern Seven Wonders of the world? This city of samba, soccer, and sandy beaches is a dream destination for many travelers.
The upcoming host of the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro is the first choice of sports lovers to visit this August. During the games and beyond, the gorgeous beaches, gardens, and the cable car rides to Mt. Corcovado remain the top attractions of the city.
Brazil requires that US citizens must obtain a visa well in advance of the journey from one of the 10 Brazilian consulates in the United States. The processing time to acquire a visa for Brazil can be very lengthy, so it is advised to apply for a visa way before your journey or apply for expedited visa. Once issued, the Brazil tourist or business visit visa will be valid for multiple entries over a 10 year period. You can continue to use your valid Brazil visa even after the passport it is in has expired!
However, for this summer, visa requirements for Brazil have been temporarily changed. In honor of the Olympic Games, the Brazilian Government has announced a Temporary Tourist Visa Waiver for summer 2016. Between June 1 and September 18, 2016, US citizens can visit Brazil for tourism without a visa! The visa waiver is also granted to citizens of Australia, Canada, and Japan. If you will enter Brazil after September 18, though, you will need to have a valid visa.
#6. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Bora Bora, the beautiful island of French Polynesia, was recently awarded the title of “the best island in the world” by U.S. News. If you are looking for an escape to a tropical paradise, this is the place for you. Also known as the Pearl of Pacific, this island brings you close to nature with its unspoiled lagoons, dormant volcanoes, and lush tropical vegetation. For the ultimate experience, book one of the luxurious hut-style bungalows built on piers out over the Pacific Ocean!
US citizens only need a valid passport to visit the country. US citizens can stay for up to 90 days in a six month period without a visa. However, the passport should be valid for at least 3 months past the end of the trip and should contain one blank page marked “Visas”. If the purpose of your trip is work, scientific research, etc., then a visa is required before your departure for French Polynesia. Visas are issued through the Embassy of France, as Bora Bora is an overseas department of France.
Note: You must have a non-refundable return ticket, on arrival to French Polynesia.
No matter where you are headed this summer, you’ll need to make sure your passport is fully valid for travel! If your passport is close to expiring, low on blank visa pages, or in poor condition, check out our instructions on how to get an expedited new passport before your summer adventures.