If you’re a dedicated Top 20 subscriber, over the years you’ve probably seen that some international vacations or cruises require U.S. residents to get a visitor visa before arrival and others don’t require anything for entry from U.S. visitors.
When planning a trip, be sure to do your research on each country's specific requirements and fees (usually nominal) before booking so there are no surprises later. And for people going somewhere exotic, the State Department has created a visa wait times calculator to help tourists plan their trips.
As part of the Visa Waiver Program, there are currently 38 countries that allow qualifying U.S. residents to enter free of charge. Those countries are:
A note for cruisers: There’s no need to worry about securing visas for each port of call. If you partake in a shore excursion through the ship or a licensed operator, visa fees are typically waived. Should any stop require it, the cruise line will notify travelers upon booking.
Go to the State Department’s website for more information on visitor visas.