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30 Places Americans Can’t (or Shouldn't) Visit

Saudi Arabia

Not only is it nearly impossible to get a Saudi visa, once you have one, you still might not be able to step foot on their soil. If you are a woman, it is even more difficult. You will need a local sponsor who will meet you at the airport. Before you leave Saudi Arabia to come home, you will need the permission of both the sponsor and your husband.

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Cuba

There has been a recent shift in the relationship between the United States and Cuba. American travelers to Cuba must fall into one of the following categories: “people-to-people travel” or “travel for the transmission of informational materials.” Then, you have to get a visa through the Cuban government. While travel isn't expressly forbidden, it is a little trickier than just purchasing a plane ticket.

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Algeria

After you get a certificate of accommodation from the Algerian government, book a hotel room, and get your hands on a letter of invitation from a travel agency inside the country. Even then, it is still not likely that you will be approved. If you do make it over, kidnapping is incredibly high in the country.

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Iraq

There are many American citizens in Iraq, but you might not want to go through what they did to get there. The war efforts have made it even more difficult to get to the Middle East than it was before.

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Somalia

Because of the pirates, it can be pretty difficult to get to Somalia. To go, you need a sponsor and invitation letter.  It's no wonder why Somalia is the second-least visited country on the planet.

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Iran

Since there isn’t an Iranian Embassy in the United States, you’ll have to use the Pakistani Embassy in Washington. From there, you will only be able to visit the country in a guided group tour. If you have been to Israel before, then they probably won’t let you get a travel visa due to political tensions.

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Syria

When you are taking your religious journey, you will have to skip this section of the Holy Land. Getting a visa from Syria has no definite time frame, so it could take years if they do accept your application. You will already need to have purchased your plane ticket, even though you won’t know whether or not you will be able to actually use it.

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Afghanistan

Once again, you can come here, but only if you enlist in the military. Whether or not you make it to Afghanistan depends entirely on your priorities.

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Angola

Before knowing whether or not you will be able to go to Angola, you will need a $450 letter of invitation, an Algerian visa, an airline ticket, and a hotel room booked. This in no way guarantees that you will get into the country, though.

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North Korea

It actually is possible to visit North Korea, but only technically. You aren’t likely to be admitted, but if you are, you have to buy a package tour. This means that you have to book all of your meals before your trip. Like some of the others on this list, there is no North Korean Embassy in the States, so your visa would have to go through another country.

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Russia

While there's nothing outright blocking Americans from visiting Russia, the country makes things as hard as possible for visitors from the USA. Because Russian tourism is growing, you can expect long waits for visa approvals. And, Americans must answer an invasive 40-question form as part of the approval process--unlike the rest of the world, who only has to answer 21 questions. 

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India

India is not a particularly difficult country to visit, but it will take some planning. Depending on the nature of your visit, obtaining a visa can take months at a time. Additionally, rising violence in the country and neighboring countries means you should stay alert if you visit. 

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Nauru

Nauru is a small island in Micronesia that many Americans probably haven't heart of, but if you want to visit, you're going to have to jump through a lot of hoops. You've got to have your visa sorted out before you arrive, and you'll also need proof of a hotel booking or other lodging arrangements.

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Turkmenistan

You're not getting into Turkmenistan without an invite, which means you first need to secure an official one from the government. On top of that, you'll have to obtain a visa as well, and those have been known to be rejected even when applicants had all of their ducks in a row. 

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Bhutan

Bhutan is a country that has no diplomatic ties with the United States, which already makes it more difficult than most places for Americans to enter. However, visiting the country also involves paying high tariffs, which is more than enough to scare a lot of potential visitors away. 

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Libya

Americans can visit Libya, but the government strongly advises against it. Because of violence in the region, the US Embassy closed shop in 2014 and hasn't reopened. And when it comes to visas, you're on your own again--the government can't help you obtain one. 

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Yemen

The US State Department says that Yemen has a “high security threat level posed by ongoing conflict and terrorist activities” Additionally, the embassy has stopped issuing visas for the country, which makes it completely unavailable for visiting by legal means. 

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Eritrea

No one, American or otherwise is getting in the small African country of Eritrea without some serious effort--they prevent all foreigners from entering, even for tourism. Additionally, the US has no embassy in or diplomatic ties with the country, which means you're on your own if you find yourself in trouble there. 

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Burundi

Political violence in the region is the number one reason that the State Department doesn't recommend visiting Burundi any time soon. And considering the country's history of human rights violations, it's probably best to just stay away. 

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Honduras

Honduras as a whole can be a dangerous place to visit--with the State Department warning of thing like gang activity and drug trafficking. However, the Gracias a Dios region is considered particularly dangerous. Because of its remote location, it can be difficult for the government to find and help citizens in need. 

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Chad

Ongoing violence in Chad and its surrounding neighbors has led the State Department to strongly caution anyone visiting the African country. In addition to the violence warnings, they also note that there are many undetonated mines in the region. 

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Nicaragua

In addition to the frequent violence in the region, officials have other reasons for warning Americans about visiting Nicaragua. There are also reports of civilians posing as police officers and blocking roads and resources from reaching their intended destinations. 

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Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is frequently the site of armed conflict and kidnapping, making it a dangerous place for a person of any country to visit. Additionally, a resurgence of the Ebola virus in the region since 2018 makes visiting a health hazard as well. 

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Lebanon

Lebanon is probably the worst location of the world when it comes to violent conflict--Syria sits to its east, while Israel is just south of the country. Travel here should be avoided if at all possible. 

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Pakistan

Because of large-scale terrorist attacks in the country, the State Department strongly encourages Americans to avoid Pakistan. Additionally, the US consulate in Pakistan is unable to provide any services to American citizens at this time. 

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Turkey

The State Department currently warns of the possibility of both terrorism and arbitrary detention in Turkey.  So if you manage to avoid an attack, there's always the chance that you'll be unjustly accused of helping orchestrate that attack. Additionally, criticism of the Turkish government on social media can get you arrested there. 

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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka may have breathtaking views, but it's also a region plagued by terrorism. It's so bad there that the government ordered the departure of all school-aged US citizens and their families from the country in 2019. 

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Sudan

You can technically get into Sudan, but you're likely to encounter lots of delays by police and/or terrorist activities. If you want to leave the capital city of Khartoum you'll need to obtain an additional permit on top of your visa. 

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Central African Republic

The United States, as well as most other Western countries, highly discourage travel to the Central African Republic. An internal religious civil war and violence from neighboring countries makes this an extremely dangerous place to visit. 

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Niger

In addition to violence within the country itself, visitors to Niger should also be aware of violent conflict in the surrounding countries as well. The United States is only able to provide very limited emergency services for citizens visiting the area. 

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