The Travel has put a fascinating list of twenty countries where it is exceptionally hard for Americans and other travelers to get a tourist visa. From authoritarian governments to extreme privacy policies to a simple lack of a tourism industry, here are a few of our favorite highlights from the list.
Thanks to a whole lot of oil, Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy country and one that has made some interesting changes over the last few years. Women are now allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and movie theaters were just allowed back into the country for the first time since 1983. Those are some big steps. But US relations with Saudi Arabia have obviously taken a major step backward in recent months. So if you were thinking of visiting Saudi Arabia to see the sights, now might not be the best time…
And besides, getting a tourist visa to Saudi Arabia is no easy matter. The country doesn’t need tourism to support its economy, which may be part of why it’s so hard to get in. You also shouldn’t expect to be welcomed into this country if you have stamps from Israel in your passport.
Both the US and the UK did more than their fair share of meddling in Angola when the African nation was establishing its independence in the 1970s. As a result, the country has a strong distrust of outsiders, making it quite hard to obtain a tourist visa. Angola is also a country rich in diamond mines, and evidently some inside the country worry that outsiders only come in to try to steal diamonds. (At least that’s what The Travel seems to think.)
Evidently, if you want to visit Bhutan — a country with gorgeous mountains and remote monasteries — you’ll need to pre-book and prepay for your entire trip before the country will give you a Bhutan visa. And beyond that, you need to book your travel through a travel agent in Bhutan and pay for everything in advance via a money order. Travel here isn’t exactly cheap, so be sure to spring for some travel insurance in case something goes awry with your visa!
The thing about getting a visa to Pakistan is that there seems to be little consistency in the state’s visa policy. Evidently, who you talk to has as much influence over whether you will be approved as anything else. When planning a trip to Pakistan, make sure to get visas in order for everyone in your party before making too many other arrangements.
Wherever you’re planning to go, we can help you get there. Contact the Swift team anytime of the day or night to learn more about expedited visas and passport applications to get you across the world and back again with as little cost and stress as possible.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.