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The easiest countries for US citizens to get a visa
9 min read
Updated on May 14, 2024

For US citizens looking to move or travel abroad with ease, several countries stand out due to their lenient visa requirements or programs specifically designed to attract Americans.

Here's a list of these destinations based on their visa processes, quality of life, and potential for permanent residency or citizenship.

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Visa-friendly destinations: Top picks for US citizens seeking easy entry

1. Mexico

Many Americans are drawn to Mexico for its affordable cost of living and cost-effective healthcare services, including dental care. Additionally, Mexico's geographical closeness to the United States simplifies maintaining connections with loved ones back home.

Mexico offers straightforward visa options for temporary or permanent residency​​; however, it's important to consider several factors before relocating.

Organizing essential documents is a must

To visit Mexico as a tourist, US citizens don't need a visa, but they do need:

  • Mexico Tourist Card: Also known as the Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM), a mandatory document for tourists entering Mexico via land, air, or sea. It serves as proof of a visitor's authorized entry into the country and indicates the permitted duration of their stay. Learn more about the FMM and how to apply with us here.

If you are looking to obtain a residency visa, for those intending to reside longer, Mexico offers a variety of residency visa choices for Americans, making it one of the simplest places to establish residency.

For acquiring Mexican residency as a US citizen, there are two main types of visas:

  • 1. Visa de Residente Temporal (Temporary Resident Visa): Ideal for those planning a short-term stay in Mexico for up to four years.

  • 2. Visa de Residente Permanente (Permanent Resident Visa): Suitable for individuals looking to make Mexico their long-term home, with the potential of eventually applying for Mexican citizenship.

We advise contacting your local Mexico Exterior Relations office and applying through official channels to obtain a residency visa.

2. Ecuador

Allows US citizens to enter visa-free for up to 90 days, with options for permanent relocation through investment or proving economic means​.

Relocating to Ecuador offers numerous advantages for US citizens, such as its affordable cost of living, proximity to the US, widespread use of English, and the US dollar. Additionally, the appealing climate makes Ecuador an enticing destination. For those considering a move, there are two straightforward pathways:

  • Initially, US citizens can enter Ecuador visa-free for a 90-day period with a valid passport.

To accompany your trip to Ecuador and help you make informed decisions about your travel plans, we provide the Ecuador Embassy Registration. Valid for one single trip.

  • If you intend to stay permanently, you must reside in Ecuador for 21 months under a temporary visa. The most common temporary visas for expatriates are the investor and retirement visas. To qualify for an investor visa, individuals typically purchase real estate or invest in a bank CD (a certificate of deposit is a type of savings account offered by banks and credit unions).

Conversely, for a retirement visa, applicants must demonstrate a consistent monthly income from either a pension or personal savings.

For more information on obtaining a permanent stay visa for Ecuador, contact the Government of Ecuador or the US Embassy and Consulate in Ecuador.

Ecuador is also featured in our blog about the easiest countries to get a visa in 2024.

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3. Portugal

Luckily, US citizens don't need a visa to travel to Portugal for short-term purposes and can enter for up to 90 days visa-free.

Portugal offers various paths to residency and citizenship, including the Golden Visa program for investors and the D7 visa for individuals with passive income​.

Over the past few years, Portugal has emerged as a top choice for American expatriates, drawn by its political stability, thriving economy, and excellent quality of life, while standing out as one of the most tolerant nations in Europe.

  • If you're a remote worker or highly skilled professional, you'll find Portugal appealing due to its various tax benefits for ex-pats, including the 10-year NHR program.

  • If you're financially independent, retired, working remotely, or considering investment through the Portugal Golden Visa program, it makes it particularly easy to relocate to. Find out more here.

  • Moving to Portugal also presents the opportunity for Americans to pursue Portuguese citizenship after 5 years, granting access to the benefits of EU citizenship.

Here's how Americans can obtain residency in Portugal:

  • Portugal Golden Visa: Ideal for passive investors, especially through the investment funds route.

  • Highly qualified activity visa: Suitable for investors with an entrepreneurial background.

  • D7 passive income visa: Tailored for retirees, landlords, and individuals with various passive income sources.

  • Portugal Digital Nomad Visa: Designed for salaried remote workers.

For more information on these visas, you can contact The Embassy of Portugal to the United States.


US citizens can visit Thailand as tourists for stays of up to 30 days without needing to apply for a visa in advance. For longer stays ranging up to 60 days, for business travelers, U.S. government employees traveling on official business, teachers, or retirees, a Thailand tourist visa is required. Contact the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington D.C. for more information.

Thailand boasts a relatively low cost of living compared to many other countries, is a growing tech hub, and has a tropical climate that ensures year-round warmth.

For those considering living in Thailand, the country provides various residence visa options catering to retirees and investors alike.

Here's how Americans can obtain residency in Thailand:

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5. Belize

Good news: US citizens do not need a visa to enter Belize for stays of up to 30 days. However, they must show intent to depart (such as an onward flight ticket) and proof of sufficient funds to cover their time in Belize.

This compact Central American country provides a relaxed lifestyle, breathtaking natural landscapes, and a welcoming attitude toward outsiders. Belize also stands out as one of the most cost-effective options in the region, making it an attractive destination for retirees or individuals seeking a second home.

Belize targets retirees with its QRP program, requiring a guaranteed income of $2,000 per month for residency eligibility​.

Belize also offers various other options, such as a Long Stay Permit for a period not exceeding 6 months, a temporary employment, or a student permit, depending on your needs. Find out more from Belize Immigration.

6. New Zealand

US citizens traveling to New Zealand for tourism or visiting family or friends can easily apply for an ETA. A multiple entry visa waiver valid for 2 years, not technically a visa but a valid entry permit.

New Zealand bursts with surreal natural beauty and a high quality of life while also being one of the safest countries in the world. Many expat families choose New Zealand due to the world-class education facilities and the lifestyle the country offers to families.

NZ also appeals to young people with its working holiday visa for those aged 18-30, offering a unique blend of work and travel opportunities despite a higher cost of living​. Go to the NZ immigration website for more information about the visa and how to apply.

7. Bali, Indonesia

  • For short visits of up to 30 days to Indonesia, US citizens can easily apply online for an Indonesia VOA (Visa On Arrival). With the VOA you can participate in tourism, government visits, attend business meetings, purchase goods, and transit through Indonesia.

  • For longer stays in the country, US citizens must apply for the appropriate visa from an Indonesian Embassy or Consulate before arrival. For more information check out the US government website.

  • Bali is highly favored by digital nomads for its relaxed lifestyle, affordable living costs, and easy-to-obtain "social visa," renewable for up to 6 months​.

  • You can also find out about all of the Indonesian visas available to US citizens according to their purpose of travel on the Indonesia Immigration website.

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8. Nicaragua

You don't need a visa to visit Nicaragua with a United States passport. You can visit the country for up to 90 days visa-free but must fill out a Tourist Card at the airport for $10 USD. Travelers should also have an onward or return ticket and evidence of funds to support themselves while in Nicaragua.  You must carry a valid identity document at all times, such as a U.S. driver’s license or U.S. passport. 

Find out more information on the US Government site.

Nicaragua also provides a fast track to permanent residency and citizenship through a $35,000 investment in the country's reforestation program, with a significant physical presence requirement​. Find out about all the visas available to you on the Nicaragua Immigration website.

9. Georgia

US citizens can enter, reside in, work, or study in Georgia for up to a generous 365 days visa-free.

If you're seeking a less-traveled destination, Georgia is certainly worth considering. Despite not being a member of the European Union, Georgia's convenient proximity to Europe and central location make it an ideal hub for various onward journeys.

Furthermore, Georgia offers one of the most accessible residency programs globally. Foreigners from numerous countries, including the US, can obtain a one-year temporary residence permit, allowing them to live, work, or conduct business in Georgia without restrictions.

Best of all, Georgia is super affordable. As an American expat, you can live comfortably on a modest budget. Here's how Americans can obtain residency in Georgia:

  • Temporary Residence Permit: Ideal for shorter stays of up to 12 months.

  • Work Residence Permit: Available for individuals with employment or business operations in Georgia.

  • Short-term Residence Permit: Designed for those investing in Georgia property. For further details on obtaining residency in Georgia, refer to this detailed expat hub page.

You can also contact the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the latest visa information.

Spain, Greece, Turkey, Malta, The Netherlands, Thailand, Georgia, and Canada are also highlighted as favorable destinations for Americans considering moving abroad, with various visa programs and incentives designed to attract tourists and expatriates​.

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A few extra special mentions

As our globetrotter, Michael Zervos, moves around the globe in search of breaking a world record; we luckily get first-hand reviews on every visa process he goes through. He already listed the hardest visas for US citizens to get, and he also helped us list a few of the easy ones as he finalizes his journey through Africa.

Cape Verde

As a US citizen, you can enter Cape Verde without a visa for up to 30 days, but you must complete the EASE (Efficient, Automatic & Safe Entry) entry form at least 5 days before your trip. Luckily, you can apply with us.

Michael stated, "The process was super easy; they were very welcoming, excited to have Americans, and simply stamped the visa into the passport and swiftly moved me through. One of the easiest visa processes up until now.”


For US passport holders, a visa is not required to enter Senegal for 90 days or less. A yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for all travelers, and meningitis vaccines are recommended, especially if you have previously visited endemic areas or countries.

“Security speaks English. They asked me what I was doing, where I was staying, and what my profession is, which is as easy as that,” says Michael regarding his recent trip.

Need more information?

Before making a move, it's essential to research and consider factors like entry requirements, the cost of living, healthcare, language barriers, and the overall expat community in your destination of choice. For all your visa and entry document needs, we are here to help via chat, or WhatsApp.

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