A US passport is one of the most respected passports, ranking 4th in the world according to VisaIndex. But which African countries can you visit as a US citizen without applying for a visa?
Here are the visa free African countries for a US passport and the African countries where you can get a visa on arrival. The list is in alphabetical order.
1. Botswana – Maximum stay of 3 months
A passport that is valid for at least 6 months is required. If you hold a temporary travel document a visa is required. A visa cannot be obtained after arrival.
2. Comoros Islands – Visa on arrival
A return or onward ticket is required. Visa fees are $60 for 45 days, $250 for 1 year and $500 for 10 years.
3. Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) – Maximum stay of 90 days
A passport that is valid for at least 6 months is required. A visa on arrival may be needed as Cote d’Ivoire has just switched to a new system. It is best to contact the Cote d’Ivoire embassy prior to travel.
4. Djibouti – Visa on arrival – Maximum stay is 1 month
A visa can be obtained on arrival for $90, but it is not guaranteed. So it is wise to get your visa before you travel there.
5. Egypt – Visa on arrival – Maximum stay of 30 days
The visa on arrival fee is $25. A multiple entry visa is $35. Immigration officials are known to have refused entry to travelers without explanation when they do not hold a visa. So it is advisable to obtain a visa before traveling to Egypt.
6. Equatorial Guinea – 90 days
A visa is not required, but on arrival you might need to fill out a visa application form so bring passport photos. You also might have to provide proof that you can finance your visit. In reality this rarely happens to US visitors, though it is quite common to be asked for vaccination proof.
7. Lesotho – Maximum stay of 180 days
A passport that is valid for at least 3 months is required. Bring your international vaccination cards (mostly yellow fever).
8. Malawi – Visa on arrival – Maximum stay of 3 months
The fee for a single entry visa on arrival is $75. The visa is valid for 3 months. All foreign currency must be declared on arrival. You are only allowed to leave with more foreign currency if you have approval of a bank. Activities that fall outside your tourist visa (i.e. business or volunteering) can and have led to deportation of US citizens.
9. Mauritius – Maximum stay of 6 months
A passport that is valid for at least 6 months is required.
10. Morocco – Maximum stay of 90 days
A valid passport with at least one blank page is required. If you stay beyond the 90 visa-free days you will be ordered to appear before a judge before you can leave Morocco. Usually this will result in a fine, but make sure to contact the US embassy regardless.
11. Namibia – Maximum stay of 3 months
A passport that is valid for at least 6 months is required. Make sure the visa stamp is correctly dated for your visit. Otherwise you might be arrested and/or fined if your stamp date was incorrect or missing.
12. Rwanda – Visa on arrival – Maximum stay is 30 days
A passport that is valid for at least 6 months is required. A visa can be bought on arrival for $30. If you plan to stay for more than 30 days you must apply for a permit within 15 days through the Immigration Office. Volunteer work, internships and business work is strictly prohibited when you are visiting with a tourist visa. You may be deported or heavily fined if you are found to be breaking the rules.
13. Senegal – Maximum stay of 3 months
A valid passport with at least one blank page is required.
14. Seychelles – Visa not required – Maximum stay is 1 month
Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. You need to provide proof of an onward/return ticket and sufficient funds for the duration of your stay. You will also need a confirmation of accommodation or an invitation letter when you are staying with friends/family.
15. South Africa – Maximum stay of 90 days
You need a passport that is valid for at least 30 days and has two blank pages. Entry/exit requirements and immigration is strictly enforced in South Africa. Breaking the rules can result in being denied entry, being detained, deported or even banned from South Africa.
16. Swaziland – Maximum stay of 30 days
You need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months and has at least two blank pages. If you travel through South Africa you will need an additional 2 blank pages in their passport.
17. Tanzania – Visa on arrival
You need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months and has at least one blank page. You must present a round-trip ticket and show that you have sufficient funds for your stay. Volunteering on a tourist visa is strictly prohibited (even when you pay for the opportunity!). It is recommended to obtain your visa before departure even though you can obtain a visa on arrival.
18. Togo – Visa on arrival – Maximum stay of 7 days
A valid passport is required. The visa fee is $30 for 7 days. The visa can be extended during the 7 days for free, but you will need to leave your passport for several days.
19. Tunisia – Maximum stay of 90 days
A valid passport with at least one blank page is required. Export of Tunisian currency is prohibited.
20. Zambia – Visa on arrival – Maximum stay of 90 days
A passport that is valid for at least 6 months and with 2 or more blank pages is required. Business travelers or volunteers must travel on a business visa. You will be fined, incarcerated and deported when caught using a tourist visa.
21. Zimbabwe – Visa on arrival – Maximum stay is 3 months
A valid passport (6 months+ is recommended) with 2+ blank pages is required. A single entry 30 day visa is around $30 and a 60 day multi-entry visa is around $60. These can be extended by the Immigration Office. Because of the shortage of cash you will need to bring sufficient cash for the entire duration of your trip. Expenses that can be prepaid (like flights, hotels, tours) should be paid by credit or debit card. Contact your embassy or the Zimbabwean authorities in advance to make sure the rules have not changed.
The information in this article is based on info provided by the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs. For the most up-to-date information you should consult their site (here) and contact the appropriate embassies.