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Hardest Countries to get a Visa from

Hardest Countries to get a Visa from

As part of the ongoing “Getting Residency In” collection of articles, I have detailed a number of countries that have an easy going and relaxed immigration system. Some are stricter than others, but for the most part there is nothing to concrete stopping the process. In this post, we’ll look at the other side of the coin – the hardest countries to get a visa from.

Sure Australia might have a difficult test, and Brazil might have a long waiting period, but there is nothing that prevents you as an American to obtain a visa from these countries. Just your time, money, and will. You need to be prepared when dealing with one of the the hardest countries to get a visa from.

Editor’s Note: If you don’t have the patience for one of these the hardest countries to get a visa from, then look to Panama. Here, you simply invest $22,000 in their Friendly Nations Reforestation Visa program and you get residency.

Now  days, as an American, you can obtain a visa or a second passport from pretty much any country around the world. This is not the case with every country, not everyone gets the treatments that Americans get in this matter. Just keep in mind that some allow lower income people but most are looking for high net worth investors. So, if you have the cash, you can get in anywhere.

Just look at the Henley Passport Index and you will see the disparity that mostly developed countries have over others. To put it into context as an American you can enter visa free to 186 countries, while Chinese citizens can only travel visa free to 74 destinations. We always value a passport by the number of countries it gives you visa free access too.

Here are some countries with the hardest visas to obtain:


Visa applications in China have become stricter in the past few years. Embassies have denied visas to travelers who don’t have all of the required documents. Among the obvious required documents to fly into the country you also have to provide the hotels that you are staying in, and a detailed itinerary if you are traveling to Western China.



If you think it is hard to obtain a visa from China, then try to visit Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is extremely picky about which Western travelers travel to the country. For starters, they usually do not allow non-Muslims to enter. Even if you do get a travel visa to Saudi Arabia your wallet will suffer as prices in Saudi Arabia have skyrocketed in the past years.



This one is a no brainer, but we had to add it to this list. North Korea is famous for many things and one of them is how it restricts from the outside world, so naturally you can’t just walk into North Korea. The only way to travel to North Korea is to secure a Chinese travel company who is going that way, and cross the border walking. The bad news for Americans is that they will not be allowed into the country. I do not recommend entering North Korea illegally as it is dangerous.



Russia requires anyone who applies for a visa to their country to do so in person. You will have to get your fingerprints scanned, and have your photographs taken, plus all of the information about what you will be doing in the country. A travel agency can’t help you with this, you will have to go to an embassy or consulate to complete these tasks. You also have to obtain a letter of invitation from a Russian citizen.



It is fairly easy to travel to Iran if you are not from the United States, but for Americans it is quite hard to enter the country. Americans are not given a visa on arrival like most countries, they instead have to apply for a visa coda at an Iranian embassy and wait for its arrival. This can take months, if you are lucky enough to have received one.



Like Russia and many other former Soviet countries you have to get an invitation letter to travel to Uzbekistan. You also have to present your itinerary and your reason of visit before the Ministry of Internal Affairs, this of course if your stay is for more than 3 days.



There is a ton of paperwork involved if you want to travel to Nigeria. You need to provide a bank statement and a letter saying that you are employed, then you will have to make 3 separate payments.



You can only travel to Turkmenistan if you are traveling with an approved tour or have hired your own personal tour guide and booked all of your hotels in advanced. An invitation letter is also to enter the country.

I hope you’ve found this article on The Hardest Visas to Get, to be helpful. For more information, or for assistance with residency or a second passport, please contact us HERE.

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