The Most Common International Travel Visa Questions, Answered

With new requirements for Americans entering Europe, here's the scoop on visas all over the world.

As you continue to plan a trip abroad, one of the most important items on your to-do list (besides making sure your passport is valid!) should be whether or not you need a visa for your planned destination. With the newest updates about the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) revealing that Americans will need to apply for the visa starting in 2024, it's a good time to brush up on the visa requirements of your chosen vacation spot.

Here are some of the most common questions about visas (and answers) for 2023 and 2024 travel plans.

Do you need a visa for Europe?

For trips in 2023, Americans do not need to apply for visas. Starting in 2024, there will be a visa application along with an $8 fee. It is recommended that you apply for your visa roughly one month in advance of travel. Most applications will be processed and approved instantly—but that's not a guarantee.

You can’t apply for ETIAS right now, as the portal has not opened yet. The following countries will require ETIAS beginning next year:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland


It is expected that Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania will soon join the EU and then also require ETIAS.

Do you need a visa for Japan?

According to the US State Department, you need a passport that will be valid for the duration of your stay, but you do not need a visa.

Do you need a visa for Thailand?

You do not need a visa for stays for less than 30 days, but a passport that is valid six months from date of entry is recommended. You do need one blank page in your passport for a stamp.

Do you need a visa for Brazil?

You do not need a visa to visit Brazil. Your passport must be valid on the date of entry, and you'll need one blank page in your passport for a stamp.

Do you need a visa for Australia?

Yes you do need a visa for Australia. You either need a visa or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The ETA is a visa that allows you to visit Australia as often as you want in a 12-month period, and you can stay up to three months each time you enter. The application fee is $20 AUD, which is roughly $13 USD. The other Tourism Visa starts at $125 and lets you visit Australia as a tourist, to go on a cruise or to see family and friends. You can apply for either and get more information here.

Do you need a visa for Qatar?

Yes you need a visa for Qatar, and at least two blank pages of your passport. You can apply for the visa at Hayya.qa. There is also an app you can download to do the entire process electronically. You can learn more information about the process at VisitQatar.com. One of the requirements for the visa is the purchasing of medical insurance for your visit.

When should you apply for a travel visa?

Depending on where you are going, processing times and requirements will vary. It is always a safe bet to check the US State Department page for your destination as soon as you decide on where you are going. Some visa applications will require information about your hotel and flight, so you should plan on booking hotel and flights and then applying for your visa on the same day to reduce the likelihood of experiencing any delays. You can visit the State Department's International Travel page for the latest updates and additional details.

Looking for more travel tips?

Whether you need help sneaking weed onto a plane, finding an airport where you can sign up for PreCheck without an appointment, or making sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to when your flight is canceled, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for up-to-date travel hacks and all the travel news you need to help you plan your next big adventure.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.