The American passport is one of the world's most powerful passports and is very similar in mobility it provides to the European, Canada, New Zealand, and Australian passports. With an American passport, most (but not all) countries in the world are open to visa free travel (or with an eVisa or Visa on Arrival).

Southeast Asia is made up of many countries and each have their own visa policy. One should always check before flying what the visa requirements are. With the American passport, one can also travel visa free to almost all of Europe as well as Central and South America.


Do I Need A Visa For Southeast Asian Countries With American Passport?

Southeast Asia is make of 11 different countries and each has their own visa policy. Generally Americans do not require visas to visit Southeast Asian countries, but there are exceptions where Americans need to apply for an eVisa or pay for a Visa on Arrival. These are normally very cheap and easy to get.

  • Vietnam: eVisa Required - One Exception is The Resort Island Of Phu Quoc - That Is Visa Free For All (Also Some European Passports Can Enter Vietnam Visa Free For 15 Days)
  • Cambodia: eVisa/Visa On Arrival: 30 Days (One Can Also Apply Online)
  • Laos: eVisa/Visa On Arrival 30 Days
  • Malaysia: Visa Free 3 Months (Be Careful Not To Overstay In Malaysia)
  • Singapore: Visa Free 90 Days
  • Indonesia: Visa Free 30 Days
  • Bali: Part Of Indonesia, Visa Free 30 Days - Can Be Extended Once To Total Of 60 Days And then Visitors Must Leave The Country
  • The Philippines: Visa Free 30 Days - Can Be Extended
  • Myanmar (Burma): eVisa 28 - There Are Travel Warnings In Place For Myanmar, Check With the US Department of State Before Going
  • Timor-Leste (East Timor): Visa On Arrival 30 Days - Must Arrive By Air
  • Brunei: Visa Free 90 Days
  • Thailand: Visa Free 30 Days

Related: Why Are There More Passports & Immigrations Than Countries?

Entering Thailand With An American Passport

Thailand is visa free for American passport holders and for 63 other countries and territories (including all European Union countries, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and others.

People from these countries are generally permitted to stay for 30 days without a visa (90 days for South Koreans) and are only allowed a maximum of two visits annually if not arriving by air. In the past, Thailand has sought to crackdown on visa runs. Thailand is a popular place for Western backpackers and many would just go across a border and come back in the same day.

  • Visa Free: 30 Days
  • Tip: Apply For A Visa To Stay Longer
  • Caution: Thailand Has Cracked Down On Visa Runs Before

If one would like to stay in Thailand for longer than 30 days and extend the visa, then plan ahead. If one only has the visa free stamp from the airport, then one can only extend the visa for a maximum of 7 days only. It costs 1900 baht ($60).

However, if one applies for a 60-day visa from an embassy or consulate in one's home country or another country - then that can be extended for another 30 days. If it is a multiple entry eVisa one may be able to extend it in multiples of 60 days.

Fortunately, visa extensions on a Thai Tourist Visa are usually very straight forward. On just needs to go into the Thai Immigration Office and fill in a TM. 7 visa extension form, and pay the fee of 1900 Thai baht.

Related: Guide To Traveling In South America With An American Passport

Some Things To Know About Visiting Southeast Asia

Plan In Advance If Planning To Stay Longer

In some cases (like the Philippines) it is very easy to extend the visa - sometimes for a very long period of time (like a year and a half). In other countries, if one enters visa free, one may not be able to extend it. If one plans to stay for longer, do some planning, it may be better to apply for a visa even if the country is visa free. Applying and paying for a visa sometimes gives longer visas and ones that can be extended.

The Port Of Entry Matters

Also entering countries visa free is often only possible at certain border crossings. One should check the policy of the country to see where one can enter (one can always enter through the main airports). The type of visa one can get can also vary by port of entry. If one flies into Hanoi one can get a 3-month visa, but fly into Phu Quoc and one will only get a one-month visa.