Top 10 Countries with the Hardest Visas to Get in the World

If you are planning a trip for vacation, business, education, or other purposes, before you bungle the whole thing, we recommend you become familiar with countries with the hardest visas to get in the world.

If you are a regular traveller, we might be preaching to the choir by telling you that it is always important to check the visa entry requirements of your intended destination before travelling. However, if you are not a frequent traveller or are even going on a trip to a foreign country for the first time, we are here to let you know that this — checking the visa entry requirements — is an essential and non-negotiable step.

It is a must-do activity in planning for your next adventure. Failure to do so, you might find yourself in a snafu at the border crossing.

There are countries aplenty in the world that let you waltz through their border control without bothering you with cumbersome paperwork or excessive questioning. But the same assertion can’t be made of other countries, on which today’s post is centred on.

World’s Hardest Countries to Get a Visa

When discussing a hard country to visit, a number of factors are taken into consideration; let’s intimate you with some of them:

The visa situation: If the visa application process of a country is fraught with lengthy paperwork and pesky interviews, this can be a showstopper for some persons.

Your passport: As you may be aware, some passports are more powerful in comparison with others. Among the countries with the world’s strongest passports are Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Germany, Finland, and many others.

Your budget: This is a no-brainer. If you don’t have sufficient funds, you might have to shelve your adventure plans for many countries for the meantime.

Security: Unless you are on official assignment as security personnel, no one really enthuses about travelling to a country, where there is a war, conflict or terror attack.  

Let’s cut to the chase and explore the top 10 countries with the hardest visas in the world:

North Korea

It could be difficult denying the appeal of the notoriously veiled North Korea. Expectedly, travellers who are curious about things going on around the world would like to learn more about this fascinating nation.

Hardest visas in the world; North Korea

Unfortunately, it is not so easy to get into North Korea. The only means to do so is via an organized tour crossing from neighbouring China. Do note that while you are on these tours, there should be limited interactions with locals, and there are strict rules that have to be adhered to.

Furthermore, you mustn’t think about or try speaking ill about their leader. It also not allowed by law to smuggle your way into North Korea using a secret channel, and this is highly precarious.  

Travel independently is equally a big NO. Apart from this, the US and UK citizens could find it harder to obtain entry. Finally, these entry requirements are subject to change, so ensure that you check with your local embassy before embarking on the trip.


Are you surprised to discover a trip to China requires this sort of lengthy visa process? Many people are, too. Though several passport holders are allowed to travel to China visa-free for a 72-hour period, to stay longer in this country, a proper visa is needed.

Countries with the hardest visas - China

Obtaining this can be unbelievably tedious.

You are only allowed to apply for a visa in your country of citizenship or residence. To submit your application, you have to schedule a face-to-face appointment.

Ensure that you prepare adequately for it because you will have to gather a long list of documents for the application. Such documents include a flight itinerary or hotel vouchers that serve as evidence that your intentions suit your travel schedule and plans.

If you intend staying longer than thirty (30) days, you are also required to present a daily itinerary. Do bear in mind that the visa processing time can last a while. For this reason, consider applying at least 2 or 3 months before your trip. 


Even if you hold one of the most powerful passports in the world, meeting Russian visa requirements won’t be an easy feat. This country does not issue visa-free travel quite easily, and the visa application process itself is surprisingly long.

Countries with the hardest visas - Russia

You should get ready to provide the starting and finishing dates for each trip you embarked on in the last decade.

(But that is only the beginning.)

To apply for a Russian visa, you have to do so in person. You must have your fingerprints scanned and get your picture taken. You can use the visa processing centre closest to your location.

You also have to ensure you fill the online form without making any mistakes so as to avoid a rejected application. Immediately you get your visa from the consulate, consider cross-checking all your details on it to verify that the dates match your travel plans.

Saudi Arabia

In spite of Saudi’s modern cities, sparkling beaches, and remarkable shopping experiences, the country still has incredibly strict rules pertaining to its visa entry processes.

Saudi Arabia

For instance, women that are travelling solo have to get a sponsor to meet them upon arrival, and this sponsor must hold their passport during their stay in Saudi Arabia.

It is expected for couples that are travelling together to be married because applications might be rejected without a sponsor or a marriage certificate.

Also, if there is an Israeli stamp on your passport, your application for visa could be denied. So long you adhere to these rules, the visa application process may not be such an onerous task. 


This is among the most exciting and most coveted destinations tourists love visiting.


The first carbon-negative country in the world, Bhutan, values its national happiness index more than any other thing. So, it is not unexpected that taking a trip to this nation would not be as easy as it’s for its neighbouring countries.

The only means out of this conundrum is via an all-inclusive package, which is booked with the help of a Bhutanese travel agent.


To travel to Pakistan, the first thing note is that you have to find a sponsor to qualify for a visa to enter this country. Though the sponsor could be someone you know in Pakistan, it can also be a tour company.

Countries with the hardest visas - Pakistan

This is good news for travellers that intend to explore with a group tour.

Your sponsor is required to supply an official invitation letter that explains their relationship with you as well as the purpose of travel. Apart from this, you are also required to provide copies of all your ID, proof of travel arrangements as well as a completed visa application.


The Afghan capital city, Kabul, is a war zone. Other than this, you need to know someone there if you are planning a visit to the country.


It is recommended that you visit the Bamiyan province. It is the touristy part of Pakistan, which receives a multitude of local tourists every year. You can get a domestic flight to Bamiyan from Kabul where you simply transit.


Though Nigeria is a culturally-rich West African nation that has a lot to offer travellers; however, the cumbersome paperwork before they can be issued a visa could be a turn-off.

Lagos, Nigeria - Hardest visas


To apply for a tourist visa, you will be required to get a letter of invitation from your host, a valid return airline ticket, a confirmed hotel reservation, proof of funds to cater for your stay in the country, in addition to evidence of legal residency.


Though several visa applications need an invitation letter, Turkmenistan requires a further step. Travellers have to obtain an invitation to apply for a visa!


Though the visa application process is not particularly demanding beyond that, you will still have to contend with strict rules once you get to Turkmenistan.

On arrival, you must fill an immigration card. Also, within three days of the arrival, you have to complete your registration with the Turkmenistan State Service for the Registration of Foreign Nationals.


The visa application process for Iran could be confusing. Travellers from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Bolivia, Syria, Malaysia, Venezuela, and Turkey qualify for free visas, just like the ones of other nationalities that are planning to enter from and remaining in Kish Island.


The majority of travellers qualify for a Visa on Arrival (VOA). But people from the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, India, Nepal, Jordan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Somalia are not eligible for this.

Also, travellers that have visited Israel within the past six (6) months may be denied entry.

To get a Visa on Arrival, you require proof of a hotel reservation, travel insurance, a host contact, and cash to pay for the VOA.

To submit an application for an Iranian visa in advance, you are required to get a visa code from a tour operator. The code’s validity only lasts a month.

Outlined in the body of this post are the top 10 countries with the hardest visas to get in the world.

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