Countries to stay in long-ish term as an American without a visa

I hate bureaucracy. I mean, I really hate it. I’m still waiting on one country to get back to me after submitting several thousand dollars worth of official signed, sealed and then re-sealed documents…and it’s been about 8 months since I turned it all in. Their consulate quit returning my phone calls 3 months ago. So, when planning our upcoming adventures, it’s probably understandable that I started hunting for places that required a bit less paperwork. This is what I found:

Note: Rules change every day. Check with respective countries to make sure these are still valid before heading off to anywhere. This is in no way an extensive list. I may have missed a dozen countries because of minor details like their embassy no longer having a website (seriously). 

Photo: Lonely Planet

Marshall Islands – indefinite stay and right to work 

If you do not mind moving to an area that the US once used as a nuclear test bomb site, they are willing and happy (??) to allow Americans to live and work there indefinitely without need for a visa or work permit. Just show up on your best behavior. This happy little rule is due to a reciprocal agreement between the US and the Marshall Islands. I believe it is due to expire in 2023, but internet rumor tells us that the right to stay should remain beyond that year.


Micronesia – indefinite stay and right to work

Same deal as the Marshall Islands and in the same Pacific area, just a bit less irradiated, and I’m not sure of when the agreement expires.


US territories and the like – Guam, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands

As an American, you may work and stay in these locations as long as you would like without needing a visa or work permit. They may have some of the same government services that you are accustomed to back home. Yay for familiar bureaucracy?


Palau – one year stay and right to work

Palau is another tropical paradise in the Pacific (or it looks like one from my current location behind a laptop in cold and rainy England). Americans may enter without a visa and stay for up to one year. You may work without a permit during that time.


Albania – one year stay and right to work 

As an American, you may enter the country with no visa for up to one year and work there without a permit. There is some sort of work permit exemption document that you may have to pick up at the Ministry of something-or-other in order to show potential employers that it’s okay to hire you. After a year, you must leave the country for three months before the timer is reset and you can enter for another year.


Countries in which you can enter without a visa and stay for six months with no right to work

  • Armenia
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Mexico (but requires a “document Forma Migratoria Multiple” for stays longer than 72 hours)
  • Montserrat
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • United Kingdom

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Countries in which you can enter without a visa and stay for four months with no right to work

  • Fiji -There is a visa issued upon arrival. Hey, it’s slightly less paperwork, right?
  • Tunisia

Countries in which the original entry without a visa is for less than 6 months, but it can be extended to 6 months or so. There is no right to work in these as far as I know. 

  • Barbados – 28 days, extendable to up to 6 months
  • Belize – 1 month, extendable to up to 6 months
  • Bermuda – Up to 6 months, but it is decided upon arrival
  • Ecuador – 90 days, extendable for an additional 90 days
  • Grenada – 90 days, extendable for ?
  • Seychelles – 1 month, extendable to up to a year
  • Sint Maarten – 30 days, extendable to 180 days
  • Vanuatu – 30 days, extendable to 120 days

claireClaire Barretto is an American expat, digital nomad and slow traveler. She has learned the ins and outs of the nomadic life from an on the ground perspective. In addition to being a global wanderer, she is also a mother, natural living connoisseur, artist in the making, and generally one very human…well, human. She and her family have spent over half a decade roaming four continents so far. Follow her on Twitter: @naturalexpat

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