To enter El Salvador by air or sea, U.S. citizens must present a current U.S. passport and either a Salvadoran visa or a one-entry tourist card.  There is neither a requirement for the U.S. passport to be valid for a specific period of time nor for it to have a specific number of blank pages.  The tourist card may be obtained from Salvadoran immigration officials for a USD$10.00 fee upon arrival in El Salvador at an airport or seaport.  U.S. travelers who plan to remain in El Salvador for more than 30 days can apply in advance for a multiple entry visa, issued free of charge, from the Embassy of El Salvador in Washington, D.C. or from one of 15 Salvadoran consulates in the United States:

  • Tucson, AZ
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Coral Gables, FL
  • Woodstock, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Boston, MA
  • Elizabeth, NJ
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Long Island, NY
  • New York City, NY
  • Dallas, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Woodbridge, VA
  • Seattle, WA

Travelers may contact the Embassy of El Salvador at 1400 16th Street NW, Suite 100, Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone 202-595-7500, fax 202-232-3763, or visit the Embassy of El Salvador websitefor current visa information (Spanish language only).

When applying for a visa, travelers may be asked to present evidence of U.S. employment and adequate finances for their visit at the time of visa application or upon arrival in El Salvador.  For passengers departing by air or sea, El Salvador has an exit tax, which is usually included in the price of the airline ticket. 

In June 2006, El Salvador entered into the “Central America-4 (CA-4) Border Control Agreement” with Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.  Under the terms of the agreement, citizens of the four countries may travel freely across land borders from one of the countries to any of the others without completing entry and exit formalities at immigration checkpoints.  U.S. citizens and other eligible foreign nationals, who legally enter any of the four countries, may similarly travel among the four without obtaining additional visas or tourist entry permits for the other three countries.  Immigration officials at the first port of entry determine the length of stay, up to a maximum period of 90 days.

Foreign tourists who wish to remain in the four-country CA-4 region beyond the period initially granted for their visit must request a one-time extension of stay from local immigration authorities in the country where the traveler is physically present, or they must leave the CA-4 countries and reapply for admission to the region.  Foreigners “expelled” from any of the four countries are excluded from the entire CA-4 region.  In isolated cases, the lack of clarity in the implementing details of the CA-4 Border Control Agreement has caused temporary inconvenience to some travelers and has resulted in others being fined more than USD$100.00 or being detained in custody for 72 hours or longer for immigration violations.

Airlines operating out of El Salvador International Airport require all U.S. citizen passengers boarding flights for the United States (including U.S.-Salvadoran dual nationals) to have a current U.S. passport.  Please be aware that you may not enter the United States using a Certificate of Naturalization or a Certificate of Citizenship.  All U.S. citizens must possess a valid U.S. passport or other acceptable travel document to enter the United States.  You may determine which documents are needed to enter the United States via land, sea, or air at the Department of Homeland Security web site.

We remind U.S. citizens applying for passports at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador that proof of citizenship and identity are required before a passport can be issued.  Photographic proof of identity is especially important for young children because of the high incidence of fraud involving children.  Since non-emergency passports are printed in the United States, and not at the Embassy, citizens submitting applications in El Salvador should be prepared to wait approximately 10 business days for receipt of their new passports.  The American Citizen Services Unit issues passports locally in emergency cases only.  These passports have limited validity and cannot be extended.  Please visit the Embassy’s website to schedule an appointment for passport services.

HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any specific HIV/AIDS entry restrictions or regulations for visitors or for foreign residents of El Salvador.  Antiretroviral medication can be imported for personal use and for the duration of stay.  HIV-infected people are not expelled, and being HIV-positive has no effect on residency status.  However, even though Salvadoran immigration law does not specifically refer to HIV/AIDS, persons wishing to apply for residency must undergo a medical exam and be certified free of communicable diseases which may include testing for HIV/AIDS. 

Dual Nationality and International Parental Child Abduction: Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. 

Customs: For information about customs regulations, please read ourCustoms Information page.

Volunteers, Mission Groups, and Non-Profits: Groups bringing donated supplies, equipment, and medicine may experience difficulties with customs.  To avoid potential problems, all donated material should be cleared with the appropriate office well before traveling to El Salvador. 

For medicines, please contact the Consejo Superior De Salud Publica (Superior Council for Public Health) via email at Superior Council for Public Health.

For all other donated goods, please contact the Secretaria de Inclusion Social (Secretariat of Social Inclusion) via email atSecretariat of Social Inclusion.