The other alternative is to seek a country that does not have extradition agreement with United States. That list includes Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Andorra, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Brunei and 90-some other nations. Cuba, for example, sheltered U.S. resident Robert Vesco, who was wanted on tax fraud charges for 20 years until his death in 1992.
Many less-developed nations in Africa and the former Balkan states are also without U.S. extradition treaties. There are also some relaxed nations on the list, such as Pacific islands of Samoa and Vanuatu, or the lemur-populated Republic of Madagascar.
But when it comes to a high-profile fugitive wanted by the U.S. government, more is at stake that just extradition treaties. There are also political realities, according to Karen Musalo, an expert in international refugee law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law.
"How does a country feel about putting itself in a position where it will be perceived to thwart the request of the United States?" Musalo said. The United States can put political and economic pressure on smaller nations to give up the people they want.
It's also hard to predict how an individual nation might act. Iceland's government has changed recently, and has become more conservative. How would these new leaders handle a request from someone as radioactive as Snowden?
"One country might make an (asylum) determination that his case is persecution on behalf of political opinion," Musalo said. "But another might say it might be prosecution for committing a crime."
In that case, Snowden might want to look for a small, out-of-the way nation without a lot to risk from sheltering him from U.S. law enforcement, according to Widney Brown, law and policy director for Amnesty International, USA.
"You probably want to go to a country that will not use him as a pawn in a political game in with the United States," she said.
In the meantime, it's likely that U.S. authorities will continue playing a high-stakes game of "Where's Snowden."