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A Comprehensive Guide to Lao Visa for Foreign Travelers

February 01, 2024 - 5830 views

Most foreign visitors to Laos are required to obtain a visa from one of the authoritative Laotian diplomatic departments or online.

The following guidelines will provide you with essential information about Lao Visa before traveling to Laos.

A Comprehensive Guide To Lao Visa For Foreign Travelers

Lao visa is the first thing you need to prepare before planning a trip to Laos. Lao offers various options for foreigners, including

  • Laos Tourist Visa
  • Laos Business Visa
  • Laos Transit Visa
  • Laos Work Visa
  • Laos Media Visa
  • Laos Student Visa
  • Laos Spouse Visa

There are 3 ways to apply for a Lao Visa: You can obtain an e-Visa, Visa On Arrival, or visa at a Lao Embassy. In this article, we will show you a comprehensive guide to the Lao Visa when visiting Laos for travel purpose.

 

Lao Visa Exemption Countries 

Not all citizens from foreign countries must have a Lao Visa to travel to Laos. Check out the Lao Visa Exemption list below to know if you can enter Laos without a visa:

30 Days

15 Days

14 Days

Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam

Japan, Luxembourg, and Switzerland

Brunei, and Myanmar

 

Lao Visa On Arrival

You can get a Lao Visa on Arrival (VOA) when you arrive at the airport or another entry point in Laos. Visitors may obtain a Lao VOA for a maximum validity of 30 days at the following checkpoints:

Airport

Wattay International Airport

Savan International Airport

Pakse International Airport

Luang Prabang International Airport

Vietnam Border

Nonghaed Checkpoint in Xieng Khouang

Nam Phao Checkpoint in Bolikhamxay

Na Pao Checkpoint in Khammouane

Daensavan Checkpoint in Savannakhet

Phou Keua Checkpoint in Eutapeu

Thailand Border

Friendship Bridge IV Checkpoint in Bokeo

Friendship Bridge I Checkpoint in Vientiane

Tanalaeng Checkpoint in Vientiane

Friendship Bridge III Checkpoint in Khammouane

Friendship Bridge II Checkpoint in Savannakhet

Vang Tao Checkpoint in Champasak

Namheuang Checkpoint in Xayabouly

Thailand & Myanmar Border

Samliemkham Checkpoint in Bokeo

Cambodia Border

Veun Kham Checkpoint in Champasak

China Border

Botene Checkpoint in Luang Namtha

Citizens from some countries are not allowed to obtain a Laos Visa on Arrival. The citizens from these countries can get Lao Visa at the embassy or consulate of Laos. Or else, they can only obtain a Laos Visa on Arrival if they have an official letter of guarantee issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Laos. Here is the country list:

Afghanistan

Algeria

Bangladesh

Burundi

Cameroon

Congo

Congo

Eswatini

Ghana

Guinea-Bissau

Ivory Coast

Iran

Iraq

Jordan

Lebanon

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Mozambique

Nauru

Niger

Nigeria

Pakistan

Senegal

Sierra Leone

South Sudan

Sudan

Suriname

Syria

Tonga

Zambia

Zimbabwe

 

Lao Visa on Arrival Requirements

To apply for a Lao Visa on Arrival, each applicant must complete a visa application form (get at the checkpoint) and submit your documents as follows:

  • An original passport with a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of arrival in Laos (at least 2 blank pages left on your passport)
  • A completed visa application form filled out and signed by the applicant (available at the Counter of Immigration right on arrival gate or being distributed before landing at the airports)
  • Two recent passport-size photos of 4x6cm dimensions (light background, no glasses, and no facial expression - please refer to the ICAO Standard by clicking HERE). If you don’t have photos, you will have to pay an extra fee for scanning photos from your passport.
  • Cash (only in US Dollars) to pay for visa fees and additional costs if needed. For example, there are additional charges for Lao Visas if you arrive on weekends, national holidays /festivals in Laos, or between 06:00 a.m. and 08:00 a.m. on weekdays. 
  • Proof of accommodation in Laos (hotel reservations or bookings, name of your accommodations in Laos, confirmation from tour operator with details of your payment, etc.)

NOTE: Depending on your nationality, the Laos visa fee will vary from USD $30 to USD $45

If you haven’t finished the visa application form, you should head to the “On Arrival” window to complete the form. The immigration official is only for people who already have a visa.

You should fill out the form in advance so not as to wait too long at the last of the line. After providing all the documentation, you will be asked to wait for review. Finally, the visa fee is expected to be paid in cash only.

Laos Visa Stamp

Laos Visa Stamp

 

Lao E-Visa

  • 24/7 availability all year round
  • Protection of applicants’ privacy and data
  • Security of payment methods and a protected online form
  • Verification and validation of information by specialists

Lao e-Visa is another way to get a travel authorization issued by the Lao government since July 2019. Instead of long waiting times and complicated procedures for Visa on Arrival, you can get the online visa application form before your trip to Laos. It is recommended to apply at least 07 days before the expected date of departure to Laos.

The approval letter for Lao e-Visa will be valid for a single entry stay of up to 30 days in Laos. Until now, there are only 8 designated entry ports that allow Lao e-Visa entry, including:

  • Wattay International Airport (Vientiane Capital)
  • Lao - Thai Friendship Bridge I (Vientiane Capital)
  • Luang Prabang International Airport (Luang Prabang)
  • Lao - Thai Friendship Bridge II (Savannakhet Province)
  • Pakse International Airport (Champasack Province)
  • Lao - Thai Friendship Bridge IV (Bokeo Province)
  • Boten International Checkpoint (Luang Namtha Province)
  • Boten Railway Station (Luang Namtha Province)

 

Lao e-Visa Countries List

As of July 2019, travelers from 150 countries are eligible to obtain a Lao e-Visa through the online application form. Citizens from countries that are ineligible to get Lao e-Visa can apply for their approval letter online. 

Here is the list of eligible countries for Lao e-Visa:

  Albania

  Dominca

  Luxembourg

  Saint Lucia

  Andorra

  Dominican Republic

  Macau

  Saint Vincent and Grenadines

  Angola

  Ecuador

  Macedonia

  Samoa

  Antigua and Barbuda

  Egypt

  Madagascar

  San Marino

  Argentina

  El Salvador

  Malawi

  Sao Tome and Pricipe

  Armenia

  Equatorial Guinea

  Malaysia

  Saudi Arabia

  Australia

  Eritrea

  Maldives

  Serbia

  Austria

  Estonia

  Mali

  Seychelles

  Azerbaijan

  Ethiopia

  Malta

  Singapore

  Bahamas

  Fiji

  Marshall Islands

  Slovakia

  Bahrain

  Finland

  Mauritania

  Slovenia

  Barbados

  France

  Mauritius

  Solomon Islands

  Belarus

  Gabon

  Mexico

  Somalia

  Belgium

  Gambia

  Micronesia

  South Africa

  Belize

  Georgia

  Moldova

  Spain

  Benin

  Germany

  Monaco

  Sri Lanka

  Bhutan

  Greece

  Mongolia

  Sweden

  Bolivia

  Grenada

  Montenegro

  Switzerland

  Bosnia and Herzegovian

  Guatemala

  Morocco

  Taiwan

  Botswana

  Guyana

  Myanmar

  Tajikistan

  Brazil

  Haiti

  Namibia

  Thailand

  Brunei Darussalam

  Hong Kong

  Nepal

  Timor Leste

  Bulgaria

  Honduras

  Netherlands

  Togo

  Burkina Faso

  Hungary

  New Zealand

  Trinidad and Tobago

  Cambodia

  Iceland

  Nicaragua

  Tunisia

  Canada

  India

  Norway

  Turkey

  Cape Verde

  Indonesia

  Oman

  Turkmenistan

  Central African Republic

  Ireland

  Palau

  Tuvalu

  Chad

  Israel

  Panama

  Uganda

  Chile

  Italy

  Papua New Guinea

  Ukraine

  China

  Jamaica

  Paraguay

  United Arab Emirate

  Colombia

  Japan

  Peru

  United Kingdom

  Comoros

  Kazakhstan

  Philippines

  United Republic of Tanzania

  Costa Rica

  Kenya

  Poland

  United States of America

  Croatia

  Kiribati

  Portugal

  Uruguay

  Cuba

  Kosovo

  Qatar

  Uzbekistan

  Cyprus

  Kuwait

  Republic of Korea

  Vanuatu

  Czech Republic

  Kyrgyzstan

  Romania

  Venezuela

  Democratic People's Republic of Korea

  Latvia

  Russia Federation

  Vietnam

  Denmark

  Liechtenstein

  Rwanda

  Yemen

  Djibouti

  Lithuania

  Saint Kitts and Nevis

  

 

Application Procedures For An E-Visa

Applicants can complete their online Laos visa form anytime and anywhere as long as there are Internet connection and an electric device such as a computer/ laptop/ mobile to access the online visa application for Laos. Tourists can apply for a Lao e-Visa with the following steps:

  • Step 1: Provide the application details and upload the necessary documents.
  • Step 2: Review your application and pay the fee online.
  • Step 3: Download the eVisa Approval Letter.

As soon as you check-in at a Lao entry port with the e-Visa approval letter, follow these steps:

  • Step 4: At the Arrival Port (as soon as you arrive in Laos with the e-Visa approval letter), go to the Immigration area and enter the dedicated e-Visa lane.
  • Step 5: Present your passport and eVisa Approval Letter to the Immigration officer. You will get the final Immigration approval and enter Laos.

The eVisa payment is the last step of your application process after submitting your details and the required documents in Step 1. Usually, the processing time is approximately 03 working days after submitting the application and visa payment (all information supplied by applicants meets the criteria and accepted by the Lao government authorities).

Like e-Visas in other countries, the eVisa Fee is non-refundable. If you want to know about the detailed visa fee, click HERE to check.

 

Requirements For Lao e-Visa

To apply for a Lao e-Visa, each applicant must prepare to upload the following documents:

  • Passport-size photographs (have been taken no longer than 6 months)
  • Passport cover page and bio page with a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of arrival 

NOTE:

  • Please upload the photo of your passport that covers the whole bio page including its MRZ (two lines at the bottom of the page).
  • The size of the photograph must be 4x6 cm, as per ICAO Standard photograph.
  • Only ordinary passport is applicable for e-Visa

Your passport photo must be high-quality

Your passport photo must be high-quality

  • Appropriate clothes: You should wear formal attire such as a shirt, or a basic shirt is quite enough (please notice that your outfit should not be patterned or pure white)
  • The background must be light-color, you can looking for a wall with light cream color, or cover the wall behind you with a large piece of light-hued cloth
  • Adjust the light so that you can gain a clear photo with full head from the top of hair to bottom of chin. The head should be in the center of the frame and no distracting shadows on the face or background
  • Express normal expression when taking photos, and refrain from editing your photos and changing the contrast /color

 

Lao Visa At Lao Embassy /Consulate

Generally, you can obtain a Laos visa at the Laotian embassy or consulate before departure to avoid time-consuming and long waits at the entry ports. Moreover, you should apply for a Lao visa at the nearest Lao Embassy if you are not eligible to apply for VOA /e-Visa, or want to stay for longer than the VOA and e-Visa allow.

However, it could take much processing time for some nationalities to wait for a Lao Visa from the embassy or consulate. Please note that visa fees and processing time will be different in each circumstance, depending on your nationality. For more information, you should get in touch with the office directly first.

You will have to finish a visa application form, then submit it to the embassy or consulate together with:

  • Two recent, passport-sized photographs 2″x2″ inches with white background (Photos should be taken within 6 months with clear face, eyes, and ears)
  • An original passport (at least 6 months validity), and a copy of passport with the page containing your information
  • Prepaid envelope with a return address for passport return (if applying by mail). Use Priority Mail Express for USA and DHL for Canada.
  • Visa fee: US $10 for Lao descent (service fee only), and US $50 for US and Canadian citizens (visa fee). An additional charge of US $20 can be applied for urgent cases.

You will see the application form and more details about Lao Visa HERE. You can download it online if you apply for a visa at a Lao Embassy or Consulate.

 

Lao Visa Extension and Renewal

Foreigners are only allowed to stay in Laos for 30 days with an e-Visa. The Laos visa on arrival is extendable twice, not exceeding 90 days of your stay in Laos. To extend the Lao e-Visa while staying in the country, you should get in touch with one of these Immigration Departments:

  • Immigration Department in Vientiane
  • Immigration Office in Luang Prabang
  • Police station in Pakse
  • Police Station in Phonsavan (opposite the Lao-Mongolian Hospital)

The e-Visa holder may be asked to leave the country and apply for a new online visa from abroad, even if the visa is still valid. If the e-Visa holders leave Laos before their visa expires and wish to return, they need to apply for a new e-Visa (or one of the other applicable visa types for Laos) before entering Laos again, even if their e-Visa is valid.

People cannot apply for an e-Visa renewal from outside Laos, because Lao e-Visa is a single-entry permit that can only be used once to cross the border.

 

How To Obtain A Visa Extension For Laos

If you want to extend a visa to Laos, you should apply for a Lao visa extension by yourself or with the help of a travel agent:

  • Do it yourself: If you are in Vientiane, you can apply for a visa extension at the Department of Immigration located in Dongnaxok Village, Sikhottabong District, Vientiane Capital.

NOTE: The office is open from Monday to Friday (08:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m., with a break from 12:00 p.m. to 01:00 p.m.). It is closed for applications on Friday afternoon.

  • Via travel agent: The best way to avoid the complication of visa extension is to get assistance from a travel agent or travel consultant. This is more convenient with long-term visas or tourist visas for holders who plan to travel in provinces other than Vientiane. Because there are no immigration offices in other regions and the visa run option is impossible. 

 

Lao Visa Extension Requirements

The requirements to extend Lao tourist visas are similar to the standard Lao e-Visa requirements. Applicants need to provide their passport, passport-type photos, and some cash to pay for the application and visa extension fee.

The process is straightforward, just fill out the application form and then submit it together with your passport and photos. Normally, your visa will be ready on the same day.

 

Lao Visa Extension Fees

If you get a visa renewal, you need to pay the e-Visa application fee again since you will get a new e-Visa for Laos. 

In case you extend your Laos visa, the cost of an extension depends on the visa types that tourists want to get an extension for. Applicants usually need to pay:

  • A service fee of 25,000 Kip (approximately US $1.25)
  • An application fee of 2,000 Kip per person (approximately US $0.1)
  • A visa extension fee of 20,000 Kip per day (approximately US $1)

NOTE: If you overstay your visa in Laos, you will be fined US $10 per day for the stay past your visa. It will be noticeable to the immigration officers at the border checkpoints. Not only you are fined, but you also risk being arrested for overstaying without getting a visa extension in Laos.

 

All in all, you should get more details of the Lao visa through the official source of the Laotian Embassy. The above information may be updated; hence, it is highly recommended to double-check before your trip to Laos. 

If you have any concerns about the Lao visa, please contact us for instant support and a worthy travel guide.

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Questions & Answers (1)

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09/10/2022

The information should be updated: - "If you are from the USA, UK, and some other European countries, Lao Visa on Arrival fee is 35 USD" is incorrect. The fee has been increased: https://laotiantimes.com/2022/05/25/laos-announces-updated-tourist-visa-fees/ - The price for the eVisa can be found out here: https://laoevisa.gov.la/fee-calculator - The Department of Immigration has relocated: https://youtu.be/giNaFCGWVzk?t=40

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1
12/10/2022
@Martin:

Hi Martin!

We've just updated our article. Thank you so much for your precious information!

1 Reply