Most foreign visitors to Laos are required to obtain a visa from one of the authoritative Laotian diplomatic departments or online. The following guideline will provide you with essential information about Lao Visa before traveling to Laos.
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Located in Southeast Asia, Laos requires a visa for tourists from many nationalities to obtain. Lao offers several options for foreigners, from Tourist Embassy Visa, Visa on Arrival, e-Visa, Study Visa, to Business Visa. In this article, we will show you a comprehensive guide to Lao Visa while visiting Laos for the purpose of travel.
You can get a Lao Visa on Arrival (VOA) when you arrive at the airport or another entry point in Laos. Generally, you can obtain a Laos visa with the Laotian embassy or consulate before the departure to avoid time-consuming and long waits at the entry ports. However, it could take much processing time for some nationalities to wait for Laos Visa from the embassy or consulate. So, you will have a greater choice to apply for Lao Visa on Arrival.
You may obtain a Lao Visa on Arrival for the validity of 30 days at 22 entry ports in Laos, which excludes Napao-Chalo (Vietnam), Subhun (China), Pakxan-Bueng Kan (Thailand), and Xieng Kok River Port (Myanmar).
It is allowable for citizens from several eligible countries (Australia, Canada, the United States, and European Union member countries) to obtain a Laos Visa on Arrival. Travelers need to meet the Laos Visa requirements and fill out the application form to get permission to enter at the Lao border.
Passport holders from the following countries and territories can enter Laos without a visa.
Vietnam is one of visa-free countries for Laos
There are 29 nationalities that are ineligible to obtain a Laos Visa on Arrival: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Syria (Syrian Arab Republic), Swaziland, Tonga, Turkey, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The citizens from the above 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.
To apply for a Lao Visa on Arrival, each applicant must complete a visa application form and submit your documents as follows:
Application form for Laos Visa on Arrival
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 the form in advance so not as to wait too long at the last if the line. After providing all the documentation, you will be asked to wait for review. At final, the visa fee is expected to pay in cash only.
The Visa on Arrival window at Luang Prabang Port, Laos
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 of 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.
Lao e-Visa has been officially launched since July 2019
The approval letter of Lao e-Visa will be valid for a single entry stay of up to 30 days in Laos. Until now, there are only 3 international airports and 2 entry ports that allow Lao e-Visa entry, including:
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||Djibouti||Luxembourg||Saint Vincent and Grenadines|
|Angola||Dominican Republic||Madagascar||San Marino|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Ecuador||Malawi||Sao Tome and Pricipe|
|Bosnia and Herzegovian||Guatemala||Namibia||Tajikistan|
|Brazil||Haiti||Netherlands||Macedonia, The former Yugoslav|
|Brunei Darussalam||Hong Kong||New Zealand||Timor Leste|
|Burkina Faso||Hungary||Norway||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Central African Republic||Ireland||Papua New Guinea||Tuvalu|
|China||Jamaica||Philippines||United Arab Emirate|
|Colombia||Japan||Poland||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Comoros||Kazakhstan||Portugal||United Republic of Tanzania|
|Costa Rica||Kenya||Qatar||United States of America|
|Croatia||Kiribati||Republic of Korea||Uruguay|
|Democratic People's Republic of Korea||Liechtenstein||Saint Kitts and Nevis||Vietnam|
To apply for a Lao e-Visa, each applicant must prepare these following documents and procedures:
Applicants can complete their online Laos visa form anytime and anywhere as long as there are an Internet connection and an electric device such as a computer/ laptop/ mobile/ tablet to access the online visa application for Laos.
Lao e-Visa can be issued within 03 business days provided that all information supplied by applicants meets the criteria and accepted by the Lao government authorities. Otherwise, the processing time could be longer.
As soon as you check-in at Lao entry port with the e-Visa approval letter, follow these steps:
Lao e-Visa offers a more convenient way to enter to Laos
The cost of the Lao Visa depends on not only which passport you are holding but also the type and duration of the visa required. The Laos visa on arrival fee usually ranges from 30 to 40 USD, which is on display at the visa counter. If you are from the USA, UK, and some other European countries, Lao Visa on Arrival fee is 35 USD; Sweden: 31 USD; Indian: 40 USD; Canadian: 42 USD; and others: 30 USD.
For Lao e-Visa, the average fee is 45 USD for most nationalities. However, there are some exceptional cases for the Vietnamese and Chinese, e-Visa fee is 35 USD; for USA, UK, Netherlands, Portugal, and some other European citizens, e-Visa fee is 50 USD; for citizens from Nepal, Sri Lanka, e-Visa fee is 55 USD; and for Canadian, the fee is up to 57 USD. You must look up the details on the official website of the Lao government.
Despite the validity of Lao e-Visa up to 60 days, foreigners are only allowed to stay in Laos for 30 days with an e-Visa or an approval letter. The Laos visa on arrival is extendable twice, not exceeding 90 days of your stay in Laos.
The validity of your stay in Laos is 30 days
If you want to extend a visa for Laos, you should apply for a Lao visa extension by yourself or with the help of a travel agent.
The Department of Immigration is located in Vientiane
The requirements to extend tourist visa for Laos 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 straight forward, just fill out the application form then submit together with your passport and photos. Normally, your visa will be ready on the same day.
If you get 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 extent your Laos visa, the cost of 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 3 USD), an application fee of 2,000 Kip per person (approximately 0.25 USD), and a visa extension fee of 20,000 Kip per day (approximately 2.5 USD).
Notes: If you overstay your visa in Laos, you will be fined 10 USD per day for the stay past your visa. It will be noticeable to the immigration officers at the border checkpoints. Not only being fined, but you also risk being arrested for your overstaying without getting 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.
(Images source: The Internet)