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A Comprehensive Guide to Lao Visa for Foreign Travelers

Last updated: August 12, 2020 /171 Views

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. 

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.

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. 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).

Lao Visa on Arrival Countries

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.

Lao Visa Exemption Countries 

Passport holders from the following countries and territories can enter Laos without a visa.

  • For 30 days: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam
  • For 15 days: Japan, Luxembourg, and Switzerland
  • For 14 days: Brunei and Myanmar

Lao visa

Vietnam is one of visa-free countries for Laos

Who can’t get Lao Visa on Arrival?

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. 

Lao Visa on Arrival Requirements

To apply for a Lao Visa on Arrival, each applicant must complete a visa application form 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 (light background, no glasses, and no facial expression). If you don’t have photos, you will have to pay an extra fee for scanning photos from their passport.
  • Cash to pay for visa fees and additional costs if needed (only in cash with U.S Dollars, Laotian Kip, or Thai Baht). For example, there are additional charges for Lao Visas if you arrive between 6:00 am and 8:00 am on weekends or national holidays/festivals in Laos. 
  • Proof of accommodation (hotel reservations or bookings, name of your accommodations in Laos, confirmation from tour operator with details of your payment, etc.)

Laos visa on arrival form

Application form for Laos Visa on Arrival

How to get a Visa on Arrival for Laos

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. 

Laos visa on arrival

The Visa on Arrival window at Luang Prabang Port, Laos

Lao e-Visa

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 open

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:

  • Wattay International Airport (Vientiane)
  • Luang Prabang International Airport (Luang Prabang)
  • Pakse International Airport (Champasack)
  • Lao – Thai Friendship Bridge I (Nongkhai – Vientiane)
  • Lao – Thai Friendship Bridge II (Moukdahan – Savannakhet)

Lao e-Visa countries

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
   Andorra   Dominca   Macau   Samoa
   Angola   Dominican Republic   Madagascar   San Marino
   Antigua and Barbuda   Ecuador   Malawi   Sao Tome and Pricipe
   Argentina   Egypt   Malaysia   Saudi Arabia
   Armenia   El Salvador   Maldives   Serbia
   Australia   Equatorial Guinea   Mali   Seychelles
   Austria   Eritrea   Marshall Islands   Singapore
   Azerbaijan   Ethiopia   Mauritania   Slovakia
   Bahamas   Fiji   Mauritius   Slovenia
   Bahrain   Finland   Mexico   Solomon Islands
   Barbados   France   Micronesia   Somalia
   Belarus   Gabon   Moldova   South Africa
   Belgium   Gambia   Monaco   Spain
   Belize   Georgia   Mongolia   Sri Lanka
   Benin   Germany   Montenegro   Sweden
   Bhutan   Greece   Morocco   Switzerland
   Bolivia   Grenada   Myanmar   Taiwan
   Bosnia and Herzegovian   Guatemala   Namibia   Tajikistan
   Botswana   Guyana   Nepal   Thailand
   Brazil   Haiti   Netherlands   Macedonia, The former Yugoslav
   Brunei Darussalam   Hong Kong   New Zealand   Timor Leste
   Bulgaria   Honduras   Nicaragua   Togo
   Burkina Faso   Hungary   Norway   Trinidad and Tobago
   Cambodia   Iceland   Oman   Tunisia
   Canada   India   Palau   Turkey
   Cape Verde   Indonesia   Panama   Turkmenistan
   Central African Republic   Ireland   Papua New Guinea   Tuvalu
   Chad   Israel   Paraguay   Uganda
   Chile   Italy   Peru   Ukraine
   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
   Cuba   Kuwait   Romania   Uzbekistan
   Cyprus   Kyrgyzstan   Russia Federation   Vanuatu
   Czech Republic   Latvia   Rwanda   Venezuela
   Democratic People's Republic of Korea   Liechtenstein   Saint Kitts and Nevis   Vietnam
   Denmark   Lithuania   Saint Lucia   Yemen

Lao e-Visa requirements

To apply for a Lao e-Visa, each applicant must prepare these following documents and procedures:

  • Two 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 
  • An online visa application form including a series of security questions questions and personal information like full name, address, date of birth, gender, nationality, passport details, and travel plans. 
  • An email address where the approved visa will be sent
  • A debit or credit card to pay for the visa fee

How to get Lao e-Visa

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.

  • Step 1: Fill the online visa application form and upload the necessary documents
  • Step 2: Review your application and confirm payment of visa fee
  • Step 3: Receive the status of Lao e-visa and approval letter via email
  • Step 4: Print a copy of e-Visa to present to the Immigration Officer for expedited entry into Laos

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

  • Step 1: Go to the Immigration area and enter the dedicated e-Visa lane
  • Step 2: Present your passport and e-Visa approval letter to the Immigration officer
  • Step 3: Get the final Immigration approval and enter Laos

Advantages of 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
  • 24/7 support and assistance by visa experts in multiple languages including English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and others
  • Approved insurance policy in case your e-Visa is denied

Lao e-visa

Lao e-Visa offers a more convenient way to enter to Laos

Lao Visa Fee

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. 

Notes:

  • The fee of Laos Visa on Arrival is paid in cash only (US Dollars, Laotian Kip or Thai Baht).
  • Lao e-Visa fee is non-refundable.
  • On weekends, Lao public holidays and festivals, before 8 A.M and after 4 P.M weekdays: there is a 1 USD overtime fee. In addition, an entry fee (2,500 Kip or so) may be charged.

Lao Visa Extension and Renewal

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. 

  • To extend the Lao e-Visa while staying in the country, the best option is to get in touch with the local immigration authorities. 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. 

Lao visa validity

The validity of your stay in Laos is 30 days

How to obtain visa extension for Laos

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. 

  • Do-it-yourself: If you are in Vientiane, you can apply for a visa extension at the Department of Immigration, behind the Joint Development Bank on Lane Xang Avenue. The office is open from Monday to Friday (8:00 am to 4:00 pm, with a break from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm). It is close for application on Friday afternoon.
  • Via travel agent: The best way to avoid the complication of visa extension is getting assistance from a travel agent or travel consultant. This is more convenient with long-term visas or tourist visas of the 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. 

vientiane laos visa

The Department of Immigration is located in Vientiane

Lao visa extension requirements

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.

Lao visa extension fees

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

If you have any concerns about the Lao visa, please contact us or visit our website https://www.bestpricetravel.com/ for instant support and a worthy travel guide. 

Hong Nhung

(Images source: The Internet)

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