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Monday, April 14, 2014

Laos Visa Exemption Policy

Laos has entered into mutual agreements with all ASEAN member countries as well as some non-ASEAN nations to exempt visitors from visas requirements.

In addition, it grants visa exemption to some other countries even if they have not granted the same privileges in return.

The country extends privileges to Lao individuals living abroad by NOT charging them a visa fee and allowing them to extend the length of their stay. Read on for more details.

For some countries the visa free scheme applies to all type of passports (Diplomatic, Official and Ordinary passport), while for others it only applicable to certain type of passports. The length of stay ranges from 14-90 days depending on the countries.

Here are lists of countries with which Laos has reached mutual agreements on visa exemption. (Lao passport holders can enter these countries visa-free. The same conditions apply)

ASEAN Member Countries
Country
Passport Type
Days of stay (Max)
1
Brunei
Diplomatic/Official
14
Ordinary
14
2
Cambodia
Diplomatic/Official
90
Ordinary
30
3
Indonesia
Diplomatic/Official
14
Ordinary
30
4
Laos
-
-
5
Malaysia
Diplomatic/Official
30
Ordinary
30
6
Myanmar
Diplomatic/Official
30
Ordinary
14
7
Philippines
Diplomatic/Official
30
Ordinary
30
8
Singapore
Diplomatic/Official
30
Ordinary
30
9
Thailand
Diplomatic/Official
30
Ordinary
30
10
Vietnam
Diplomatic/Official
30
Ordinary
30
Non-ASEAN Member Countries
Country
Passport Type
Days of stay (Max)
1
Bangladesh
(effective 6-Jan-2013)
Diplomatic/Official
30
Ordinary
N/A (Visa required)
2
Brazil
Diplomatic/Official
90
Ordinary
N/A (Visa required)
3
China
Diplomatic/Official
*Not set
Ordinary
N/A (Visa required)
4
Cuba
Diplomatic/Official
90
Ordinary
N/A (Visa required)
5
DPR Korea
Diplomatic/Official
*Not set
Ordinary
N/A (Visa required)
6
Hungary
Diplomatic/Official
90
Ordinary
N/A (Visa required)
7
India
Diplomatic/Official
30
Ordinary
N/A (Visa required)
8
Japan**
Diplomatic/Official
90
Ordinary
15
9
Mongolia
Diplomatic/Official
30
Ordinary
30
10
Peru
Diplomatic/Official
90
Ordinary
N/A (Visa required)
11
Poland
Diplomatic/Official
90
Ordinary
N/A (Visa required)
13
Russia**
Diplomatic/Official
30
Ordinary
15
12
South Korea**
Diplomatic/Official
90
Ordinary
15
14
Timor Leste
Diplomatic/Official
30
Ordinary
N/A (Visa required)

*The length of stay can be as long as the length of an assignment            
**Ordinary passport holders of these countries can enter Laos without a visa, but Lao ordinary passport holders don’t get the same privilege in return (they still need to get a visa to enter those countries).

In addition, Laos grants visa-free to some former USSR countries without having the same privilege in exchange.

Here is the list of the countries to which Laos gives visa exemption

Country
Applicable Passport Type
Days of stay (Max)
1
Armenia
Diplomatic/Official
30
2
Azerbaijan
3
Belarus
4
Estonia
5
Georgia
6
Kazakhstan
7
Kyrgyzstan
8
Latvia
9
Lithuania
10
Moldova
11
Tajikistan
12
Turkmenistan
13
Ukraine
14
Uzbekistan
15
Luxembourg
Ordinary
15
16
Switzerland

If you are a citizen of one of the countries listed above and hold a passport type as listed, you can enter Laos without having to obtain a visa. The length of stay varies (as listed above)

Be reminded that your passport must not expire within the next six months from the date you enter Laos.

Apart from the lists above, Laos also grants visa fee exemption to individual Lao natives holding passport of foreign countries.

Starting from 1 January 2011, as aLao native you can have a Lao visa stamped on your passport FREE of charge as described below.

90-day visit visa - FREE of charge (you still need to apply for the visa, but you are not charged for a visa fee), provided that you’re:
a. 65+ years of age, or
b. under 15 years of age, or
c. monk/priest or (all ages), or
d. Physically and/or mentally disabled (all ages)

If you are a Lao native falling into one of the groups (a-d) above, you can apply for a FREE visa either at Lao embassies/consulates outside Laos or at Lao international airports, or Lao border crossing points (known as visa-on-arrival).

Furthermore you can get your visa extended at immigration office in Laos FREE OF CHARGE when your 90-day visa expires should you want to stay longer.

60-day visa (apply at embassy/consulate) - FREE of charge for ALL Lao natives, no age constrain.
All Lao natives who obtain a Lao visa at the Lao embassies or consulates oversea are entitled to a FREE 60-day visa.

The holders of this visa will also pay NO fee for a visa extension (at the immigration offices in Laos).
60-day visa (on arrival) - NOT FREE

If you are a Lao native but not in any of the groups (a-d) above, you'll be given 60 days permit (not the usual 30 days) when applying for a visa-on-arrival. Though you still need to pay the usual fee. This ranges from $30-$42 depending on your current citizenship.

However, if/when you get your visa extended at the immigration offices in Laos you will only be charged half of the fee ($1/day). The full fee is $2/day.

Whether you have the Lao visa exemption or the visa fee exemption, you need to hold a valid passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity. For visa fee exemption applicants, two passport-type photos are required for visa processing.

Have an enjoyable trip. I hope you enjoy your privilege.

Laos Visa on Arrival
Where can I get a Lao visa on arrival?
Who CAN get Laos Visas on Arrival?
Requirements for getting visa on arrival Laos
Laos Visa on Arrival Fee
Laos visa on arrival procedures
Tourist Visa for Laos
Laos Tourist Visa Requirements
Lao tourist Visa Fee
Types of Laos visas (Requirements, Procedures and Costs)
Laos Visa Extension
Lao checkpoints - Border Crossing and Airports


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lao checkpoints - Border Crossing and Airports

Apart from its main airports, Laos is accessible by land or water at many border crossing points where it shares border with its neighbouring countries (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China).

This section provides information about Lao ports of entry (by air, land or river).

Lao International Airports
  • Wattay International Airport, Vientiane Capital
  • Luang Prabang International Airport, Luang Prabang province
  • Pakse International Airport, Champasak province
  • Savannakhet International Airport, Savannakhet province

Land border crossing or Checkpoints
The list of Lao border crossing points below is grouped by country in alphabetical order.
Most land border crossing points issue Lao visa on arrival.
The checkpoints that marked "No VA" do not issue visa on arrival. Travelers who wish to cross the border to Laos at these checkpoints need to obtain Lao visa prior to arriving.
Red dots on the map represent border checkpoints. Move the mouse cursor over them for details.

Cambodia - Laos
There are two (2) checkpoints at the Cambodia - Laos border, one for road crossing and the other for boats coming from Stung Treng.
Stung Treng - Veun Kham (Northern Cambodia to Champasack province, southern Laos). Crossing by boats.
Note: The immigration office at this crossing point has been closed (2010). This means crossing Cambodia-Laos border at this check point is no longer possible for foreigners.
Dong Kralor - Veun Kham - this road crossing checkpoint is just a few hundred meters from the first crossing point.
IMPORTANT: Lao Visa-on-arrival is now available for travelers crossing border from Cambodia to Laos at Dong Kralor border check point.

China - Laos
Mohan - Boten (Yunnan to Luang Namtha province)
Xiengkok riverport on Mekong River to Luang Namtha province. No VA
Sobhun checkpoint (Yunnan to Phongsaly province). No VA

Thailand - Laos
There are seven (7) Lao border crossings from Thailand open to foreigners. Borders here are listed from north to south.
Chiang Khong - Houy Xai (Chiang Rai Province to Bokeo province)
Nakaxeng - Kaenthao (Loei province to Sayabouly Province)
Nong Khai - Vientiane (Thai-Lao Freindship Bridge No. 1)
Bungkan - Pakxan (Nong Khai prov to Bolikhamxai prov.), No VA
Nakon Phanom - Thakhaek (Nakon Phanom prov to Khammouane prov.)
Mukdaharn - Savannakhet (Mukdaharn prov to Savannakhet prov via Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge No.2)
Chong Mek - Vangtao (Ubon Rathchathani Prov. to Champassak Prov.)

Note: Most Thailand - Laos border crossing points involve Mekong river crossing.

Vietnam - Laos
From Vietnam, travellers can cross border at these seven (7) Vietnam - Laos border crossing points.
Tay Trang- Sobboun (Laichau, Vietnam to Pongsaly Province)
Nameo - Banteui (Thanh Hua to Huaphanh province)
Namkan - NamCan (Nge An to Xiengkhuang province)
Keoneua - Namphao (Hatinh to Bolikhamxai province)
Chalo - Napao (Guangbinh to Khammoun province), No VA
Lao Bao - Dansavanh (Quang Tri prov to Savannakhet prov)

Laos Visa Extension

Most Laos visa types (except for Transit Visa) are extendable. Once in Laos you can get your Laos visa extended.

If you find your visa is about to expire and you wish to stay longer in Laos, don’t worry, it is possible to get all types of Laos visa (except for a Transit Visa), extended at the immigration office in Vientiane. It costs US$2 per day if you apply before the expiry date. However, if you leave it until your visa expires you will be fined for US$10 per day for the days you over stayed.

How many times or how long you can get your visa extended for depends on the type of visa you have.

Here are options you can get your Laos visa extended.

Do it yourself at Laos Immigration Office:

If you are in Vientiane, your Laos Visa extension can be done at the Immigration Office behind the Joint Development Bank (JDB) on Lane Xang Avenue, opposite the Morning Market (see map below). The office is open Monday to Friday, from 8:00-16:00 (closed 12:00 to 13:00 at lunchtime). The office is close for applications on Friday afternoon.

Requirements for getting Laos visa extension by yourself at Laos Immigration Office
Your passport
One passport type photo
Service fee of US$3
Application fee of 2,000 kip (US$0.25) per person
Visa extension fee: $2 per day (normal) or US$10 per day (for overstayed days)
Lao expatriates age 65 years and over are exempted from Laos visa extension fee.

The process is straight forward, just fill out the application form then submit together with your passport and pay fees. In normal circumstances your visa is usually ready the same day.

If you only plan to stay for a few more days this option could work out best.

Note: If for some reasons you can't make an effort getting to the immigration office to get your visa extended but want to stay a few more days, then you might as well just stay as long as you prepare to pay the fine (US$10 per day). This fine will be collected on your departure.

However, be advised that this might not be a good idea if you plan to exit Laos at border check points other than Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane, and main airports as you might risk being taken advantage of by some not-so honest officials when it comes to paying the fine.

Exit the country and enter again (Visa Run). This is most suitable option for holders of a tourist visa who wish to stay for more than a few more days.

If you are in Vientiane or Savannakhet or other provinces close to international border crossing points, you can cross the border to one of the neighbor countries then return and get a Lao visa on arrival at the checkpoint.

 If you are in Vientiane it is very easy, you can take a public bus (around 5,000 kip) to the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge. Complete the immigration procedures on the Lao side; then take the shuttle bus (4,000 kip or 15 baht) to the Thai immigration point and enter Thailand. If you want to come straight back into Laos you simply have to cross the road to the Thai immigration to exit the country. Once again, get the shuttle bus and then arrive at the Lao side, where you can apply for a Laos Visa on Arrival.

• Your passport must have at least 6 months of remaining validity and a blank page for a visa stamp and don’t forget to take enough cash (US dollars) for the visa fee (see visa fee list) and two passport sized photos.

• This option can work out cheaper than $2 per day if you plan to stay for more than 20 more days.

Laos visa extension through a Travel Agent or a Specialist Provider:

Get a travel agent or specialist provider to do your Laos Visa Extension for you.

Most travel agents can arrange a Laos Visa Extension for you with small overhead fee. This varies between providers, so shop around for the best deal.

This option is better for those holding visas other than tourist visas, because it involves more paper work and it's more complicated and would take you more time and money if you did it yourself.

I would also recommend this option to holders of tourist visas who plan to travel in provinces other than Vientiane Capital where there are no immigration offices and the visa run (exit the country and enter again) option is not possible.

Laos Visa on Arrival
Where can I get a Lao visa on arrival?
Who CAN get Laos Visas on Arrival?
Requirements for getting visa on arrival Laos
Laos Visa Exemption
Laos Visa on Arrival Fee
Laos visa on arrival procedures
Tourist Visa for Laos
Laos Tourist Visa Requirements
Lao tourist Visa Fee
Types of Laos visas (Requirements, Procedures and Costs)
Lao checkpoints - Border Crossing and Airports


Laos visa types

Types of Laos visas (Requirements, Procedures and Costs)

All foreign visitors to Laos need a Laos Visa to enter the country, except for citizens of Japan, The Republic of Korea, Russia, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and ASEAN member countries. Passport holders of these countries are eligible to enter Laos and stay for 15-30 days without a visa.

ASEAN Member Countries
  1. Brunei Darussalam
  2. Cambodia
  3. Indonesia
  4. Laos
  5. Malaysia
  6. Myanmar
  7. Philippines
  8. Singapore
  9. Thailand
  10. Vietnam

Note: All efforts are made to keep information on this page up-to-date, however, it is recommended that you contact the Lao embassy or consulate near you for the most current visa information.
This section provides information about all available types of Visa for Laos, depending on nationality (according to your passport), the purpose of your visit and how long you plan to stay in Laos.

Types of available Visas for Laos
  • Tourist Visa, Visa on arrival (30-day, extendable)
  • Visit Visa (30-day, extendable)
  • Business Visa (30-day, extendable)
  • Transit Visa (7-day, not extendable)
  • Diplomatic visa (6-12 months, extendable)
  • Official Visa (6-12 months, extendable)
  • Courtesy Visa (6-12 months, extendable)

1. Tourist Visa (T)

A 30-day Tourist Visa for Laos can be obtained at embassies or general consulates of the Lao PDR in foreign countries. Check out if there is Lao Embassy in your area.

It is also available at International airports in Laos and International border crossing points. Check out Laos visa on arrival page for more info.

2. Visit Visa (or B3 Visa)

Visit Visa for Laos is for citizens of countries that don't have a visa exemption agreement with Laos, who hold ordinary passports and intend to visit relatives working or living in Laos. It is available from Lao embassies or Consulates in foreign countries.

Visitors holding this type of Laos visa can remain in Laos for up to 30 days and can extend by up to a further two months, but are not entitled to work or apply for multiple entry visas.

Applicants for a Laos visit visa need to have a proof of a guarantor in Laos (a guarantee letter certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Laos), and need to allow at least 3-5 working days for consulate to issue the visa.

Requirements are same as those for tourist visa plus a proof of guarantor in Laos.

3. Business Visa (or B2 visa)

A Business Visa is for businesspersons, or those will be working in Laos for a company, a project, or an organization, who hold ordinary passports and have someone to "sponsor" them (a company or individual in Laos).

A multiple entry visa can be obtained for a period of 3 months, 6 months or 1 year from Lao embassies or Consulates in foreign countries (provided that it is arranged in advance).

Procedures for getting Business Visa (or B2 visa)

Your "sponsor" in Laos (a company, an individual or an organization that you will be working with) must go to the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Vientiane to request a visa for you by offering a "guarantee".

Once this request is approved by the MFA, the approval will be communicated to the Lao Embassy specified by your sponsor at the time s/he requested the visa in Vientiane.

Your sponsor then needs to give you a proof of MFA's approval as you will be asked for it (can be a copy of the approved letter or just its reference number). Once you have this, you then can apply for the business visa for Laos at the specified Lao Embassy or Laos checkpoints (on your arrival).

The process is quite lengthy, it normally takes 1-3 months and you need to have someone in Laos to do it for you. Most people use the service of specialist providers or travel agents.

4. Transit Visa (Tr)

A Transit Visa for Laos is available for travelers transiting through Laos to a third country. Holders of this type of Laos visa can stay in Laos for up to 7 days. Work is prohibited and it is not extendable.

Travelers applying for a transit visa are required to show a proof of an onward journey (such as an air ticket and entry visa for the third country) within seven days.

5. Diplomatic Visa (A1)

A Diplomatic Visa is issued to diplomatic passport holders, including consular officers, heads of the United Nations Agencies and International Organisations, and their spouses and children.

The diplomatic visa is exempted from a visa fee. Multiple entry visas for a period of one year can be obtained and can be renewed each year till the completion of assignments.

6. Official Visa (A2)

The Official Visa is similar to the diplomatic one (exempted from a Laos visa fee), however, it is for staff members of Diplomatic Missions, Consulates, United Nations Agencies and other International Organizations and their spouses and children holding official passports.

Multiple entry visas for a period of one year can be obtained and can be renewed every year till the completion of their assignments.

7. Courtesy Visa (B1)

The Courtesy Visa is for foreign experts and their spouses and children holding diplomatic, official and ordinary passports taking assignments under bilateral cooperation or grant assistance projects for the Government of Laos.

The courtesy visa is exempted from a Laos visa fee. Multiple entry visas for a period of 6 months can be obtained and can be renewed every 6 months till the completion of their assignments.

Visa Requirements for getting Courtesy Visa (B1)

Two application forms filled out in duplicate.

Original passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity and a blank page for a visa stamp.
2-3 recent passport-type photographs.