After the long wait, traveling has finally been given the go signal! With popular destinations to choose from, Laos might just be the perfect getaway for that long overdue vacation you have all been waiting for.
Regardless of where you’re from, you will most likely need a Laos visa.
In this article, we’ll be going through everything you need to know, including which countries are exempted from a visa, Laos visa types, ways to apply for it, how long a visa is valid, the cost of a Laos visa, and how to extend your visa for Laos.
With reference to the Lao Government measures to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue to spread on a vast scale across the globe. As a result, the Lao government has extended the period of suspending the Lao eVisa service with an effective date from 20th April 2020 until further notice from the Lao Government.
Citizens Exempted from Laos Visa
Though the listed countries are exempted from a visa to enter Laos based on Laos visa policy, there are various lengths of stay, depending on which country’s citizenship you have. These countries include:
- Brunei (for 14 days)
- Cambodia (for 30 days)
- Indonesia (for 30 days)
- Japan (for 15 days)
- Luxembourg (for 15 days)
- Malaysia (for 30 days)
- Mongolia (for 30 days)
- Myanmar (for 14 days)
- Philippines (for 30 days)
- Russia (for 30 days)
- Singapore (for 30 days)
- South Korea (for 30 days)
- Switzerland (for 15 days)
- Thailand (for 30 days)
- Vietnam (for 30 days)
If you are a citizen from any of these countries and want to extend your stay, you can either apply for an eVisa online or on arrival, whichever suits you best.
How to Apply for a Laos Visa
To apply for a Laos visa, you have three possible methods (depending on your nationality), they include:
- Online for eVisa
- On arrival
- At an Embassy nearby or Consulate of Laos
For more details on each of these alternatives, read on to learn more.
Laos Visa Online or Laos eVisa
If you are eligible to apply for a Laos visa on arrival, but you want to apply before arriving, you can check for more information here.
Please remember that the Laos eVisa can only be issued for tourism purposes only. Longer-term visas will require an appointment with the Lao consulate.
To apply for the visa, visit the official Laos visa site. For general requirements, you will need to:
- Fill and complete the online application form (you can apply for up to 5 people in one application)
- Attach the necessary documents
- A most recent self-portrait with a white background (4 cm by 6 cm)
- Your passport’s cover page
- Your passport’s bio page
- Other documents (depending on your reason for entering Laos grounds)
- Pay the USD 31 to USD 45 Laos visa application fee (again, this depends on your nationality)
- Sit tight for your visa to be processed. Considering all goes well, it should take around three working days (this will take longer if there are application issues).
- Download the visa letter of approval sent via email. The approval letter will be valid for 60 days, so ensure you plan ahead of time.
Once you touchdown in Laos soil, make your way to the immigrations sector for eVisa holders, then show your passport and the eVisa approval letter.
The Lao immigration officers will review them and will be the ones to give the go signal to enter Laos.
Please take note that the e-Visa will only be usable in the following checkpoints:
- Thai Friendship Bridge I in Vientiane
- Thai Friendship Bridge II in Savannakhet
- Wattay International Airport
- Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang
- Pakse International Airport in Champasack
Laos Visa on Arrival
If you choose to apply on arrival, make your way to the visa on arrival issuing counter and have the following documents all set:
- Your passport (valid for the next 6 months)
- A filled Laos Visa on Arrival form (you can get this at the airport or at the airplane)
- Accommodation proof documents (such as a hotel or villa booking)
- At least two 4 cm by 6 cm self-portraits (passport-sized dimensions)
- USD 30 to USD 45 to cover the Laos visa cost (exact amount may vary based on nationality)
- Financial proof you have enough to accommodate yourself throughout your stay in Laos
- A valid return or onward travel ticket
- A visa or ticket to your next destination (if applicable)
Once you have submitted all these required documents, sit back and wait for your name to be called. They will call you after 15 minutes (give or take) when your visa is good to go.
A visa for a maximum of 30 days will be handed to you. Please take note of these checkpoints that will enable you to apply for your visa on arrival.
- Wattay International Airport
- Savan International Airport
- Pakse International Airport
- Luang Prabang International Airport
- Friendship Bridge IV Checkpoint in Bokeo
- Tanalaeng Checkpoint in Vientiane
- Friendship Bridge I Checkpoint in Vientiane
- Friendship Bridge III Checkpoint in Khammouane
- Friendship Bridge II Checkpoint in Savannakhet
- Vang Tao Checkpoint in Champasak
- Namheuang Checkpoint in Xayabouly
- Samliemkham Checkpoint in Bokeo (Thailand and Myanmar Border)
- Na Pao Checkpoint in Khammouane
- Daensavan Checkpoint in Savannakhet
- Nonghaed Checkpoint in Xieng Khouang
- Nam Phao Checkpoint in Bolikhamxay
- Phou Keua Checkpoint in Eutapeu
- Veun Kham Checkpoint in Champasak
- Boten Checkpoint in Luang Namtha
Laos Visa at an Embassy
Here is how to apply for a Laos visa at an embassy:
- Contact your local embassy or consulate
- Fill and complete the e Laos visa application form on the embassy or consulate website (you can apply either in-person or via mail, following the instructions given by the Lao consular services)
- Pay the USD 30 to USD 45 Laos visa application fee
Please note the following reminders:
- The Visa application process may change slightly over time, depending on where you are applying from. This is why contacting the Lao embassy or consulate first is essential to make sure you get everything right. Find the diplomatic missions of Laos.
- You should only apply at an embassy if you are not able to get a visa on arrival or online visa, or if you choose to stay longer than the allowed duration of stay on your visa on arrival or eVisa.
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Types of Laos Visas Available
Depending on what your purpose of entering Laos is, there are various visas you can apply for. These include Tourist, Business, Transit, Work, Media, Student, and Spouse visas.
The tourist visa is your typically issued visa for anyone visiting Lao as an everyday tourist. This can be obtained online and on arrival.
The business visa is what you should be applying for those who travel to crunch numbers, analyze investments or any other business-related endeavor.
Please note that this is NOT equivalent to a Laos work visa, as you don’t work for a Lao company.
As the name implies, the transit visa is for those who will only be transiting before going on their next flight. This visa is only valid for 7 days and is non-extendable.
To attain this visa, you will need documentation as proof that you will be onward traveling.
This is issued for foreigners who choose to work in Laos, including their family members, should you be making the shift as an entire household.
The media visa is specifically for all the foreign journalists who are traveling for their endeavors.
The student visa is given to all foreign students who have been admitted and accepted to a Lao educational institution. Ensure you have all the necessary documentation upon arrival.
The spouse visa is for spouses of any Lao national in the country.
Laos Visa Requirements
To ensure your Laos visa application process go as smooth as butter, please make sure you have the following in place and ready:
- Your valid passport (for at least another 6 months from the application)
- Laos visa application form. You can get this by either downloading it online (if you apply through an embassy of Laos), on the plane, or at the airport (if you apply upon arrival)
- At least two most recent 4 cm by 6 cm passport-sized self-portraits (with a white background)
- Documentation or any proof of where you will be staying in Laos (e.g., hotel or villa)
- Financial documents as proof you will be able to accommodate yourself throughout your stay.
- A return trip or onward ticket.
- Any other additional documents the Lao consular services may request (this depends on your reason for travel, so ensure you recheck requirements if you’re a non-tourist).
Lao Visa FAQ
How long is my Laos Visa Valid for?
A successfully applied Lao tourist visa is typically valid for a maximum of 30 days. If you applied online (for the eVisa), please remember you have 60 days to use the visa approval letter to make entry to Laos soil.
How much does a Laos Visa cost?
While this may depend on your nationality, the typical cost for a Laos visa is USD 31 to USD 45 for a one-time 30-day Laos visa.
How to Extend a Laos Visa
To extend your Laos visa, you can do so at either the Immigration Department in Vientiane or the Immigration Division Office of the current province you are in.
Ensure you apply for a visa extension BEFORE your current visa expires. You can only extend your 30-day tourist visa a maximum of two times, totaling a maximum stay of 90 days.
A Lao visa extension costs USD 48; this includes the USD 21 extension fee and the USD 27 service fee.