Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia bordered by Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Although it is one of the least developed countries in the world, Laos has been making great strides in its economy and infrastructure in recent years. Laos offers travelers a chance to experience a slower-paced lifestyle and natural beauty.
Most nationalities require a visa entry into Laos, and the application process is relatively simple. If you’re planning a trip to Laos, here’s what you need to know about applying for a visa.
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Laos, formally known as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Laos is bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southwest, and Thailand to the west and northwest. With a population of around Seven (7) million people, it is one of the least-populous countries in Asia.
The geography of Laos is characterized by mountainous terrain and dense tropical forests. The country has two major rivers, the Mekong and the Nam Ou, which provide transportation and hydropower.
Laos’ culture has been shaped by Theravada Buddhism, which is evident in the architecture and artwork of temples and monasteries. Laotian cuisine features sticky rice, fresh vegetables, and grilled meats. The economy of Laos is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism.
Laos has a rich history and culture, and many of its temples and monuments are well preserved. Visitors can learn about the country’s traditions and customs by visiting these sites.
Laos is also home to Southeast Asia’s best-preserved natural scenery. From the Mekong River to the Nam Ha National Protected Area, there are plenty of places to explore
Laos has a GDP of $19.47 billion. The country’s population is young and rapidly growing, making it an attractive business market. Laos has made strides in education in recent years, with the primary school enrollment rate increasing from 60% in 2009 to 80% in 2016. However, the quality of education remains poor, and there is a significant gap between rural and urban schools.
Laos Visa Policy
Visitors to Laos must obtain a visa from one of the Laotian diplomatic missions or online unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries or qualify for a visa on arrival. In addition, all visitors must hold a passport valid for six months.
Yes, most foreigners will need to have a visa to enter Laos. Only citizens of these countries are exempt from visa requirements. They are:
Brunei (for 15 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).
Visa on arrival countries
Non-visa-exempt individuals can apply for a visa to Laos upon arrival. However, citizens of some countries are not eligible to obtain a visa on arrival and must obtain them at an embassy. The eligible countries are:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, 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, or Zimbabwe.
Laos Visa types
The Lao government has different categories of visas. They are:
- Laos Tourist Visa. This visa may be obtained by tourists wishing to visit Laos. The Lao tourist visa for travelers is obtainable online or upon arrival in Laos.
- Laos Business Visa. This visa is granted to non-Lao nationals who wish to work in Laos for investment, research, or business operations purposes. This visa is not plenary [full, unrestricted] and is not permitted for employment.
- This Lao transit visa. This is issued to travelers who will travel through Laos in order to go to the third country. It’s valid for seven days and cannot be extended. To obtain this visa, you must show that you have evidence of onward travel.
- Laos work visa. This visa is issued to foreigners who wish to work in Laos and their family members.
- Laos’ Student Visas. Given to foreigners admitted to a Lao educational institution.
- Laos Spouse Visas. Issued to spouses of Lao nationals internationally.
How to obtain a visa for Laos
A Laos visa can be obtained in one of three ways, based on your citizenship.
- On arrival. At most entry ports.
- On the official site of the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Lao evisa can be issued.
- In Laos, in the Embassy or Consulate of Laos. For those who are not eligible to apply online or on arrival.
Laos Visa Requirements
At the Lao checkpoint, you will be required to approach the visa on arrival issuance counter and present the following documents:
- Your Passport(Valid for at least six months)
- You can get a Laos Visa On Arrival Form at the checkpoint or on the airplane.
- Evidence of good accommodation in Laos. e.g., a hotel.
- Two recent passport-size photographs.
- Cash to pay for the visa application fee in US dollars.
- Proof that you have enough money to cover the duration of your stay in Laos.
- An official return ticket or onward-crossing ticket.
The visa is processed within two weeks if you enter all your details. After that, you will be informed when your name is called; the visa will be processed for a maximum of 30 days.
Application process for Laos eVisa
- Find your passport and fill out the simple online form in five minutes.
- Get your approved document in a couple of days without leaving your home.
- Tender your passport and the visa when you arrive in Laos.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need a visa to visit Laos?
A visa is needed to visit Laos. Fines will be imposed on US citizens who overstay their expired visas, and a proper passport is required.
How much does a Laos visa cost?
The Laos visa fee is $30 to $45, depending on your nationality. Proof that you have sufficient financial resources to cover the duration of your stay in Laos. A confirmed return flight ticket or onward travel ticket.
Can I apply for a Laos visa online?
Starting this year, citizens of Laos can apply for a Lao eVisa online to submit a request for a 30-day visa at that location. The online visa for Laos is now available through an online application form.
Do UK citizens need a visa for Laos?
The Laotian government requires that British passport holders have a visa to enter Laos and the easiest way to do this is to apply for your visa when you arrive in the country. You will need USD 40, two recent passport photos, and a single-entry visa. A visa is due to last for 30 days.
How long can you live in Laos without needing a visa?
Laos is an excellent choice for travelers desiring to stay more than 30 days. eVisas may also be an option; however, they require additional paperwork and are not guaranteed approval. An embassy visa is another possibility, but the process is lengthy and difficult.
How long can a tourist stay in Laos?
Tourist visas are available on land at specific ports of entry, thus allowing 30 business days to be spent in the country. In addition, you may extend your visa up to an additional 60 days with the assistance of the Department of Immigration in Vientiane.
Is it worth visiting Laos?
Laos is the least spoiled and developed of Southeast Asian backpacking destinations. Therefore, a visit there is a one-time opportunity to see another version of this fascinating land.
Is Laos cheap?
Laos is considerably less expensive than other countries, although packages are pricey to tourists compared to other countries in the region. Examining the area yourself is typically more affordable than booking a tour that leaves at a predetermined time. You can take the motorbike or hire a tuk-tuk driver.
Is Laos safe to travel to?
Despite high rates of both petty and violent crime, Laos is generally a safe place to live. However, keep yourself safe and be cautious, as theft and violent crime are common in Laos.
What should I avoid in Laos?
Don’t touch a monk. Never wander without a guide. You do not argue with the police. Never touch anyone with your feet. No wearing of your shoes at home or a temple. No shouting, arguing, or hurry. Don’t make public displays of affection. Don’t buy antiques or wildlife products.
How much do you need to live and thrive in Laos?
Four family members estimated monthly expenses totaled 2,440 dollars before rent, and a single person estimated monthly expenses totaled 692 dollars without rent. The cost of living in Laos was, on average, 22.35 less than or equal to the United States. Rent in Laos was, on average, 69.34 less than in the United States.
In conclusion, travelers should be aware of the different types of visas available for Laos and the requirements and fees associated with each. By being prepared and knowing what to expect, travelers can make the visa application process much smoother and ensure a hassle-free trip to this Southeast Asian country.