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How to Apply for a Laos Visa

How to Apply for a Laos Visa

By Wendy Updated Aug. 31, 2023

Laos now reopens to travelers. From January 1st, 2022, travelers from US, UK, Germany, France, Canada, Australia, etc. can enter Laos without quarantine.

People of most nationalities will need a visa to enter Laos. The process for getting a Laos visa is straightforward for citizens from over 180 countries and regions of the world as it can either be obtained on arrival or some nationalities can take advantage of a visa-free agreement.

Read on to see if you need a visa to visit Laos, as well as how to apply for a visa on arrival or an eVisa.

Visa Requirement

Laos has different visa policies for passport holders from different countries. Read on to find out if you can enjoy a visa-free policy, apply for a visa on arrival or an eVisa, or need to apply for a visa in advance.

  • 30 days visa-free: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam
  • 15 days visa-free or 30 days eVisa: Japan, Luxembourg, Switzerland
  • 14 days visa-free or 30 days eVisa: Brunei, Myanmar
  • 30 days visa on arrival or eVisa: Other countries and regions (excluding the countries listed below)
  • Passport holders from the following countries need to apply for a visa in advance and cannot apply for an eVisa: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, DR 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, Zimbabwe

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How to Apply for a Laos Visa on Arrival

You can obtain your visa – usually a tourist visa – upon arrival at most of the international airports, ports, and border crossings, BUT NOT:

  • Pakxan-Bueng Kan (Thailand)
  • Napao-Chalo (Vietnam)
  • Xieng Kok river port (Myanmar)
  • Subhun (China)

The tourist visa processing time depends on the port of entry. It takes around 15 minutes at major airports and might be a bit longer at border crossings.

To save time, line up at the visa window and prepare the following papers in advance:

  • One completed visa application form (the form is available at the window).
  • Original passport with at least 6 months' validity and 2 blank pages.
  • 2 recent, passport-sized photographs.
  • Visa fee.
  • Your old passport (if you have one).
  • Supporting documents e.g. sponsors' letters or certificates (when applying non-tourist visas).

If you don't have recent photos available, they can be taken at the entry port.

Processing fee ranges from $30 to $42 depending on the origin of the passport, the office where you apply, and the currency you use to pay. Generally, paying in USD is cheaper than paying in Lao kip.

A tourist visa is valid for a single entry within 60 days from the date of issue, and up to 30 days from the date of entry.

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How to Apply for a Laos eVisa

A Laos eVisa is available since July 2019.

You can visit to submit your information and pay the fee. The website is in English.

Usually, your eVisa will be issued within 3 working days. After your application has been processed, you can download your visa approval letter from the website above. Like the visa on arrival, an eVisa is valid for a single entry within 60 days from the date of issue, and up to 30 days from the date of entry.

If your application is denied, you will get an email with detailed information.

Please note, you can only use your eVisa to enter Laos through the following ports:

  • Wattay International Airport (Vientiane)
  • First Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge (Vientiane)
  • Luang Prabang International Airport

Visa Extensions

Tourist visas can be extended before the expiry date at the cost of $2 per day, in the immigration offices in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

The extension process is straightforward: Complete an application form, submit your passport and pay the fees. Usually your extension can be picked up the same day if you submit your application in the morning.

If you want to stay for more than a few days and are near the border anyway, you could cross the border then return to Laos with a new 30-day visa.

Most travel agencies provide a visa extension service with some processing fees. This option is better for those who hold non-tourist visas, since these are more complicated to extend and involve more paperwork.

Overstay Penalties

Overstaying a visa in Laos costs $10 per day. If you overstay, you will be fined accordingly at the immigration checkpoint on departure.

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Visa Lost

Loss of your visa/passport could result in a fine and curtailment of your travel plans. Asia Highlights recommends that our customers keep a photocopy of their passport and visa somewhere separate and/or keep electronic versions on an accessible device.

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