How to apply visa for travelling to Laos

A visa is an authorization given to an individual to enter and temporarily remain in a country or to travel out of that country. Since visas are a request to be permitted either to leave or enter a country one has to go through a process to legally acquire this very important document.

All visitors going to Laos must possess a valid passport. Visas can either be obtained from Lao embassies and consulates in other countries across the world or at international checkpoints in Laos.

The requirements for one to successfully apply for a visa in Laos include

  • Filled out application form
  • Two recent passport size photos
  • A passport with at least six months validity
  • If you are applying via mail, enclose prepaid envelope for return of your passports.
  • Visa processing fees. The fees must be paid in form of money order or a certified check.

Tourist and business visas are valid for 30 days starting from the entry date into Laos. If you need an extension on your visa validity beyond the specified 30 days, you can apply for an extension at the Laos immigration office in Vientiane. It cost US$2 per day if you apply before the expiry date. However, if you leave it until your visa expires you will be fined an additional US$10 per day for the days you over stayed.

All nationals without Lao passports require visas to enter Laos except citizens from the 15 countries listed below. These countries include:
– Brunei (14)
– Cambodia (30)
– Indonesia (30)
– Japan (15)
– Luxembourg (15)
– Malaysia (30)
– Mongolia (30)
– Myanmar (14)
– Philippines (30)
– Russia (15)
– Singapore (15)
– South Korea (15)
– Switzerland (15)
– Thailand (30)
– Vietnam (30)
Note: The allowed length of stay in number of days is shown in parenthesis.

The processing time for a visa in Laos can vary from one to five working days.

Children should also possess visas if they are to be permitted into Laos. Adults travelling alone with children should also be aware that they may be required to produce documentary evidence of parental responsibility before entering the country. Bring paperwork just in case.

If you are travelling with a pet you require a veterinary certificate for the pet.

The Laos government also requires that you have sufficient funds for your stay in Laos and also can afford a return ticket. It’s unlikely that you will be asked to provide proof, but just in case bring your last few bank statements, tax returns or salary slips.

Once you have obtained your visa you are good to go and you can enjoy your stay in Laos without fear of breaking the law. It is however important to note that most international carriers decline to carry into Laos passengers with no valid visa to avoid incurring heavy fines. People of unsound mind or those with health problems may be denied the opportunity to apply for a visa. It is advisable for everyone travelling to check updated rules on visas since they tend to change regularly.

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