Laos visa on arrival and Laos e visa conditions
I think one of the best ways to describe Laos is through a poetic quote I once saw on their tourism booklet: "a land of untouched wonder and rare beauty, where time loses meaning and simplicity prevails." I am already dissolving in this zen state just thinking about being there. It displays well that Laos is one of the most laid-back destinations one might encounter. Breathtaking nature, rich cultural diversity, and complicated but interesting history that spans thousands of years. So much to explore and fall in love with! The only thing you will miss is the sea, but don't get too disappointed - the land has uncountable mesmerizing lakes. There you will find the most beautiful beaches on the backdrop of thickly forested landscape and mountains - a perfect occasion to dip your toes and refresh the body. It is no surprise that it has become one of Southeast Asia's favourite destinations for those globetrotters looking for experiences off the beaten track!
If you, too, are planning a trip and looking for more information about applying for a Laos visa without the need to visit an embassy, you are in the right spot! Most travellers can easily get a Laos tourist visa without even leaving home, making much sense. First, it saves loads of time for the ones travelling, as well as the officials. So, in turn, it just allows reducing the cost of Laos visa significantly.
Additionally, it is a rather inclusive system because it makes the applications way easier for the people who cannot visit the embassy in person conveniently. Let me paint you a picture from a real-life situation. Imagine you are in one of the bordering countries, like Thailand or Vietnam. Suddenly you decide that you would want to add another country to your list by dropping by Laos for a few days on the same trip. Fill out an online application form, and voila, you are eligible to do that in a few days! Ok, this is just one of the examples, but you got the idea.
To make you more aware of what is to be expected from the process, all in all, today I will tell you a bit more about the peculiarities on how to get Laos visa on arrival or online. Not only will I tell how much is a Laos visa on arrival different from the one obtained online (FYI - not much!), but it also givesan insight into the requirements to filling a Laos visa application form! Let's get on with it.
What is the difference between obtaining a visa for Laos online and on-arrival?
In addition to the obvious differences in obtaining a visa, you should know that the main difference between the two is eligibility. According to Laos visa policy, only nationals of a few countries can get this important document after landing in the country. However, everyone except people who need to complete their application process through the embassy would be eligible for an eVisa.
Also, not all entry points in the country allow entering with eVisa - consider this carefully while planning your itinerary! The holders of e-visa will be allowed to enter Laos in the following places: Wattay International Airport (Vientiane Capital), Lao – Thai Friendship Bridge I (Vientiane Capital), Luang Prabang International Airport (Luang Prabang), Lao – Thai Friendship Bridge II (Savannakhet Province), Pakse International Airport (Champasack Province). Both of these application types will grant you a 30-day visa, but the rules for extending the stay might differ.
Who needs to apply for Laos visa?
It would be quite a boring article if I was to name long lists of the countries here, wouldn't it? Let's just say - apply for a visa unless you are from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, or Vietnam. Other than that - read more about the eligibility for eVisa.
Also keep in mind the fact that if you travel for any other reasons than tourism, you will have to hand in your Laos visa application form in one of the diplomatic missions. This applies to you if you need to obtain: visa for visiting relatives, media visa, labor visa, investor visa, student visa, spouse visa, or expert visa.
How to apply for Laos visa?
We have been talking about the topic for a moment already. Obviously, you can get a visa to Laos in one of the three ways - online, on arrival, or in one of the diplomatic missions. To get it out of the way - currently, nationals from 27 countries will need to turn to an embassy to get it done. Please check the list hereand if you seem to be a holder of one of these passports - sorry, but this article will not be of great use for you. On the other hand, if you are not on this list, the application should be super easy through their very convenient eVisa page.
So how to get Laos visa on arrival? According to the official websites, it is supposed to be quite easy if you have all the necessary documents with you. After entering the airport, just head to the window market with a "visa on arrival" sign and you will be able to arrange it rather quickly. To speed up the process I suggest printing and filling out the Laos visa on arrival form so you can give it together with the rest of the required information. Don't worry if you don't have it with you - they will give you an empty Laos visa on arrival form on the spot and you can fill it out right there, too. Easy as that!
Are Laos visa requirements the same if you apply online or in the airport?
I have researched the visa requirements of many countries thus far. And I have seen the most intricate lists of things you need to prove. Let me tell you one thing - Laos visa requirements are generally quite easy. At least, the ones for anyone who wants to get a Laos tourist visa. Both for eVisa as well as the on arrival one, you will need to hand in: application form, a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your departure from Laos (and photocopies of the cover page, the main page), new photography (not older than 6 months). And when entering the country you will have to present your travel itinerary, like a booked flight and confirmed proof of accommodation. If you are aiming at applying for an on-arrival visa, the officials will want to see that you can sustain yourself financially during this trip, too. That means you will have to be able to present bank statements, cash, travelers' cheques, vouchers, etc. to the officials. That's it. Not too complicated, is it?
What is the cost of Laos visa?
The fees you would have to pay to obtain a visa to enter Laos are rather democratic. An eVisa will cost you about 45-57 USD (check the fee for your case here) and you will pay it on the last step of your online application process. If you are wondering how much is a Laos visa on arrival - it's even cheaper! Depending on your country of origin it will be from 30 to 42 USD.
What is the processing time of a Laos tourist visa?
The good thing about not having to apply through an embassy (processing time of about 2 weeks), is the quick time you can get your travel document. Applying online will usually take about 3 days (a bit longer during national holidays), but doing it on arrival will get you the document in no time. With that, I mean just 30+ minutes!
Yet another beautiful country to visit, isn't it? Let's recap the main aspects I talked about in this article. First, you can say thanks to all the millions of tourists that have paved the path for you now. Being such a popular destination, the officials have shaped Laos visa policy into a convenient one. Unless you are traveling for reasons other than tourism, very few countries are not eligible to apply for Laos visa either online or on arrival. The application process is rather uncomplicated and does not cost too much compared to some other destinations. Great news for you, isn't it? I hope your plans turn out well and your visit to Laos leaves you with everlasting memories! The only thing there is left to say is Bon Voyage!
* Please take into consideration that the Lao government is committed to preventing the outbreak of COVID-19. It is the reason why the Lao eVisa service is currently suspended until further notice from the official entities. The information mentioned in the article refers to the standard procedures and may currently be different due to health concerns. You will find the latest information on their eVisa website or by contacting the closest Laos diplomatic mission.
Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday.