Jun 13 2011

How to get a visa for Burma in Phnom Penh

Published by at 9:58 am under Visas

Recently Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party, the National League for Democracy, said that they would begin to support responsible individual tourism, ending their years-long opposition to visitors in Burma (Myanmar).

And you thought the embassy queue was bad. Refugee camp on the Thai/Burma border.

And you thought the embassy queue was bad. Refugee camp on the Thai/Burma border.

And now that Myanmar Airways International flies from Siem Reap to Rangoon every Wednesday and Saturday, Cambodia is an easy gateway to Burma. Since Siem Reap does not have a Burmese embassy, secure your visa in Phnom Penh before heading out.

To get a 28-day tourist visa, you need the following:

– 2 completed visa application forms
– 2 passport-sized photos
– a passport valid for at least 6 months
– $20 (payable when you pick your visa up)

The 28-day visa is valid for three months. Processing time takes two weeks, and express service is not available.

If you work at a large NGO, at the UN or any other organisation that the Burmese government might find questionable, it is advised that you bring a letter from your employer stating the purpose of your visit. I was told that this would speed the visa application process along, and if you work for one of these organisations, you may not get the visa without a letter. If you don’t work for an NGO or other suspect organisation, bringing a business card may still be helpful.

Recent applicants have advised that regardless of your type of employment, bringing a letter with proof of employment (or previous employment) may be required. So if you want to be safe, have a letter ready when you go to apply.

Although getting a visa for Burma is said to be relatively easy in Phnom Penh, and the following is not strictly necessary, it can also be helpful to write up a copy of your travel itinerary and bring copies of your flight itinerary. Remember, issuing the visa is entirely at the discretion of the embassy, and they can refuse to grant it for any reason. So plan ahead and bring as much information as possible to try to get your visa application process to go smoothly.

Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
181 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh.
T: 023 223 761

The office hours of the Myanmar Embassy are Monday to Friday, 8:00-12:30 and 14:00-17:00.

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16 responses so far

16 Responses to “How to get a visa for Burma in Phnom Penh”

  1. David Brookeson 14 Jun 2011 at 12:28 pm

    That’s great information, thanks very much. Is it, or do you think it will be soon, possible to rode through on a motorbike yet?

  2. Wolfyon 15 Jun 2011 at 9:05 pm

    that’s a complete NONSENSE information, because EVERYONE , no matter which nationality, can get a VISA ON ARRIVAL in Yangon when on that flight from REP to RGN. definitely NO NEED to apply for a Visa in advance. that’s how they boost those Myanmar International Airways flights.
    Same goes for the CAN – RGN flights on MIA (not sure if they started to operate yet, but once they do, it’s the same procedure)

  3. adminon 16 Jun 2011 at 7:43 am

    Hi Wolfy,

    Bus don’t you need to organise the visa on arrival via the embassy before hand? Plus I’ve read elsewhere that many nationalities (eg Australians, Canadians, British, Thai and Singaporean) are not eligible for MVOA.

    More details here: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/219

    If you’ve got a link to an alternative view, that would be great.


  4. Wolfyon 18 Jun 2011 at 12:05 am

    Please check these links:






    it is clearly NOT a pre-arranged VOA. such thing did exist too, and most probably still exists, but is quite a complicated affair.

    Pity you don’t have MYANMAR/BURMA included in your website ! it is such a wonderful place with the loveliest people one can imagine….
    maybe you need someone who is familiar with the country a little – me being there again in July, to have another BLAST at this year’s TAUNGBYON-festival….. partying with ten-thousands of locals 24 hrs a day for 6 days…. with not a single foreigner in sight ( at least not after 10 p.m. until sunrise ^^ ). this festival is a RIOT ;-)

  5. laurellyeon 27 Jun 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I just tried to apply for the Burma visa in Phnom Penh. According to the embassy officials, IT IS REQUIRED that you bring a letter from your employer, or a business card, or an identity card stating your position, no matter what your occupation is. My partner and I could not apply without one. (I’m a teacher, he’s an engineer.) We are currently unemployed, and don’t have business cards, so we were told that we’ll have to get a letter from our previous employer. Apparently, they need some sort of ‘proof’ that you are the occupation that you say you are. Ridiculous? Yes. Necessary? Yes.

  6. Linaon 28 Jun 2011 at 12:16 am

    @laurellye Thanks for the update! This is definitely not what they told me when I went in a few weeks ago, but I didn’t actually apply for a visa at that time. I’ve updated this post to reflect your experience. Anything else in your experience differ from what they told me?

  7. Geoffrey Hilleron 15 Jul 2011 at 3:12 am

    As recent as late june 2011 I flew from Siem Reap to Yangon on the MAI flight and was able to get a visa on arrival in Yangon. It costs $30 for a 28 day visa. I was given this info from a clerk at the Burma embassy in Phnom Phen- otherwise it would have taken 10-14 days to process.

    I booked the flight at VLK travel in PP (479 Kampuchea Krom RD)

    This is a new program and am not sure how long it will last.

  8. Anneon 21 Jul 2011 at 11:57 am

    Hi Geoffrey – what is your nationality? Do you know if VOA availability varies by nationality? (I want to go to Burma and am American).

    I am concerned as the US State Department travel site says Burma suspended the VOA program in May 2010.

    What documentation did you need to get the VOA at the airport in Yangon?


  9. KirstyBon 21 Feb 2012 at 7:04 pm

    It seems there may be the possibility that the Myanmar Embassy in PP is speeding up its visa processing time ……. I phoned them a few days ago to check the procedure – the requirements were all as per above (passport with 6 months, $20 and 2 photos), except I was told that the processing time would be only 5 working days. The guy did say that I should bring a letter of employment but when I told him I was currently not working, just travelling, he said that would be OK and no further documentation would be required. I didn’t put this all to the test as since I’m flying from Siem Reap I’ve gone for the VOA option but the faster processing time sounds promising ………

  10. LenaLon 11 Apr 2012 at 10:58 am

    Hi Kirsty, I’m planning on visiting Burma next month. How did the VOA go? Any difficulties? Would you advise getting a visa ahead of time instead?

    Many thanks.

  11. KirstyBon 16 Apr 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Lena
    Apologies for the delay and I hope my reply doesn’t come too late for you (I was in China where access to TF is blocked). All worked well with the visa on arrival.  When we booked the flight Myanma Airlines gave us the visa forms which we completed ready for our arrival. One tip is that they only gave us 1 copy of the form whereas you are required to complete 2 identical forms. No big deal but we then had to fill out a duplicate when we arrived and couldn’t jump straight in with our application. Most people didn’t appear to have forms in advance so if you can complete 2 in advance you’ll save a bit of time.  It’s a bit disorderly, handing your passports in at one window, hope they don’t end up too near the bottom of the pile, and collect and pay at a third window when yours gets held up. 1 passport photo was required but I’d carry 2 just in case. At the payment window so begins the “battle of the crispy dollars” that continues throughout the country.  There were probably around 20 or so people getting a VOA and the process probably took 20-30 minutes – enough time for the main immigration queue to go down and the bags to come through. 

    The cost is US$30 against US$20 if you get it at the embassy in PP. I was in Siem Reap so it made sense to do VOA but if you’re in PP you could save US$10. As I mentioned, when I called them they gave me a much shorter processing time than previously; you have to apply in person and I don’t know what they’re like in PP but when I got my previous Burmese visa in Vientiane in December they were quite picky asking lots of questions and rejecting my photos so from that point of view VOA was simpler. 

    PS the bank in Siem Reap thought I was slightly mad wanting to change the authenticity checked and red
    marked $100 bills from the ATM for un-marked ones but the Burmese don’t even like those little red c’s even if the rest of the note is perfect!

    Have a great trip …….

  12. Gillypon 25 Sep 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I’ve just got back from Myanmar.

    It was a great and high speed trip from KL, Malaysia to Yanong, Mandalay, Hsipaw, Mandalay again, Bagan and back to Yanong before catching my return flight to KL.

    11 september 2012 I was turned back by Airasia employees at KL LCCT airport when trying to board my first flight to Yanong – reason? I had no visa and was hoping to get one on arrival. Airasia kindly allowed me to repeat the flight after obtaining the necessary 28 day travel visa.

    The Myanmar embassy, foreign visa section is a no frills outside and, when raining, muddy affair. You do need to take passport photos (your head on a white background), fill in a form issued by the visa officials and give up your passport for Approx. 3 days. I gave my passport (and crisp USD$) in on the Monday morning and was instructed to pick it back up on the Thursday afternoon between 4-5pm.

    Apart from having to wait around in plastic fantastic KL for a few days the process was fairly painless.

    I’m looking to go back to Myanmar/Burma ASAP as I really enjoyed my time there and experience wih a wide range of kindly and inquisitive Burmese peoples.

    Advice – Those who want grade A treatment, first class western service and get huffy if things don’t go according to your plan – try a western country rather than Myanmar.

    Happy travels

    PS and sorry for *shouting* but TAKE CRISP NEW US DOLLARS and reject any dollars given to you, by banks/cambios, before you go that aren’t pristine. For example a dollar bill with a rip, a fold or crease (down the middle) , biro or ink marks will be rejected by hotels, shops, travel agents and banks in Myanmar…businesses will try and palm these sorts of bills off on you too…you have been warned!

  13. Ren Saronon 15 Feb 2013 at 6:27 am

    Dear sir/madam
    my name is saron and i was born in kom pong province in local rubber tree plantation and now i am interesting about myanmar country and i would like apply for a visa to visit there for a while. actually i also like their culture and religion after they changed the leader. i always look on internet youtube about people life there. the Visa is difficult to get or easy ??
    from saron

  14. Pinon 03 Apr 2013 at 10:57 am

    The visa on arrival is for business visa only. You can try pre-arrange visa on arrival. It works like a vietnam visa. Worth trying if you have no time to go to a Myanmar embassy or if you do not want to send your passport via post or travel without it.

  15. Darrenon 04 Apr 2013 at 3:24 am

    Interesting topic. Saron, for your information getting a visa to myanmar as easy as ABC since the country had already implemented online visa like cambodia e-visa. What you have to do is just applying it through online and there’s couple of sources which helps. I did my visa through http://www.evisaasia.com few months back when I was travelling to Myanmar with my family during Chinese New Year Festival. I recommend it because the application is easy and user-friendly. You may filled up more than 10 applicant in one time and saving lots of energy :P.

    By the way happy enjoying your holiday in Myanmar and its a great place to visit with the cultures.

  16. […] though, if one works for a large NGO, the UN or some other suspect organization, an employer letter regarding the purpose of the visit may be […]

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