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Phnom Penh

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Getting a visa for Laos in Phnom Penh

With direct flights going from Phnom Penh to Vientiane on Lao Airlines (code-shared with Vietnam Airlines), you can go directly to Laos by air or by land. For many, there’s the option of getting a visa on arrival at Vientiane’s Wattay international airport or at the Veun Kham/Dom Kralor crossing, but if you’d prefer to sort it out in advance, getting a visa for Laos in Phnom Penh is a simple procedure.

How Lao can you go?

If you’d like to get your visa for Laos in Phnom Penh, you’ll need:

– original passport with 6 months validity
– 2 application forms (available at the embassy)
– 2 passport-sized photos

Tourist visas are valid for 2 months with a single-entry, 30-day duration of stay.

According to the sign posted, normal visa processing takes 48 hours and “very express visa” processing takes 12 hours. When I asked about the express processing, I was told that it takes one day, but sometimes two. But usually one. What about same-day processing, I asked? Yes, very express, I was told. Drop it off at 8:00 and it might be ready by 17:00. Very express processing costs an additional $10.

Fees are $30 for Australians, $50 for Americans and $40 for those from the UK. The Lao Embassy in Phnom Penh does not accept $100 notes. Some travel agents in town can offer slightly cheaper rates, so it’s worth asking around.

The office hours at the Lao Embassy in Phnom Penh are Monday to Friday, 08:00-11:30 and 14:00-17:00.

When I visited, the embassy was almost completely empty and there was no wait time to speak to someone. However, the staff didn’t seem to understand many of my questions, so if you have a complicated or urgent request you might find it easier to use a local agent.

Embassy of the Lao PDR
15-17 Mao Tse Tung Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 997 931
F: (023) 720 907

About the author:
Previously, Lina has been based in Oakland, California, New York City, Dublin and London. Lina spends most of her time thinking about food, travel and synthpop. She's currently based in Siem Reap.

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