I stupidly let my Visa expire. I'd like to fly from Phonsavan to Vientiane to pay the fine (and go out to Thailand and come back into Laos with another 30 day visa).
Am I going to have any trouble with Immigration in the Phonsavan airport with an expired visa? I have a reason for not riding the bus, which I won't go into here.
Any suggestions? Anyone fly domestically with an expired visa?
Since no one else has apparently been lame enough to let their visa expire...
I went into the Phonsavan Airport, opened my passport to the first page, stuck my boarding pass in there so they might not have a reason to go deeper into my passport. No problem. The immigration officer never even looked at the date stamps in the back. Also helped that he was chatting will some other staff at the time that I gave him my documents. (I should also note that I have been at an immigration office and at the border at Namsoi with an expired passport and the officials in both places didn't bat an eye when they saw I had overstayed. I don't think they really care as long as you move along to get the situation rectified.)
At the Laos/Thai border in Vientiane , the story was a bit different. I walked past the booth where you get the stamp in the hopes that the guy at the final check wouldn't bother. But he did his duty, saw the dates, and got up and called another official. Shyte. They chatted a bit. So, the first guy took me to his booth, chased off three other people who tried to wedge in beside me and calculated (incorrectly) that I owed $170 as I was 17 days late. First I showed him on the calculator that it was 14 days and not 17. Then I explained that I had gotten sick in Xam Ti (which was true, I wouldn't have wanted to get on a bus with intestinal problems). I explained (also true) the immigration officials in two towns had given me bad info, causing me to waste five travel days up to Sam Nuea, then to the border crossing at Namsoi, then back to Sam Nuea, then back to Xam Ti. I had bus tickets to show him. At that point I was hoping to get a reduction in the fees--it was my fault after all. He gave that "Hmmm, he doesn't really seem to be bullshitting me" look and right then I reached in and dropped a brand new $100 USD bill onto his desk and asked if I could have a discount. He looked between me and the passport a couple of times and stamped my passport. Then he stated that I needed to come back into Laos on that same day (which I was). Not sure why he asked that. That saved me $40 (I needed $35 + $1 "overtime" fee to get another Lao Visa).
Moral of the story: don't be an idiot like I was. You can get extensions to your visa for $2-3 a day in many places in Lao. However, you cannot get extensions if your visa expires. Then you have two choices: Vientiane or Louang Prabang. It is $10 a day for every day you are over your visa limit.
Hope this helps someone else to avoid all those damn bus rides I took...