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Visas and border crossings

Visas and border crossings forum

Laos visa FAQ

Posted by somtam2000 on 22/1/2013 at 23:31 admin

The Tourist Visa for Laos can be issued at most entry points or via a travel agency or Lao consulate. The visa should cost around US$30 -- though this may vary a little depending on your nationality.

Visa on arrival is reliably available at most overland crossings between Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, including the Huay Xai, Vientiane , Savannakhet, Tha Khaek and Chong Mek entry points. It is also available at both Vientiane and Luang Prabang airports (US$30 - cash only, one passport photo). Visa on arrival is not available at the Paksan crossing.

If you get your visa beforehand from a Lao embassy it should be valid for 30 days. ALL visas on arrival are now valid for 30 days. Be wary of being stamped in for 15 days on a 30 day visa.

From the Travelfish blogs
Getting a visa for Laos in Vietnam
Getting a visa for Laos in Cambodia

Tourist visas can be extended on a daily basis at a day rate of US$2 per day.

Validity issues
All tourist visas are single entry only. The visa sticker for visas issued from an embassy are full page, so bear that in mind if you do not have many pages left in your passport.

Overstays are charged at US$10 per day of overstay -- is is far cheaper to extend your visa rather than overstay it.

#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,065

Posted by IvanaCZ on 24/4/2013 at 00:58

I just crossed the border at Huay Xai into Laos yesterday and everything went ok. Nobody wanted a bribe, nice and easy. I paid $30.

#2 IvanaCZ has been a member since 24/4/2013. Posts: 12

Posted by DSawyer on 26/4/2013 at 00:14

was just wondering...on my arrival In Laos.Can I make my VOA payment in US currency i.e a $20 and a $10 bill with out any problems?
and when arriving via airport...what approximately will the time be for getting my visa issued?I have an onward flight to Luang so I just wanted to make sure I have plenty of time ...

Thanks in advance


#3 DSawyer has been a member since 9/1/2013. Posts: 48

Posted by Armando696 on 14/7/2014 at 14:46

Citizens of Switzerland, Japan, Luxembourg can get a visa-free entry, valid for 15 days. I did this several times already, no problems. They know it at every entry point.

#4 Armando696 has been a member since 15/4/2009. Location: Switzerland. Posts: 20

Posted by ColonelM on 3/11/2015 at 15:48

I'm planning to fly to Vientiane from Chiang Mai, Thailand in March of 2016 as part of a longer trip. Do I understand that I can get a tourist visa for Laos upon arrival at the airport in Vientiane? I'm American and will have several copies of passport photos.

If I were to make that trip via bus, rather than fly, would I be able to get a visa for Laos at the regular border crossing point?

Trying to get that visa in advance while here in the US, requires the entry date (mine is flexible) and an itinerary showing a departure means. I'm not sure what date I'll be entering Laos and I'll book the flight out from Vientiane when I am there. Appreciate any help.

#5 ColonelM has been a member since 15/9/2015. Location: United States. Posts: 6

Posted by Armando696 on 3/11/2015 at 16:18

Yes, you can make your visa on arrival at Vientiane airport, no problem.

Yes, you can make a visa at land borders at regular borders open to foreigners, also straightforward and no problem. Unnecessary to do it before in your home country.

#6 Armando696 has been a member since 15/4/2009. Location: Switzerland. Posts: 20

Posted by ColonelM on 4/11/2015 at 14:11

Amando696, Thanks for your quick response to my question concerning the visa for Laos. You sound like a knowledgeable traveler. So, let me ask all my visa questions at once. As retired US military, I can take flights on a space available basis on US military aircraft. That means I can fly from Travis Air Force Base in California to Yokota Air Force Base in Japan for free. From Japan there are three flights each week to Singapore. The last time I made the trip to Singapore, it cost me $62 -- one night in an Air Force Lodge in Yokota and a box lunch. I've made the trip twice now with no problems. Last year I flew commercial from Singapore to Saigon to Phnom Penh to Hanoi, back to Saigon and finally to Singapore. I had my preapproval for a multiple entry visa for Vietnam and got the visa for Cambodia at arrival in Phnom Penh. No problems.

My trip in March will be Singapore to Kuala Lumpur via bus/train. Then I fly to Bangkok. Ground transport to Chiang Mai. Either ground or air to Vientiane (as discussed). Fly back to Bangkok and then on to Yangon to spend a couple of weeks in Myanmar. Back to Yangon to Singapore and into the Air Force system. As far a visas are concerned, I don't need one for Singpore or Maylasia. When I arrive by air in Bangkok, I can get a 30-day tourist visa. And when I fly to Vientiane, I can get a visa at the airport or border crossing if I take a bus. I believe all that is correct. My only questions are do I need a new visa for Thailand when I fly in from Vientiane? Probably yes. And where do I get a visa for travel from Thailand to Myanmar? "Lonely Planet" for Myanmar says I can get it from Bangkok's Myanmar Embassy with same-day processing for $35. But I need to have it before I arrive. Does all the above sound correct to you?

#7 ColonelM has been a member since 15/9/2015. Location: United States. Posts: 6

Posted by Armando696 on 4/11/2015 at 14:46

@ Colonel M: Your trip is not well planned. Why you not book a cheap flight from Hat Yai to Chiang Mai or from BKK to Chiang Mai? It costs you less then travel by bus or train. Just look for tickets at Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, etc.
When you arrive in Thailand, you not get a 30-day tourist visa, this is wrong. You get a 30-day visa-exempt entry, this is not the same.
When you return to Thailand from a neighbouring country by flight, you get again this 30-day visa-exempt entry. If you arrive by land, you get 15 days only.
For the visa for Myanmar you should best ask in the Myanmar embassy in BKK, as far as I know there is no visa on arrival at current time. Please check in the Internet if there is a Myanmar consulate in Chiang Mai, I think there is one. This would facilitate your travel plans.

#8 Armando696 has been a member since 15/4/2009. Location: Switzerland. Posts: 20

Posted by ColonelM on 4/11/2015 at 15:43

@Armado696, You amaze me with how quickly (and accurately) you answer my questions. Thank you.

I admit that in November, my trip planed for March of next year is not in final stages yet. However, last year I planned my trip as I did it. I am retired and traveling solo starting 15 Feb. I don't have to be back in the US until mid-April. When I was in Vietnam and Cambodia I used websites Agoda for finding places to stay and Kayak to find cheap flights. I usually started with a city tour and then took excursions and tried to stay in a city for 5 - 7 days. Sometimes it's best to fly. But some of the best travel I have experienced has been ground transport. A great trip in Cambodia was an all-day boat trip from Phnom Phenh to Siem Reap. You see the country side and the rural areas off the beaten path. I'm happiest when I find that I'm someplace where there are few tourists. So, I may take the cheap flights between cities or the more expensive ground trips. I'm not in a hurry and saving $100 is not that important. However, I'll look at your suggestion to fly. In fact the main reason I decided to fly to BKK from Kuala Lumpur was to get the 30-day visa exempt entry rather than the 15-day I would get if I continued to BKK with ground transport.

This is such a valuable website. I'll continue to update my planned itinerary and ask questions as I get closer to departure. I will list the sights I want to see and work my travels to see them. My concerns about visas came from my experience going to Vietnam earlier this year where I paid for the preapproval letter before I arrived. It looks as if I won't need to do that for this trip.

#9 ColonelM has been a member since 15/9/2015. Location: United States. Posts: 6

Posted by Armando696 on 4/11/2015 at 16:04

On Nov. 30th I start my travel also. I fly to BKK, stay 1 night in a hotel near Don Muang airport, the next day I fly to Medan in Sumatra / Indonesia. I stay there 1 night, then I go by collective taxi to Prapat at lake Toba, wonderful landscape, I have been there several times. I love it, one of the best areas in whole South East Asia.
Later I go back to Thailand to stay with the family of my wife during Cristmas, then I head to Laos, staying there about 2 weeks, then go back to Khon Kaen, where I take a flight to Saigon, then going north to Da Nang and Hue, from there I cross into Laos again, heading for Pakse, from there to Ubon, from Ubon by flight to BKK, and then fly home.
Yes, it is best to do some flights and some travel overland, I like travel overland, but now I am 63, so I do not like very long bus trips of more then 6-7 hours. 20 years ago no problem for me to make a bus trip with 12 hours travel time. Sometimes it is better to take a flight to save time and spend more time in remote areas. I recommend you Laos, I love it really, much better then Thailand.

#10 Armando696 has been a member since 15/4/2009. Location: Switzerland. Posts: 20

Posted by ColonelM on 4/11/2015 at 16:34

@Armando696. I just looked at the 123+ places you have visited and I'm jealous. I had planed to see only Vientiane in Laos. But, I'll investigate if I can see a little more based on your comments.

I wish I were 63 again. I'll be celebrating my 73rd birthday the same month I leave on my trip next year. But you are right about the long trips. I paid for an individual driver to take me from Hoa An to Nha Trang in Vietnam last year so I could see Qui Nhon and Binh Dinh province where I was a visual reconnaissance pilot in 1967. I enjoyed the 12-hour drive and felt sorry that the driver had to drive back to Hoa An by himself the next day. But, I simply did not want to miss looking at terrain that I had looked at for a year of my life 45 years ago. In fact, I have landed at Don Muang airport many times when it was the main airport in BKK.

Thanks for your advice. Have a good trip!

#11 ColonelM has been a member since 15/9/2015. Location: United States. Posts: 6

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