The opening up of Burma (Myanmar) to the world continues apace, and can only expand with the installation of Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party to lead parliament in early 2016. The number of tourists is keeping step with that trend, and the process for getting there continues to get easier.
Citizens from 100 countries are currently eligible to apply for a 28-day tourist e-visa for Burma. The fee is $50, you will need to upload a passport photo and must have at least six months validity left on your passport. The application should take about three days to process and is valid for up to 90 days from the date of issue. A tourist e-visa is only good for entry through Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw airports. Business travellers can now also apply for an e-visa, for a fee of $70.
For citizens of non-eligible countries, or if you think you will be entering overland, you can apply for a visa through the embassy in Phnom Penh, for which you will need the following:
You can collect the form from the embassy. They say that it is available to download on the embassy website, but we trawled through it and couldn’t find the link anywhere. The application takes three days to process. The maximum stay is 28 days, and the visa is valid for use for up to three months from the date of issue.
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 be sufficient.
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.
Applications can be submitted from Monday to Friday, between 09:00 and 12:00, and visas collected three working days later between 14:00 and 16:00.
Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
181 Norodom Blvd, BKK 1, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 223 761, (023) 223 762
By Nicky Sullivan
Last updated on 5th February, 2016.