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Burma_myanmar for beginners

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Overstaying your tourist visa in Burma/Myanmar

If you’ve overstayed your tourist visa by a few days in Burma/Myanmar, it’s not too much of a drama. Besides having to pay a fine of US$3 per overstayed day, the only real punishment for staying beyond your 28-day tourist visa date stamp is sacrificing a whole page of your passport for an extra ugly black stamp that says you extended your stay.

Immigration overstay stamp

Immigration overstay stamp

After 30 days the daily fine goes up — but we haven’t yet pushed the envelope that far to find out what the amount becomes, and we probably wouldn’t recommend it to you, either.

If you’ve overstayed and you’re departing from Yangon International Airport, after checking in and getting your boarding pass on the first floor, follow the immigration signs up the stairs to the second floor. You’ll be confronted with a gathering of passengers waiting to approach the staggered line of tall desks, where it takes twice as long as you would think it should to take your photo and whack a departure stamp in your passport. Do not bother with this line!

You’re special, so take a hard left towards the toilets. The signage for the office near here is almost as awkwardly placed as the office itself, which is more of an extra large broom closet that someone somehow managed to squeeze a few desks into.

Come early, as this will take longer than you think; there will most likely be a line. If you think the normal immigration desks take a while, the friendly officers taking your money here have to fill out extra, over-sized forms by hand on top of the normal ones. Be prepared to present your passport, a boarding pass and enough currency to pay the fine.

Visa Overstay stamps in Myanmar

Visa overstay stamps.

Authorities will ask for dollars, but you can pay in kyat — just don’t expect them to give you a decent exchange rate — US$36 for instance will equal 36,000 kyat. Once the officers have filled out the forms, they will stamp your passport, stamp your boarding pass and without a question bid you a friendly goodbye. Note that others have reported there is a $3 fine that is levied on top of the overstay fee, but that has not been our experience.

Head back out to those queues, and walk straight past them, and past the desks, and with a wave of your stamped boarding pass and a cheerful, “Mingalaba!”, past the security guards who will chuckle at your local language skills.

About the author:
Once called a nebula of good energy, Christopher wasn't impressed by where his institutional learning took him and blames travel and wonderfully eccentric people for where he is today: Burma (Myanmar).

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