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Kapono Cheruene

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I'm Laotian living in Vientiane

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Asia > Laos > Useful Info
Submitted on Jul 06, 2019 Useful Info

Best way to get a tourist visa to Laos

  • Obtaining tourist visa to Laos is straightforward. The main thing to figure out is if your nationality is tourist visa-exempted, require prior application, or eligible for Visa on Arrival
  • Tourist visa exemption - if you're a national of these countries and visiting less than the specified days, you do not need a tourist visa at all (up-to-date official list):
  • Brunei (14 days), Cambodia (30 days), Indonesia (30 days), Japan (15 days), Luxemburg (15 days), Malaysia (30 days), Mongolia (30 days), Myanmar (14 days), Philippines (30 days), South Korea (15 days), Russia (15 days), Singapore (30 days), Switzerland: (15 days), Thailand (30 days), Vietnam (30 days)
  • Prior application required countries - if you're from below list of countries, then you are not eligible for tourist Visa on Arrival, meaning you need to apply for a tourist visa with a Lao consulate or embassy before your trip (up-to-date list from official website):
  • Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Syria, Swaziland, Tonga, Turkey, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  • Visa on Arrival (VOA) - if you're not from either of the two lists above, you can obtain a VOA at your port of entry in Laos. Visa on Arrival allows you to visit Laos for up to 30 days. Also note that, if you're from the list of exempted countries above (1st list above), but you wish to visit Laos for longer than the number of days the exemption allows you to be in the country, you can still obtain a VOA
  • If you want to visit for more than 30 days, then you still need to apply for a visa at a Lao consulate or embassy


  • What you need to get a VOA:
  • Fly into one of these airports:
  • Vientiane Wattay Intertional Airport
  • Luang Prabang International Airport
  • Champasack Pakse International Airport
  • Savannakhet International Airport
  • Or, you can also get VOA when arriving by land. Check this page or this page for the official list of land borders where you can get VOA
  • Have these documents available:
  1. Passport with at least 6 months of remaining availability
  2. 2 passport-sized photos taken in the last year and in preferably in white background. "Passport sized" means whatever size your own passport uses is fine. If you forget to bring photos, there are also photo booths at the airports that you can pay to use. I'm not sure how much the fees are
  3. A completed application form, which you can obtain at the port of entry and fill out at the time of entry. Bring a pen with you!
  4. Cash to pay for the visa. Note that payment can be made only in Laotian Kip or USD (although if you're entering via land border from Thailand, THB is also accepted at a very bad exchange rate). Here's the fees in USD for different nationalities (I advise that you bring a few extra USD with you in case you have to pay additional fees, for example there is an "overtime" fee if you're arriving on weekends, holidays, before 8am, or after 4pm):
  • Australia :$30USD
  • Canada: $42USD
  • China: $20USD
  • India: $40USD
  • Sweden: $31USD
  • US: $35USD
  • UK: 35USD
  • Everyone else: $30USD
  • What to do once you are at the airport:
  • Do not go to the immigration booths right away, those are for people that have a visa already
  • Look for windows that are marked "Visa"
  • Give them the documents listed above and pay the fee
  • You will be instructed to wait. There's usually benches nearby for you to sit on and wait for your name to be called
  • They will call your name once your visa is ready, and they will give you your passport back which will have the visa inside
  • Once you have your visa, then go to the immigration booths and enter the country
  • That's it!


  • A note about electronic visa: The government has been saying that electronic visa (eVisa) will become available to any VOA-eligible tourists starting in June 2019. When this becomes available, it basically means that instead of applying for your VOA at the port of entry, you get it ahead of time online, so should save you a lot of time at the airport. But, so far I haven't seen the official website become available yet but hopefully it does soon