Do I need a business visa for Laos?
A business visa for Laos is issued to a foreign citizen who wishes to work or invest in Laos. Laos Business visas are granted to foreign investors, stockholders, enterprise directors, deputy directors, technical officers, volunteers for non-governmental organizations, staff members of Diplomatic Missions, General Consulates, the United Nations Agencies and other international organizations.
Based on the type of employment and projects, Laos issues different types of work visas to foreigners who wish to further their career or work in the country. Some of the Laos work visas available include:
- Expert Visa (E-B2) for foreign workers employed in international organizations or non-government organizations.
- Investor Visa (NI-B2) for foreign nationals investing in an enterprise registered in Laos.
- Labor Visa (LA-B2) for foreign nationals working in Laos on a fixed employment contract.
The Foreign Affairs Sector is responsible for approving business visas to Laos.
However, those interested in traveling to Laos for business purposes should know that there are many more visa types available for Laos:
- Diplomatic visa: D-A1
- Official visa: S-A2
- Courtesy visa: C-B1
- Tourist visa: T-B3
- Short-term visa: NI-B3
- Long-term visa: I-B3
- Permanent visa: P-B3
- Expert visa: E-B2
- Transit visa: TR-B3
- Student visa: ST-B2
- Media visa: M-B2
- Business visa for foreign investors: NI-B2 or I-B2
- Technical visa for a foreign employee LA-B2
In July 2019, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic introduced an electronic visa to simplify the process of obtaining a visa to visit the country. The eVisa for Laos is a move to attract more visitors to the country. At this time, the online visa for Laos is available for those traveling for tourism purposes only. The government of Laos will consider whether the electronic visa system should be extended to business travelers. It is possible that at a later stage, there will be a Laos business eVisa available for those who wish to travel to Laos with business purposes.
At this point, travelers who wish to invest or carry out a business transaction in Laos are required to obtain a Laos work visa or a Laos business visa through a consulate or embassy.
How to apply for a business visa for Laos?
Applying for a business visa for Laos will depend on the type of activity the traveler needs to engage in while in Laos. The are different Laos work visas available and foreign travelers hoping to do business in Laos are required to chose the visa type that best suits their individual situation. They can apply for a Labor Visa, and Investor Visa or an Expert visa.
Even though there are several visa types for Laos, in order to apply for a business visa for Laos foreigners should have a valid passport and must complete an application form with their personal details. The process of getting a Laos business visa must be carried out through a Laos consulate or embassy.
Laos work visas are available for single entry or multiple entry. Multiple entry visas for Laos may be obtained for a period of three months, six months or one year. They may be renewed until completion of assignments or business terms.
The government of Laos might introduce a Laos business eVisa in the future. The electronic visa system for Laos simplifies the process of getting a visa to Laos for tourism purposes. The eVisa for Laos grants its holder a short-term stay in the country.
How early should our business travelers apply for a Laos eVisa?
The processing time for a Laos business visa might differ between countries as well as between visa types. It is advised to apply for a Laos business visa according to the Laos embassy or consulate indications.
The Laos eVisa, on the other hand, is a much quicker process. Applicants are able to complete the Laos online visa application within minutes. Processing time of the application is 3 business days. However, the eVisa is currently only available for tourism purposes or family visits.
What documents are required for a Laos work visa?
In order to obtain a Laos work visa it is necessary to meet a few basic requirements. In general, the documents required for a Laos work visa are as follows:
- Original, signed passport valid for six months beyond the stay in Laos. A blank passport page is necessary for a Laos visa stamp.
- A completed and signed Laos application form.
- A recent (taken within the last 6 months) passport photograph in color and with a plain and light background.
- A business cover letter that can be either from the employer or sponsoring company. The Laos Embassy or consulate required an official business letter to support a Laos business visa application.
- Proof of travel arrangements such as the flight itinerary indicating the entry and departure dates from Laos.
A work visa to Laos generally must be arranged by a sponsor company in Laos. The Embassy or Consulate will not take any action on the application until the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vientiane authorizes the issuing of the Laos business visa.