Before planning a trip to Laos, all travelers are advised to browse Laos import and export regulations to decide what they can and cannot bring into the country.
Although the majority of items are free from Laos customs regulations, there are certain objects that are either restricted or prohibited, and it may be necessary to obtain a permit before they may be either imported or exported.
Items Exempt from Laos Customs Import Regulations
When deciding what to pack for Laos, all travelers should be aware that the following items are subject to free import to the country:
- 500 cigarettes, 100 cigars, or 500 grams of tobacco
- 2 bottles of wine, 1 bottle of other alcoholic beverages
- 500 grams of personal jewelry.
Currency Import regulations state that passengers can bring the equivalent of up to 50, 00 USD of foreign currency into the country.
However, all amounts exceeding 2,000 USD or equivalent in cash or checks must be declared at customs in Laos, and must also be exchanged for local currency at banks or exchange bureaus upon entry.
What You Cannot Take to Laos
The following items are considered prohibited and cannot be brought through border crossing points in Laos:
- Illegal drugs
- Counterfeit money and goods
- Pornographic material
- Household materials older than 50 years
- Chemicals and fertilizers
- Fuel Oil
- Right driving cars.
Additionally, plant and plant products, live animals, and endangered flora and fauna restricted under CITES are also banned from import to Laos.
Items with Laos Import Restrictions
Travelers should be also aware that there are certain restricted items for Laos for which it may be necessary to obtain a permit from the Lao Ministry of Commerce in advance of travel.
- All weapons, including explosives, knives, and ammunition
- Any satellite receivers or transmitters
- Equipment for radio and television broadcasting.
Additionally, any games or written material judged to be against the public interest, or which has the potential to affect the morality and wellbeing of the youth of Laos, are likely to be confiscated at customs if brought into the country.
It is also prohibited to import Images of God and Buddha, whether made from copper, glass, wooden, bone, ivory, stone, or other materials unless permission has been obtained in advance from the Ministry of Information and Culture in Laos.
What You Cannot Take out of Laos
Many of the items listed above are also banned from export from Laos as well as import. Additionally, it is not possible to export timber from the country.
If a traveler wishes to export materials such as gold, polished silver, or rough diamonds, a special travel permit will be required.
While some Laotian food products can be exported without issue, a special permit is required toexport rice from the country.
Furthermore, travelers must exchange all Laotian Kip (LAK) before exiting Laos, as all local currency is prohibited from leaving the country. It is also necessary to declare all foreign currency in amounts exceeding USD 2,000 USD or the equivalent at customs before departure.
Airpox Tax for Departure from Laos
Although passengers do not have to pay an airport tax when arriving in Laos, it is required for those leaving the country on a departing flight.
The embarkation tax is 10 USD per person for international flights, and 5,000 LAK for passengers flying to a domestic destination.
Penalties for Ignoring Import/Export Restritions for Laos
While travelers who unknowingly bring most of the prohibited items for Laos into the country are not likely to face fines or other penalties, those caught trafficking drugs are at risk of being given lengthy prison sentences or even the death penalty.
All visitors to Laos should take care to carry a passport or other ID document with them at all times while in the country, as they make be issued with a fine if they do not present an identity document to authorities upon request.
Additionally, all travelers should renew their Laos visa if they plan to stay longer than the validity period permitted, as overstaying a visa in Laos can result in a fine for each day the holder remains in the country past its expiry date.