Do I Need a Visa on Arrival for Laos?
Most foreign visitors are required to obtain a visa in order to enter Laos. Fortunately, there are several options available to tourists. Many nationalities are eligible for a Laos visa on arrival which can be obtained, as the name suggests, directly at the border upon arrival.
The visa on arrival at the border allows for great flexibility in making travel arrangements as visitors do not need to plan their visa ahead. However, it may result in long lines at the airport or other port of entry. Moreover, travelers must carry with them all the relevant documentation and money to cover the visa and may even incur in extra fees on the spot.
That is why an increasing number of tourists opt instead for the online visa application. The very short processing times still allow for last-minute travel plans, but all the bureaucracy, documents, and payments are handled electronically in advance. This significantly reduces waiting times upon arrival and is considered more convenient for passengers who cross the border at eligible points.
Laos Visa on Arrival Online
The Visa on Arrival isn’t the only option offered by The Government of Laos . The authorities have also implemented the Laos electronic visa (Laos Approval Letter), which allows eligible travelers to quickly get the necessary authorization to visit the country. However, travelers should apply at least 7 days before their expected date of departure.
The eVisa Approval Letter will also be valid for a single entry stay of up to 30 days in the country. Applicants are able to obtain the eVisa through a simple online application form, eliminating the need for long waiting times for a visa on arrival at border entry points.
The Laos eVisa is offered to nationals who are also eligible for a Visa on Arrival. This means that citizens of 150 countries can get their visa online, instead of the arrival visa.
Laos Visa on Arrival Countries
Citizens of several eligible countries including Australia, Canada, the United States and European Union member countries can obtain a visa on arrival for Laos. Travelers simply need to meet the Laos requirements for this visa format to get their permission to enter at the border.
As of July 2019, citizens from 180 eligible countries are able to obtain a Laos tourist visa exclusively online through the new Laos eVisa application. The Laos online visa has been implemented to expedite the visa application process, and allow eligible citizens to avoid long waits for a visa on arrival at the Lao border.
Laos Visa on Arrival Requirements
The requirements for a Laos visa on arrival are as follows:
- An original passport with a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of arrival in Laos.
- A completed visa application form signed by the applicant.
- Two recent passport-type photographs and with a light background.
- Cash to pay for the visa fee and additional costs if they apply.
- Proof of accommodation for the visa application.
The visa on arrival application form is available at 22 ports of entry in Laos or when traveling by plane are given by the airline before landing.
If the traveler does not have a photo, there is an additional fee for scanning the photo from their passport. Those who wish to visit Laos should also know that there are additional charges for the visa if you arrive between 6:00 and 8:00 in the morning, on a weekend, or on a national holiday.
How to Get a Visa on Arrival for Laos
To get a visa on arrival for Laos the traveler should have all of the documentation listed on this site: their passport, two passport-sized photographs and the completed form. You will also be asked to provide the name of a hotel in Laos or guest-house you will use as accommodation.
On arrival, the traveler should head to the window marked “On Arrival”. The immigration window is only for people who already have the visa.
If the passenger hasn’t already filled the application, it is advised to complete the visa on arrival form by the window. Once completed, the traveler should submit the form and the one photograph to the immigration official at the “on arrival” window.
To finalize the process, the traveler is expected to pay the visa fee in cash. It is possible to pay for this fee in american dollars.
If you arrive at the “on arrival” window without a photo or outside of office hours you will have to pay an additional fee. This also applies to arrivees entering the country on national holidays and festivals in Laos.
After providing all the documentation, travelers are asked to wait. The name of the traveler will be called when their application has been reviewed.
However, the Laos electronic visa eliminates the need for this complicated application process upon arrival. Applicants will be able to complete a simple form with personal and passport information to receive a copy of the eVisa via email. They will then be able to print a copy to present at the border for an expedited entry into the country.
Main Border Checkpoints in Laos for Visa on Arrival
There are 22 ports of entry where foreign visitors from eligible countries will be able to obtain a visa on arrival to enter Laos. The main border checkpoints in Laos include:
- Wattay International Airport in Vientiane Capital (eVisa available);
- Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang Province (eVisa available);
- Pakse International Airport in Champasak Province (eVisa available);
- Savannakhet International Airport in Savannakhet Province.
There are also a number of land border checkpoints where it is possible to get a visa on arrival for Laos, these include the following:
- Chiang Khong – Houixay, Chiang Rai to Bokeo Province;
- Nakaxeng – Kaenthao, Loei to Sayabouly Province;
- Houi Koln – Nam Ngeun, Nan to Sayabouly Province;
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, Nongkhai-Vientiane Capital (eVisa available);
- Tha Naleng train station in Vientiane;
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II, Moukdahan-Savannakhet Province (eVisa available);
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge III, Nakorn Phanom-Khammouane Province;
- Chongmek – Vangtao, Ubol Ratchathani to Champasack Province.
- Dong Calor – Veun Kham, Cambodia to Champasack Province.
- Nameo – Banleui, Thanh Hoa to Huaphanh Province;
- Namkan – Namkan, Nge An to Xieng Khouang Province;
- Keoneua – Nampao (Lak Sao), Ha tinh to Bolikhamxay Province;
- Laobao – Dansavanh, Quang tri to Savannakhet Province.
- Mohan – Botene, Yunnan to Luang Namtha Province.