Almost all passport holders can get the Lao Visa on arrival conveniently, except some countries in the “blacklist.” Read on for a complete guide on Lao visa policy that you can benefit from, or use it as the resources to assist your friends.

Visa Policy in Laos

The country has the open and simple visa policy including three types of visa: 1) Visa Free (Visa Exemption of 14-15-30 days) which is good enough for laos itinerary 2 weeks, 2) Visa on Arrival (30 days), and 3) Visa required in advance (for specific countries). Among these three visa categories, there often stands out a need for information about the Visa on Arrival for tourists.

Note that the ASEAN passport holders are exempt from the Laos visa, plus some other citizens of the countries that have special agreements with Lao.

Tourists’ Lao Visa on Arrival

Officially announced by the Lao government, the 30-day Tourist Visa on Arrival will be issued at its international airports as well as the international border crossings. The visa cost would be around USD$30 – USD$42 in cash. You need to prepare your valid passport and two passport-sized photos, and fill out the visa application form. For cases that have no photo and arrive on weekend, holiday, or non-working hours (before 8 AM and after 4 PM weekdays), they will need to pay one or two dollars more. The accepted foreign currencies are US dollars and Thai Baht.

Regarding the locations to receive Lao Visa on arrival for tourists, here is the list:

4 international airports:

  • Wattay Airport (Vientiane)
  • Luang Prabang Airport
  • Pakse Airport (Champasak)
  • Savannakhet Airport
  • 16 international border crossing points that include:

7 Laos – Vietnam international borders:

  • Sobhoun – Tay Trang (Phongsaly – Dien Bien)
  • Nam Suay – Nameo (Huaphanh – Thanh Hoa)
  • Namkan – Nam Can (Savannakhet – Nghe An)
  • Namphao – Cau Treo (Bolikhamxay – Ha Tinh)
  • Napao – Chalo (Thakhek – Quang Binh)
  • Dansavan – Lao Bao (Savannakhet – Quang Tri)
  • Phou Keua – Bo Y (Attapeu – Kontum)

7 Laos – Thailand international borders and 1 Train station:

  • Huayxay – Chiang Khong (Bokeo – Chiang Rai)
  • Muang Ngeun – Huaykon (Xayabouly – Nan)
  • Kenethao – Nakaxeng (Xayabouly – Loei)
  • Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I (Vientiane – Nong Khai-Udon Thani)
  • Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge III (Thakhek – Nakhon Phanom)
  • Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II (Savannakhet – Mukdahan)
  • Vangtao – Chongmek (Champasak – Ubon Ratchathani)
  • Tha Laneng Train Station (Vientiane – Nong Khai-Udon Thani)

1 Laos – Cambodia international border

  • Dong Kralor – Stung Treng (Champasak – Stung Treng)

1 Laos – China international border

  • Boten – Bohan (Luang Namtha – Yunnan)

Documents required to apply for Tourist’s Lao Visa on Arrival

To be specific, have the following three documents ready on the spot.

  • Your valid passport. It must have at least 6 months of validity and 3 blank pages for visa stamp.
  • The visa application form must be filled out with your information and signature. The form is available at the ports of entry or handed over before you land if getting there by plane.
  • Two recent passport-sized photographs.

Tips to get the most out of the Lao Visa on Arrival

  • Before reading on, please make sure you are eligible for the tourist’s Lao Visa on Arrival. Some countries cannot apply for tourists’ Lao visa on arrival.
  • Pay the visa fee by US dollars whether you’re applying for it at the border with Vietnam, Cambodia, China, or even Thailand (though Thai Baht is accepted), as long as you’re concerned about the exchange rates.

The steps to get the Lao Visa upon your arrival

How to Get Lao Visa on Arrival for Tourists? It is best if you come prepared with the printed Lao Visa application form that has all your necessary information; the pre-filled form will save you time from the paperwork on the spot. Otherwise, upon your arrival, head to the Visa-marked window to take the paper form and fill it out. Often, for those that arrive by plane, they will receive the immigration and visa application forms prior to landing.

Next, submit the filled application form together with the valid passport and 02 photographs. Then, pay the fee by cash (preferably in US dollars). Refer to the list of fees displayed at the window.

After you’ve submitted the required documents, take a seat and wait for your name to be called (around 10-15 minutes) to be eligible to get the Lao Visa.

Instructions for tourists who are ineligible to apply for Lao Visa on Arrival

You will need to apply for the Visa Approval Letter or Letter of Guarantee issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Laos before receiving the Lao Visa. It is best recommended to ask for the local travel agent’s assistance to make the process easier and quicker. Often, have a plan at least 2 months prior to your departure. During the 2-month plan, contact the reliable local tour operator and provide them with the required papers namely tour itinerary, accommodation, arrival and departure flights, the copy of your passport, and Lao Consulate or Embassy address in your area. The agency will handle the rest by working with the Embassy in order to have you the Visa Approval Letter.

The entire process will take around 30-45 days. The Visa Approval Letter will be issued, then you will pay for it. Take the letter to the Embassy or Consulate (the one that you registered with the local travel agent) to receive the legal Lao Visa. You will get the Visa no more than 2 hours at the Embassy/Consulate. Of course, this step can be handled by the tour agents.

Once you have got the Lao Visa and enjoyed staying in this country so much that exceeds the allowed days, then it’s feasible to extend the Lao Visa as long as you wish to be there longer. Prior to the expiry date, you can apply for the visa extension, which will cost US$2 per day. And, if you apply after your visa expires, be prepared to be fined US$10 per day for the overstayed days. The procedure is quite straightforward, so just do like the other tourists do: fill out the application form, submit it together with your passport, pay the fees, and get the visa back within the same day.

Now, you’re eligible to travel to Laos with the Visa, enjoy the trip to the fullest!

Author Profile

Hoang AnhStart working in travel industry in Vietnam from 1995, I had the great chance to learn and seeing the change as well as the development of tourism in our country. After quite long time working in different positions in some well-known international travel companies, I found that with my passion and knowledge, I can offer better value and discovery on tours in Vietnam to the travelers.

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