If you are planning a trip to Laos, chances are you will need a visa. As per the Laos visa policy, only citizens from a select few countries are allowed to visit Laos without a visa. However, the rest are easily able to get a visa either after arriving in Laos or online.
Do I Need a Visa for Laos?
Yes, most people will need a visa to enter Laos. Only citizens of the following countries are exempt from visa requirements:
- Brunei (for 14 days)
- Cambodia (for 30 days)
- Indonesia (for 30 days)
- Japan (for 15 days)
- Luxembourg (for 15 days)
- Malaysia (for 30 days)
- Mongolia (for 30 days)
- Myanmar (for 14 days)
- Philippines (for 30 days)
- Russia (for 30 days)
- Singapore (for 30 days)
- South Korea (for 30 days)
- Switzerland (for 15 days)
- Thailand (for 30 days)
- Vietnam (for 30 days)
Citizens of the countries listed above who want to stay longer than 14-15 days will have to apply for a Laos visa online or on arrival.
Who Can Get a Laos Visa on Arrival?
Almost everyone who is not visa-exempt can apply for a Laos visa on arrival. Only citizens of the following countries are unable to get the VOA and have to apply for a visa at an Embassy instead:
- Ivory Coast
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
How Can I Get a Visa for Laos?
There are three ways you can apply for a Laos visa, depending on your nationality:
- On arrival. At most entry ports.
- Online. Through the official eVisa issuance website of the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- At an Embassy or Consulate of Laos. For those who are not eligible to apply online or on arrival.
Applying for a Laos Visa on Arrival
When you arrive at the checkpoint in Laos, you have to approach the visa on arrival issuing counter and present the following documents:
- Your passport. It must be valid for at least another six months.
- The Laos Visa on Arrival Form, which you can get at the checkpoint or on the airplane.
- Proof of accommodation in Laos. E.g. a hotel reservation.
- Two recent passport-size pictures. 4 cm x 6 cm dimensions.
- Cash (in US dollars) to pay for the visa fee. The Laos visa fee is USD 30 to USD 45, depending on your nationality.
- Proof you have sufficient funds to cover the duration of your stay in Laos.
- A confirmed return ticket or onward travel ticket.
- A visa/ticket for the next destination (if applicable)
After you submit the documents, you have to wait until the visa is processed. They will call your name after about 15 minutes when it is ready. You will receive a visa for a maximum of 30 days.
You can get a Laos visa on arrival at the following checkpoints:
- Wattay International Airport
- Savan International Airport
- Pakse International Airport
- Luang Prabang International Airport
- Friendship Bridge IV Checkpoint in Bokeo (Thailand Border)
- Samliemkham Checkpoint in Bokeo (Thailand and Myanmar Border)
- Friendship Bridge I Checkpoint in Vientiane (Thailand Border)
- Tanalaeng Checkpoint in Vientiane (Thailand Border)
- Nonghaed Checkpoint in Xieng Khouang (Vietnam Border)
- Nam Phao Checkpoint in Bolikhamxay (Vietnam Border)
- Friendship Bridge III Checkpoint in Khammouane (Thailand Border)
- Na Pao Checkpoint in Khammouane (Vietnam Border)
- Friendship Bridge II Checkpoint in Savannakhet (Thailand Border)
- Daensavan Checkpoint in Savannakhet (Vietnam Border)
- Veun Kham Checkpoint in Champasak (Cambodia Border)
- Vang Tao Checkpoint in Champasak (Thailand Border)
- Boten Checkpoint in Luang Namtha (China Border)
- Namheuang Checkpoint in Xayabouly (Thailand Border)
- Phou Keua Checkpoint in Eutapeu (Vietnam Border)
Applying for a Laos Online
If you are eligible for a Laos visa on arrival, you can also get a Laos visa online (eVisa). You can apply for the eVisa through the official website (here):
- Complete the online application form
- Attach the required documents:
- A recent picture of yourself, with a white background and 4×6 cm dimension
- Your passport’s cover page
- Your passport’s bio page
- Possibly, additional documents.
- Pay the online application fee. The fee is between USD 31 to USD 45 depending on your nationality.
- Wait for the visa application to process. This takes about three working days unless there is a problem with your application.
- Download the eVisa Approval Letter. You will receive it on your email. Once you get the approval letter, you have 60 days to use it.
After you arrive at the port of entry in Laos, head to the designated immigration area for eVisas. Show them your passport and the eVisa approval. The immigration officers will then review them and give you your entry approval.
You can only use your Laos eVisa to enter through the following checkpoints:
- Wattay International Airport
- Thai Friendship Bridge I in Vientiane
- Thai Friendship Bridge II in Savannakhet
- Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang
- Pakse International Airport in Champasack
The Lao eVisa is only issued for tourism purposes. For longer-term visas, you will have to get in touch with a Lao embassy/consulate.
You can apply for up to five people in a single application.
Applying for a Laos Embassy Visa
To apply for a Laos Visa at an embassy, you have to:
- Get in touch with the nearest embassy or consulate.
- Complete e Laos visa application form and submit it along with the required documents. You can find a Laos visa application on the website of the embassy or consulate.
- You can apply in-person or via mail, as per the instructions of the Lao consular services.
- Pay the Laos visa fee.
- The visa application process will change slightly depending on where you apply, which is why you have to contact the embassy or consulate of Laos first. You can find the diplomatic missions of Laos listed here.
- You have to apply for a Laos visa at the nearest Lao embassy/consulate only if
- You are not able to get the visa on arrival or online visa or
- You want to stay for longer than the VOA and eVisa allow.
Laos Visa Requirements
When you apply for a Laos visa, you need the following:
- Your passport, which must be valid for at least another six months.
- The Laos visa application form. If you apply at an embassy, you can download it online. If you apply for the visa on arrival, you can get the application form on the plane or at the checkpoint/airport.
- Two recent passport-size pictures, with a white background and 4 cm x 6 cm dimensions.
- Proof of accommodation in Laos, such as a hotel reservation.
- Proof you have enough financial means to cover your stay.
- A return-trip ticket or onward ticket.
- Payment of the Laos visa fee.
- Any additional documents that the Lao consular services as for, depending on the reason for travelling.
How Long is a Laos Visa Valid?
The Lao tourist visa is valid for a maximum of 3 days. If you apply online, you have 60 days to use the visa approval letter to enter Laos.
Can You Extend a Laos Visa?
You can extend your Laos visa at the Immigration Department in Vientiane or the Immigration Division Office of the province you are in.
You have to apply for a visa extension before your current visa expires.
You can get an extension of your 30-day tourist visa only two times, for a maximum stay of 90 days. The extension fee is 20,000 Lao Kip (appx. USD 21), as well as a 25,000 Lao Kip (USD 27) service fee.
How Much Is a Laos Visa?
The visa fee for Laos changes depending on the nationality of the applicant. It ranges from USD 31 to USD 45 for a single-entry 30-day visa.
Types of Laos Visas
The Lao government issues visas depending on the purpose of entry. The main types of Lao visas are:
- Laos Tourist Visa. This visa is issued to foreigners who want to visit Lao as tourists. Most people can get a Lao tourist visa on arrival or online.
- Laos Business Visa. This visa is issued for foreigners who want to come to Laos for investment, data collection, or other business purposes. This is not the same as a Laos work visa because you cannot work for a Lao company.
- Laos Transit Visa. This visa is issued to foreigners who will transit through Lao on their way to a third destination. It is only valid for seven days, and you cannot extend it. To get this visa, you need proof of onward travels.
- Laos Work Visa. This visa is issued to foreigners who want to work in Laos and their family members.
- Laos Media Visa. This visa is issued to foreign journalists, travelling for their work.
- Laos Student Visa. Issued to foreign nationals who have been accepted into a Lao educational institution.
- Laos Spouse Visa. Issued to the spouses of Lao nationals.