Laos Tourist Visa:
On Arrival, Online (E-Visa),
or at Lao Embassy?
Most of the tourists visiting Laos can easily apply for Visa on arrival, which is the most convenient way.
There are 33 countries in the blacklist that need to apply the Visa at Lao embassy before boarding the flight to Laos.
People are also talking about the E-Visa, when will it be possible? We make it all clear below, so that you can find the way that suits you most.
Lao Visa Policy
In general, Laos visa policy is quite easy and straight forward, that can be divided into 3 main categories: Visa Free or Visa Exemption (14-15-30 days), Visa on Arrival (30 days), and Visa or official approval required in advance for 33 blacklisted countries.
Let’s check the map below for the general idea.
Tourist Visa on Arrival
The Lao government issues 30-day tourist visa on arrival at all international airports and most international border crossings.
The whole process is very straightforward. You need between US$30 and US$42 in cash, one passport-sized photo and the name of a hotel or guesthouse.
Those without a photo, or who are arriving on a weekend, holiday or after office hours, will have to pay an additional one or two dollars.
The visa fee varies depending on the passport of origin, with Canadians having to fork out the most (US$42) and most other nationalities paying between US$30 and US$35.
It’s cheaper to pay in US dollars as a flat rate of 1500B (around US$45) is applicable in Thai baht. No other foreign currencies are accepted.
Where to Get Laos Tourist Visa on Arrival
At the moment, you can apply Laos Visa on arrival at 4 International Airports, 16 Border checkpoints, and 1 Train Station.
4 International airports
- Wattay International Airport in Vientiane Capital;
- Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang Province;
- Pakse Internatioanl Airport in Champasack Province;
- Savannakhet International Airport in Savannakhet Province.
16 International Border checkpoints
Laos – Vietnam: 7 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)
Laos – Cambodia: 1 International border
- Dong Kralor – Stung Treng (Champasak – Stung Treng)
Laos – Thailand: 7 International borders & 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)
- Tha Laneng Train Station (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)
Laos – China: 1 International border
- Boten – Bohan (Luang Namtha – Yunnan)
We have marked all the Laos Visa on arrival entry points in the Google Maps, please check below for your reference
Documents required and fee for Laos Visa on Arrival
Check out the documents required and Visa on arrival fee below:
- Your original passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity and a blank page for a visa sticker.
- A Visa application form, filled out and signed by the applicant (available at visa window at Lao ports of entry or given before landing if you are arriving by plane)
- Two(2) recent passport-type photographs.
- If you cannot find your country in the list, you can assume it costs $US30 (Others), or otherwise your country may be in “not eligible” countries list (The list of ‘Who cannot get Visa on Arrival’ below).
- On weekends, Lao public holidays, before 8am and after 4pm weekdays, there is a $1 over time fee. In addition an entry fee (2,500 Kip or so) may be charged.
- At Thai-Lao international border checkpoints Thai Baht may be accepted for Laos visa on arrival fee, We’d recommend paying your visa fee in US dollars to avoid loosing money through unfavorable exchange rates. The same rules apply when you apply the Visa at the border with Vietnam, Cambodia, or China
- Similarly, if you want to save a bit here and there when in Laos, it is better to pay in the currency quoted whether it is US dollars, Lao Kip or Thai Baht whenever possible to avoid converting from one currency to another. You might want to apply this strategy when paying your hotels, restaurant and shopping bills especially if it is a large sum of money.
How to get the Laos Tourist Visa on Arrival
Steps to apply for the Laos visa on arrival:
- If you want to be prepared and if you have access to a printer, download the visa application form HERE. Print and fill it out and take with you, otherwise wait till you arrive;
- On arrival, head to the window marked visa on arrival (don’t waste your time lining up at the immigration window if you don’t already have the visa); In most ports of entry including the Lao international border crossing points and Lao International Airports (Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse and Savannakhet) the Laos visa on arrival window is located at the arrival channel (before or next to the immigration windows).
- If you have not already pre-filled the application form, get it at the window and fill it out (if you arrive by plane, the visa form as well as immigration form should be given to you before landing, get them ready before leaving the plane);
- Submit the completed form together with your passport and 2 photographs;
- Pay the visa fee (cash, payable in US dollars), a complete list of fees is usually placed at the window for your reference;
- After providing everything needed, wait nearby, your name will be called once your visa is ready.
The visa processing time varies between ports of entry. At major airports or at Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane it takes around 10-15 minutes.
Delays are possible in late afternoons, weekends and public holidays at both visa window and immigration windows especially at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridges.
Who can get the Visa on arrival?
All foreigners intending to visit Laos as tourists, except for citizens of the countries listed under “Who CANNOT get Laos Visa on Arrival?” below.
Note: Citizens of ASEAN member countries as well as some other countries, who have special agreement with Laos, are exempt from Laos visa.
You can find the list of country entitled to Visa exemption below within this article.
Who cannot get Visa on Arrival - Updated on 21 October 2018
Nationals of the following 33 countries are ineligible to obtain a visa on arrival, and they can only obtain a visa on arrival if they are traveling on an official visit and are holding an official letter of guarantee issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Laos
How can the tourists from these countries get the Visa to Laos?
It is written somewhere that you can apply the visa to Laos at one of the oversea Lao Embassies or Lao Consulates in your countries or regions.
It is correct but not enough as you will first need to apply for the Visa Approval Letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We recommend you to contact with local travel agency to check for the latest procedure.
Here are our recommendation for 4 Steps to get your visa to Laos for blacklisted countries:
- Plan ahead: Working with the government office always takes time, sometimes, the procedure will be postponed because there is the big festival, official holiday, or they are busy joining some parties. We recommend you to have a solid plan at least 2 months before departure.
- Contact with a local travel agency, finalize your plan with them, and provide full information of your plan: Tour plan, hotels stay, arrival and departure flight, copy of passport, and the Lao Embassy or Consulate that you will get the Visa issued. Then the agency will help you take care of the rest.
- The whole procedure will take about 30-45 days, and cost $50-$70/person depending on your group size (this is for Visa approval letter only, you pay for your visa separately at the embassy/consulate). Of course, you can do it faster, however, you know it already, the faster you want, the more money you need to pay
- Once the Visa Approval Letter is issued, you take that and get the Visa issued at Laos Embassy or Consulate that you register with the local travel agency
- We recommend you to choose the Lao embassy or consulate in your area.
- However, if there is no Lao embassy or consulate in your area, you may need to plan your travel route to pass through one of Laos’ neighbor countries (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China or Myanmar), there are Lao embassies in these countries.
- With the Visa approval letter, it should take you no more than 2 hours to get the Visa issued
Visa at the Embassy (Mostly for Blacklisted Countries)
In most of the case, Visa on arrival is the most convenient and recommended method to apply Visa to Laos.
The visa issued at the embassy is generally for the tourists from Blacklisted countries only (33 countries listed above).
However, in case you want to have visa ready before boarding the flight to Laos, you can also have it at one of the Laos Embassy or Laos Consulate.
General Requirement (maybe varied depending on the embassy that you visit)
- Valid passport with remaining validity of at least 6 months from the date of your entry;
- Two blank pages on your passport (Lao visa stamp takes up a whole page, plus there has to be space for immigration stamps too);
- Two recent photographs (3cmx4cm), in color, front view and with a plain/light background;
- Duly filled Visa Application Form with one photograph attached;
- Visa fee (amount depends on your nationality and where you apply);
- A copy of your itinerary.
Additional requirement for applying Lao Visa from USA
- A copy of passport (the page contains your information);
- $ 10.00 for Lao Origin;
- $ 50.00 for US citizens;
- $ 57.00 for Canadian citizens;
- Visa fees can be paid by money order or certified check;
- If applying by mail, enclose prepaid self-addressed return envelope;
Two months from the date of issue.
Period of stay
30 days from the date of entry.
Consulates and Embassies
Embassy of Laos PDR
2222 S St NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (+1) 202-332-6416
For more information please visit the embassy website, here www.laoembassy.com/visa&applications.html
Additional requirement for applying Lao Visa from UK
Please check directly with the embassy at (+44) 20 7402 3770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If mailing in your application, include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
02 months from the date of issue.
Period of stay
30 days from the date of entry.
Consulates and Embassies
Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
49 Porchester Terrace
London, United Kingdom
Phone: (+44) 20 7402 3770
Additional requirement for applying Lao Visa from Australia
- A pre-paid self-addressed return envelope ( Express Mail, Registered Mail or DHL, TNT is acceptable );
- AU$ 45.00 for one entry (including Handling fee);
Processing time: 5 working days from date of receiving your completed application;
- AU$ 60.00 for urgent visa (including Handling fee).
Processing time: 1 working day;
- Visa fees can be paid by money order or cash payable to: “The Lao PDR EMBASSY”
Two months from the date of issue.
Period of stay
30 days from the date of entry.
Consulates and Embassies
Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic,
1, Dalman Crescent,
O’Malley, ACT 2606
Phone: (+61) 2 6286 4595, (+61) 2 6286 6933
More information or to download the application form here http://www.laosembassy.net
Visa Online (Electronic Visa)
The online visa or Electronic Visa to Laos is still on the way and hope to be offered within 2019.
Only foreign tourists will be eligible to apply for Laos’ entry visa online.
Overseas business people and officials are required to apply for entry visas from Lao embassies and consulates as normal, according to the official with knowledge of the issue.
We will update and keep you posted on this topic.
Laos Visa Extention
If you find your visa is about to expire and you wish to stay longer in Laos, don’t worry, it is possible to get all types of Laos visa (except for a Transit Visa), extended at the immigration office in Vientiane.
It cost US$2 per day if you apply before the expiry date. However, if you leave it until your visa expires you will be finded for US$10 per day for the days you over stayed.
If you are in Vientiane, your Laos Visa extension can be done at the Immigration Office behind the Joint Development Bank (JDB) on Lane Xang Avenue, opposite the Morning Market.
The office is open Monday-Friday, from 8:00am-4:00pm (closed 12:00 to 13:00 at lunchtime). The office is closed for applications on Friday afternoon.
- Your passport
- One passport type photo
- Service fee of US$3
- Application fee of 3,000 kip per person
- Visa extension fee : $2 per day if you have valid visa, $10 per day if your visa is already expired (overstayed days)
Get a travel agent or specialist provider to do your Laos visa extension for you.
Most travel agents can arrange a Laos visa extension for you with a small overhead fee. This varies between providers, so shop around for the best deal.
The process is straight forward, just fill out the application form then submit together with your passport and pay the fees. In normal circumstances your visa is usually ready the same day.
If you only plan to stay for a few more days this option could work out best.
If you are in Vientiane it is very easy, you can take a public bus (around 10,000 kip) to the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge.
Complete the immigration procedures on the Lao side; the take the shuttle bus (5,000 kip) to the Thai immigration point and enter Thailand.
If you want to come straight back into Laos you simply have to cross the road to the Thai immigration to exit the country.
Once again, get the shuttle bus and then arrive at the Lao side, where you can apply for a Laos Visa on Arrival.
Your passport must have at least 6 months of remaining validity and a blank page for a visa stamp and don’t forget to take enough cash (US dollars) for the visa fee and two passport sized photos.
Laos visa exemption is granted to many countries including all ASEAN member countries and some non-ASEAN nations that have entered into mutual agreements as well as some former USSR countries.
Laos also extends privileges to Laotians (Lao people) residing abroad who hold foreign passports by lowering the visa fee or in some case charging no fee, and allowing them to stay longer.
For some countries the visa free scheme applies to all type of passports (Diplomatic, Official and Ordinary passport), while for others it only applicable to certain type of passports. The length of stay ranges from 14-90 days depending on the countries.
List of countries entitled Lao Visa Exemption
Followings are lists of countries with which Laos has reached mutual agreements on Laos visa exemption. (Lao passport holders can enter these countries visa-free and these countries’ passport holders can enter Laos visa-free, same conditions apply)
|No||Country||Passport Type||Days of stay (Max)|
|15||DPR Korea||Diplomatic/Official||Not set*|
Former USSR countries
*The length of stay can be as long as the length of an assignment
**Ordinary passport holders of these countries can enter Laos without a visa, but Lao ordinary passport holders don’t get the same privilege in return (they still need to get a visa to enter those countries).
If you are a citizen of one of these countries with a right passport type, you can enter Laos without having to obtain a visa. The length of stay varies as shown above.
Natives of Laos residing abroad
Apart from the lists above, Laotians holding passports of other countries are exempt from Lao visa fee, regardless of their current nationality or citizenship status.
This program has been in place since 1 January 2011. More details below.
FREE of charge (you still need to get the visa, but you are not charged a visa fee), provided that you are:
- 65+ years of age, or
- Under 15 years of age, or
- Monk/priest (all ages), or
- Physically and/or mentally disabled (all ages)
If you are a Lao person and fall into one of the groups (1-4) above, you can apply for a visa FOR FREE either at Lao embassies/consulates outside Laos or at Lao international airports, or Lao international border checkpoints where visa on arrival is available.
Furthermore you can get your visa extended at immigration office in Laos FREE OF CHARGE when your 90-day visa expires should you want to stay longer.
FREE of charge for ALL Laotians, no age constrain, but you need to apply for the visa at Lao embassy/consulate abroad.
You can get Laos visa extension FOR FREE (at the immigration offices in Laos) should want to stay longer. Visit immigration department website
60-day visa (on arrival) – NOT FREE
If you are a native of Laos but not fall into any of the groups (1-4) above, you’ll be given 60 days permit (not the usual 30 days) when applying for Laos visa-on-arrival. Though you still need to pay the usual fee. This ranges from $20-$42 depending on your current citizenship.
However, if or when you get your visa extended at the immigration offices in Laos you will only be charged half of the fee (10,000kip/day). The full fee is 20,000kip/day (around $2.5).
Whether you chose to get your visa at the embassy or at your port of entry, you need to hold a valid passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity and provide two passport-type photos for visa processing.
Have an enjoyable trip. I hope you enjoy your privilege.