Lao Visa - How to Get Visa to Laos

07, Apr

by Liz

It is common knowledge that to set foot on a foreign country’s soil, one must hold a valid visa issued by the destination government. The Lao People's Democratic Republic is no exception. In general, for the purpose of promoting tourism, Laos visa policies are quite open to most of the world’s nations. Learn about these policies to prepare for your amazing Laos travel.

So how to get Visa to Laos? Let's first learn about Laos visa exemption policies. Passport holders from one of these 15 countries below are granted visa - free access to Laos for up to a 30-day stay (for tourism purposes only) as long as the passport remains valid for at least 6 months.

  • 30 Days Maximum of Stay: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore,Singapore South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam
  • 15 Days Maximum of Stay: Japan, Luxembourg, Switzerland
  • 14 Days Maximum of Stay: Brunei, Myanmar

Other countries not mentioned on the list above will need to apply for Laos visa on arrival, Laos evisa or Laos visa at Embassy to enter the country. In which visa on arrival and evisa are the 2 most convenient ways to get visa to Laos for travellers. Read on the article of Asia Private Travels for the most detailed instructions.

1. Laos Visa on Arrival


► Travelers from almost all other countries may obtain a visa upon arrival that is valid for up to 30 days at most of the 27 ports of entry to Laos, except for:

Afghanistan Nauru
Algeria Niger
Bangladesh Nigeria
Burundi Pakistan
Cameroon Senegal
Congo Sierra Leone
Cote d’Ivoire Sri Lanka
Ghana Suriname
Guinea Syria ( Syrian Arab republic)
Guinea Bissau Swaziland
Jordan Tonga
Lesotho Turkey
Liberia Zambia
Libya ( Libyan Arab Jamahiriya ) Zimbabwe

However, they can obtain a visa on arrival if traveling on an official visit and possess an official letter of guarantee issued by the Foreign Ministry of Laos. 

► Laos visas on arrival can be obtained at the following ports of entry:

International Airport 

  • Wattay International Airport in Vientiane Capital.
  • Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang Province.
  • Pakse International Airport in Champasack Province.
  • Savannakhet International Airport in Savannakhet Province.
  • Border Checkpoints between China - Laos 
  • Mohan - Botene , Yunnan to Luang Namtha Province.

Border Checkpoints between Thailand - Laos

  • Chiangkhong - 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, Nongkhay - Vientiane Capital.
  • Lao - Thai Friendship Bridge II, Moukdahan - Savannakhet Province.
  • Lao - Thai Friendship Bridge III, Nakorn Phanom - Khammouane Province.
  • Chongmek - Vangtao, Ubol Ratchathani to Champasack Province.

Border Checkpoints between Vietnam - Laos

  • Pang Hok - Tay Trang, Dien Bien Phu to Muang Khua and Luang Prabang.
  • Nameo - Banleui, Thanh Hoa to Huaphanh Province.
  • Namkan - Nam Can, Nghe An to Xieng Khouang Province.
  • Keoneua - Nampao (Lak Sao), Ha Tinh to Bolikhamxay Province.
  • Lao Bao - Dansavanh, Quang Tri to Savannakhet Province.

Border Checkpoints between Cambodia - Laos

  • Dong Calor - Veun Kham, Cambodia to Champasack Province. 

The visa on arrival is allowed to be extended twice, but for no more than 90 days of stay in Laos. Visa extensions are processed by the provincial immigration office in Laos for an additional fee. 

To acquire a Laos visa on arrival, traveller must prepare documents 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 (cash in USD)
  • Proof of accommodation for the visa application. 


Steps to get Laos Visa on arrival

  • Upon arrival, head to the window marked “On Arrival.” (The immigration window is only for people who already have visa.) If the applicant has not filled out the form, he will be asked to complete the visa-on-arrival form by the window. Then the applicant is expected to pay the visa fee in cash. After the form has been reviewed, the name of the applicant will be called, and he will be granted access to enter the country.
  • The fee varies depending on your citizenship but can range from $30 USD (266,700 Kip) to $42 USD (373,380 Kip). To facilitate processing, pay the visa application fee in exact change with US dollars. Laotian Kip and Thai Baht are accepted, but you may pay more for the currency exchange.
  • In the event that travelers do not have photos, an additional fee for photo scanning is applied at the airport. Also, there are additional charges for the visa if you arrive between 6.00 and 8.00 AM, on a weekend, or on a national holiday.

However, a visa on arrival is not the best option since eVisa is way more convenient and available to most countries.

2. Laos eVisa

With a view to promoting foreign tourists to visit the country, eVisa policies were issued by the Laos government in July 2019. eVisas are issued online for tourism and business purposes only and are eligible for most of the world’s countries (except for countries whose nationalities are ineligible for visas on arrival, as addressed above).

Read more: All you need to know about Evisa to Vietnam

An evisa can be issued within 3 business days, and is valid for 60 days from the date of issue. The eVisa allows a maximum stay of up to 30 days in Laos. The cost of a Laos visa depends on which country’s passport you possess. For most countries, the price is 35 USD and could be higher for citizens of the US and some other Western countries.

Please refer the list of countries that can apply for Laos eVisa at this official website of Laos Immigration:

Laos eVisa applicants can apply in just 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Provide the application details and upload the necessary documents.

To apply for the eVisa, you have to upload the following personal documents:

  • Photograph size: 4x6 cm (has been taken no longer than 6 months)
  • Passport cover page
  • Passport bio page

Please upload a photo of your passport that covers the whole bio page, including its MRZ (two lines at the bottom of the page).

Your visa application photograph must meet certain criteria regarding size and content. Submitting photos that do not meet these criteria can delay the visa application process. If your photo does not meet the requirements, you will have to provide new photographs before your application can be processed.

Please refer to the sample photo below to apply for eVisa.

Step 2: Review your application and pay the fee online.

After submitting all the required details and documents, the applicant must process the application fee. The eVisa fee is non-refundable.

Step 3: Download the eVisa Approval Letter.

The processing procedure for the eVisa is usually 3 working days after submitting the application and the visa fee. Unless all the information provided by applicants meets the criteria and is accepted by the Lao government authorities, the processing time could be longer. 

Holders of eVisas can only enter the country of Laos from one of the following ports of entry:

  • Wattay International Airport (Vientiane Capital)
  • Thai – Lao Friendship Bridge I (Vientiane Capital)
  • Thai – Lao Friendship Bridge II (Savannakhet Province)
  • Luang Prabang International Airport (Luang Prabang)
  • Pakse International Airport (Champasack Province)

At the arrival port, follow the following steps:

  • Process to the immigration area and enter the dedicated eVisa lane.
  • Present your passport and eVisa Approval Letter to the immigration officer.
  • Get the final immigration approval and enter Laos.

It is recommended that you apply for the eVisa since this is the most painless way to your trip to Laos. Be aware of the fact that policies may change, and stay tuned for the latest updates on Laos visa policies here in our Laos Travel Guides.

We do hope that the information above will help you obtain your Laos visa. If you need any further information or tailor your Laos itinerary for free, don't hesitate to contact us!