Laos Visa Guide 2020 (For All Nationalities) – Do I Need One & How To Get One

Most visitors to Laos will need to get a visa to enter the country. If you’re wondering how to get a visa for Laos (or if you need one) then look no further.

This Laos visa guide will discuss how to get a visa for Laos including if you need one, the different options and how to extend your stay.

This post is suitable for all nationalities.

Quick Links – Laos Visa Guide


Do I Need A Visa For Laos? – Visa Exemption

Citizens of certain countries don’t need to get a visa when visiting Laos. The length of time you can stay varies for different countries.

Below is a list of the countries that are not required to obtain a visa when entering Laos. It also includes the length of time you’re allowed to stay.

14 Days15 Days30 Days
BruneiLuxembourgCambodia
IndonesiaJapanMalaysia
MyanmarRussiaMongolia
South KoreaPhilippines
SwitzerlandSingapore
Thailand
Vietnam

If your country is not on the visa exemption list or you want to stay for longer in Laos then you will need to get a visa.


How To Apply For A Laos Visa

There are 3 options for getting a Laos visa:

  1. Get a visa from a Lao embassy or consulate.
  2. Get a visa on arrival when you get to Laos.
  3. Apply online for an e-Visa.

Once you have your visa, you must use it within 3 months of it being issued.

For the tourist visa, once you enter Laos you can stay for up to 30 days. These visas can be extended twice for 30 days each time. This is a single entry visa so you can only enter once under the visa.


Can I Get A Visa On Arrival in Laos?

This is an easy and convenient way to get a visa for Laos. Once you arrive in Laos you need to queue at the visa on arrival counter to get your visa. Expect long queues at the airport to get your visa. 

You will need to pay a fee – this fee varies depending on your nationality. The cost varies from $30 to $42. You can pay this in USD, Thai Baht or Lao Kip but it does need to be in cash.

Please note: travellers may be charged an additional fee if they don’t have a passport sized photo, if they arrive between 6am and 8am or if they arrive on a weekend/national holiday.

Where Can I Get A Visa On Arrival In Laos?

There are many places where you can get the visa on arrival in Laos. Below is the full list so ensure you are entering Laos through one of these points if you’re wanting to get this visa type.

Airports:

  • Wattay International Airport
  • Luang Prabang International Airport
  • Pakse International Airport
  • Savannakhet International Airport

Border Checkpoints:

China – Laos
  • Mohan, Yunnan – Botene, Luang Namtha
Thailand – Laos
  • Chiangkhong, Chiang Rai – Houixay, Bokeo
  • Nakaxeng, Loei – Kaenthao, Sayabouly
  • Houi Koln, Nan – Nam Ngeun, Sayabouly
  • Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, Nongkhay – Vientiane
  • Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II, Moukdahan – Savannakhet
  • Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge III, Nakorn Phanom – Khammouane
  • Chongmek, Ubol Ratchathani – Vangtao, Champasack
Vietnam – Laos
  • Nameo, Thanh Hoa – Banleui, Huaphanh
  • Namkan, Nge An – Namkan, Xieng Khouang
  • Keoneua, Ha Tinh – Nampao (Lak Sao), Bolikhamxay
  • Laobao, Quang Tri – Dansavanh, Savannakhet
Cambodia – Laos
  • Dong Calor, Cambodia – Veun Kham, Champasack

Am I Eligible For A Visa On Arrival?

Unfortunately, there are 29 countries that are not eligible for a visa on arrival.

Passport holders from these countries can only get a visa for Laos from a Lao embassy or consulate.

Please note that not all countries have a Lao embassy or consulate so you may need to visit a country that does have one.

The best way to do this is to visit one of the neighbouring countries such as Thailand prior to entering Laos where you will be able to obtain the visa. You can get a 30 day visa from the embassy/consulate – the process takes around 3 working days to complete.

Countries That Cannot Get A Visa On Arrival:

Afghanistan JordanSierra Leone
AlgeriaLesothoSri Lanka
BangladeshLiberiaSuriname
BurundiLibyaSyria
CameroonMozambiqueSwaziland
CongoNauruTonga
Cote d’IvoireNigerTurkey
GhanaNigeriaZambia
GuineaPakistanZimbabwe
Guinea BissauSenegal

What Do I Need To Get A Visa On Arrival In Laos?

  • Passport with at least 6 months of validity. 
  • Passport sized photos (4x6cm). 
  • Completed visa application form.
  • Details of your accommodation in Laos.
  • Cash to pay the fee – either USD, Thai Baht or Lao Kip.

Can I Get An e-Visa For Laos?

Another option is applying for your visa online prior to your trip.

The government of Laos recently introduced this to reduce queues at the airport for the visa on arrival. Anyone that is eligible for visa on arrival is also eligible to apply online for an e-Visa. 

The e-Visa is slightly more expensive. You will pay either $45 or $50 depending on your nationality. Check the visa fee calculator here.

If you’re wanting to use this option, ensure you apply at least 7 days prior to your planned arrival in Laos. 

How To Apply For An e-Visa For Laos

Here is the Laos government website where you can apply for your e-Visa.

To apply for this you just need to fill in the online application form and pay the fee.

After that, your e-Visa will be emailed to you. You will then have to print off a copy and present this to the immigration counter when you arrive in Laos. This is much quicker than the visa on arrival.

Once you get your e-Visa, it is valid for 60 days meaning you have to enter Laos within 60 days of your visa being issued.

Upon entering Laos, you have 30 days before you need to leave. This visa only allows for a single entry so if you leave Laos before the visa expires and want to return, you will need to apply for another visa.

If you are getting an e-visa, you will need to ensure you enter Laos through one of the following ports:

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

Upon arrival, go to the immigration area and join the e-Visa lane. You will need to show the Immigration officer your passport and the e-Visa Approval Letter (this will be emailed to you to print out).


Can I Extend My Laos Visa?

You can extend a 30 day visa for up to an additional 60 days via the Department of Immigration in Vientiane.

This costs US $2 per day.

If you overstay your visa, you will have to pay US $10 per day you have overstayed your visa. This fine will be collected upon your departure at the airport.


Can I Do A Visa Run In Laos?

Another option to get more time in Laos is to leave Laos and apply for another visa. It’s easy and cheap to get to countries such as Thailand where you can either apply for a e-Visa or get another visa on arrival and then simply re-enter the country. 

For example, if you’re in Vientiane you can take a bus to the Lao-Thailand friendship bridge which will only cost around 10,000 kip ($1.10).

After you leave Laos and pass Thai immigration, you can get the shuttle bus and head back across the bridge and re-enter Laos where you’ll get another visa on arrival.


Thanks for reading this Laos visa guide which gives all the information you’ll need on how to get a visa for Laos!

Happy travels!

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