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The article below provides important information about travel to Laos. For comprehensive Visa Application instructions, please see the specific Visa Requirements page for your Visa Type (business, tourist, etc). Our step-by-step instructions guide you through the process. We guarantee the accuracy of your application and expedite it with the appropriate Consulate. Our team is here to help with online chat, phone & email support.

06/01/2008

Laos Visa Requirements


ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:  A passport and visa are required. The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that visas should be applied for prior to departing the USA but may be available at certain ports of entry. Foreign tourists are generally admitted to Laos for 30 days. The Embassy of Laos highly recommends you obtain a visa prior to departing the USA. Please see our Laos visa page for more information. 

 

The Department of Immigration in Vientiane will extend 30-day tourist visas up to an additional 60 days for a fee of $2 per day. Foreigners who overstay their visas in Laos risk arrest and upon departure will be fined $10 for each day of overstay.  The Lao government requires payment of visa fees and fines in U.S. dollars. Thai baht and Lao kip may sometimes be accepted for the fees, but at unfavorable exchange rates.

 

Foreign tourists who wish to obtain a visa in advance may contact a Lao embassy or consulate. The Embassy of Laos highly recommends you obtain a visa prior to departing the USA. Please see our Laos visa page for more information.

 

Business visas can only be arranged in advance; a company or individual "sponsor" must contact the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Vientiane and request a visa for the traveler by offering a "guarantee." Once this request is approved by the MFA, the approval will be communicated to the Lao Embassy in Washington, DC and the U.S. traveler may then apply for the business visa. This process normally takes 1-3 months. After the traveler's arrival, these visas can usually be extended for one month.  Please see our Laos visa page for more information.

 

U.S. citizens should not attempt to enter Laos without valid travel documents or outside of official ports of entry. Travelers should not cross the border between Laos and Thailand along the Mekong River except at official immigration check crossings. Unscrupulous travel agents have sold U.S.-citizen travelers false Lao visas, which have resulted in those travelers being denied entry into Laos. Persons attempting to enter Laos outside of official ports of entry risk arrest or other serious consequences.

 


Immigration offices at some of the less-used land border crossing points are not well marked. Travelers should make sure that they complete immigration and customs formalities when they enter Laos. Travelers who enter Laos without completing these formalities may be subject to fine, detention, imprisonment, and/or deportation.

 

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) is a poor, developing country ruled by an authoritarian, Communist, one-party government. Political power is centralized in the Lao People's Revolutionary Party. Services and facilities for tourists are adequate in the capital, Vientiane, and the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, but are extremely limited in other parts of the country.

 

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION:  Americans living or traveling in Laos are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Laos. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located on Rue Bartholonie (near Tat Dam), in Vientiane; from the U.S., mail may be addressed to U.S. Embassy Vientiane, Unit 8165, Box V, APO AP 96546; Telephone (856-21) 267-000, recorded emergency information for American citizens (856-21) 267-111; duty officer emergency cellular telephone (856-20) 550-2016; Embassy-wide fax number (856-21) 267-190; Consular Section e-mail: CONSLAO@state.gov, Embassy web site: http://laos.usembassy.gov/



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