Laos Visa & Passport

1. Laos Entry and Exit

   a. Passport & Laos Visa Requirement

To enter Vietnam you must have a valid passport with at least six months validity remaining beyond the date of arrival and one blank page for entry stamp. You also need to have a valid visa, unless you national meet the visa exemption of Laos (check Laos visa exemption list). However, there will be no visa requirement for transit at the airport.

To obtain a Laos visa, you are suggested to contact your nearby Laos embassy or consulate or diplomatic missions. Unable to get a visa in advance in limited circumstances, you can obtain a Laos visa upon arrival at international airports and most official international check points (see visa on arrival).

Do not attempt to enter Laos without valid travel documents or outside of official ports of entry. You should not cross the border between Laos and Thailand along the Mekong River except at official immigration check crossings. If you attempt to enter Laos outside of official ports of entry, you may be arrested, detained, fined, and deported.


   b. Land Entry

Currently, Laos has a number of local crossing points on the borders with Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and China.  You can get a tourist visa on arrival at below border check points if you do not meet the visa exemption requirement of Laos.    

The border check points between Vietnam and Laos are Tay Trang- Sobboun (Laichau, Vietnam to Pongsaly Province), Nameo - Banteui (Thanh Hua to Huaphanh province), Namkan - NamCan (Nge An to Xiengkhuang province), Keoneua - Namphao (Hatinh to Bolikhamxai province), Chalo - Napao (Guangbinh to Khammoun province, visa on arrival not available), Lao Bao - Dansavanh (Quang Tri to Savannakhet province), Bo Y - Phukeua (Kon Tum to Attapu province).

The border check points between Thailand and Laos are Chiang Khong - Houy Xai (Chiang Rai to Bokeo province),  Nakaxeng - Kaenthao (Loei to Sayabouly Province), Nong Khai - Vientiane (Thai-Lao Freindship Bridge No. 1), Bungkan - Pakxan (Nong Khai to Bolikhamxai province, visa on arrival not available), Nakon Phanom - Thakhaek (Nakon Phanom  to Khammouane province), Mukdaharn - Savannakhet (Mukdaharn to Savannakhet province  via Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge No.2), Chong Mek - Vangtao (Ubon Rathchathani to Champassak Province), Chiang Sean - Ton Pheung  (Chiang Rai to Bokeo Province)

The border check points between China and Laos are Mohan - Boten (Yunnan to Luang Namtha province), Xiengkok riverport on Mekong River to Luang Namtha province, visa on arrival not available, Sobhun checkpoint (Yunnan to Phongsaly province, visa on arrival not available).


The border check point between Cambodia and Laos is Dong Kralor - Veun Kham. The checkpoint links the Laos province of Champasak with the Cambodian province of Strung Treng, where Laos national road No.13 meets Cambodia national highway No.7. It is sometimes referred to as Stung Treng/Dong Kralor (some even spell it Dom Kralor) which can be confusing, but don't be confused. Whatever it's called or referred to, just remember that there is only one border crossing point between Laos and Cambodia that is currently open.


2. Getting Laos Visa

   a. Laos Visa on Arrival

Currently, you can get Laos visa upon arrival at international airports or most of  international border check points.  To obtain Laos visa on arrival, you need to bring a valid passport, 2 new color passport photos and cash (depending on nationality) for the visa stamp fee. Generally, Laos tourist visa obtained on arrival grants 30 day stay  except the special case.  


Airport Check Points:

Vientiane International Airport, Luang Prabang International Airport, Pakse International Airport, Savanakhet International Airport.


Land Check Points:

You can enter Laos from Thailand via the international border check points of  The Friendship Bridge crossing (near Vientiane, bordering Nong Khai, Thailand),  Avannakhet/Mukdahan ( Savannakhet Province, bordering Mukdaharn, Thailand),  Thakaek/Nakom Phanom (Khammouane Province, bordering Nakhon Phanom, Thailand),  Vang Tao/Chong Mek (Champasak Province, bordering Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand) ,  Houy Xai /Chiang Khong (Bokeo Province, bordering Chiang Rai, Thailand), Ton Pheung /Chiang Sean ( Bokeo Province, bordering Chiang Rai, Thailand)

If you plan to enter Laos from Vietnam, you can pass one of these border check points:  Sop Hun /Tay Trang ( Phonsaly Province, bordering Dien Bien, Vietnam),  NamXoi /Na Meo ( Huaphan Province, bordering Thanh Hoa, Vietnam),  Nam Phao /Cau (Xieng Khouang Province , bordering Ha Tinh, Vietnam),  Nam Khan / Nam Can (Xieng Khoung  Province, bordering Nghe An , Vietnam) , Na Phao /Cha Lo ( Khammouane Province, bordering Quang Binh , Vietnam),  Dansavanh /Lao Bao (Savannakhet Province, bordering Quang Tri, Vietnam),   Phoukeua / Bo Y (Attapeu Province, bordering  Kon Tum , Vietnam)

The single border check point between Cambodia and Laos is Dong Kralor / Veun Kham (Champasak Province, bordering Stung Treng, Cambodia.

There are border check points between Laos and China but it is only one opened to tourist. This international border check point is Boten/Mohan (Luang Namtha Province, bordering Yunnan, China)  

Be aware that the nationals of these countries need to obtain Laos visa before arrival, including Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe,  Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Nauru, Tonga, Surinam.

If you are holding passport issued by these countries, you need to contact the nearest Laos embassy or consulate to get the update information.


   b. Laos Visa Application

You need to make sure before you travel the type of visa you need for the purpose and duration of your trip. If you are travelling for business reasons you should contact the relevant Laos government department in advance to check whether any licenses are required to carry out your duties.

You can apply for a Laos visa in advance at Laos embassy or consulate offices. To apply for Laos visa, you are required to submit valid passport, 2 new color photos in together with a filled form. The visa application fees vary according to the amount of time or your nationality. Actually, tourist visa permits a stay of 30 days after your arrival, except some special case.

Note that nationals of these countries are required to have  visa approval letter to get visa from Laos embassy or consulate offices, including  Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe,  Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Nauru, Tonga, Surinam.

If you enter Laos on tourism purpose, you need to ask your local tour company for the arrangement of your visa approval letter with  Laos Immigration Dep.  This arrangement may cost you some extra fee.









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3. Laos Visa Type

Generally, Laos has many types of visas that you may apply for in order to enter Laos, and the purpose of your trip will help determine which type of visa you should apply for. The below list of visa types will explain the primary purpose of each visa type you may obtain in order to enter Laos.


   a. Laos Tourist Visas

The tourist visas are issued to foreign visitors to enter Laos on tourism purpose. Currently, Laos tourist visas can be obtained at Laos embassy and consulate offices or on arrival at international border check points.

Regardless of where you obtain them, tourist visas are for a single entry and must be used within 2 months from the date of issue. It allows you to stay in Laos for up to 30 days, and can be extended for up to 60 days (two 30-day). Follow the link for more info on Laos visa extension.


   b. Laos Visit Visas

The Laos visit visa is for citizens of countries that don't have a visa exemption agreement with Laos, who hold ordinary passports and intend to visit relatives working or living in Laos. It is available from Lao embassies or consulates in foreign countries.

Holding this type of Laos visa, visitors is allowed to stay  in Laos for up to 30 days and can extend by up to a further two months, but are not entitled to work or apply for multiple entry visas.

The application for  a Laos visit visa requires a proof of a guarantor in Laos (a guarantee letter certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Laos), and need at least 3-5 working days for consulate to issue the visa.


   c. Laos Business Visa

The Laos business visa is issued for business persons, or those will be working in Laos for a company, a project, or an organisation, who hold ordinary passports and have someone to "sponsor" them (a company or individual in Laos).

A multiple entry visa can be obtained for a period of 3 months, 6 months or 1 year from Lao embassies or Consulates in foreign countries (provided that it is arranged in advance).


Your "sponsor" in Laos (a company, an individual or an organisation that you will be working with) must go to the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Vientiane to request a visa for you by offering a "guarantee".

Once this request is approved by the MoFA, the approval will be communicated to the Lao Embassy specified by your sponsor at the time s/he requested the visa in Vientiane.

Your sponsor then needs to give you a proof of MoFA's approval as you will be asked for it (can be a copy of the approved letter or just its reference number). Once you have this, you then can apply for the business visa for Laos at the specified Lao Embassy or Laos checkpoints (on your arrival).

The process is quite lengthy, it normally takes 1-3 months and you need to have someone in Laos to do it for you. Most people use the service of specialist providers or travel agents.

   d. Laos Transit Visa (Tr)

The Laos transit visa is available for travelers transiting through Laos to a third country. Holders of this type of Laos visa can stay in Laos for up to 7 days. Work is prohibited and it is not extendable.

Travelers applying for a transit visa are required to show a proof of an onward journey (such as an air ticket and entry visa for the third country) within seven days.


   e. Diplomatic Visa (A1)

The diplomatic visa is issued to diplomatic passport holders, including consular officers, heads of the United Nations Agencies and International Organisations, and their spouses and children.

The diplomatic visa is exempted from a visa fee. Multiple entry visas for a period of one year can be obtained and can be renewed each year till the completion of assignments.


   f. Laos Official Visa (A2)

The official visa is similar to the diplomatic one (exempted from a Laos visa fee), however, it is for staff members of Diplomatic Missions, Consulates, United Nations Agencies and other International Organisations and their spouses and children holding official passports.

Multiple entry visas for a period of one year can be obtained and can be renewed every year till the completion of their assignments.


   g. Courtesy Visa (B1)

The courtesy visa is for foreign experts and their spouses and children holding diplomatic, official and ordinary passports taking assignments under bilateral cooperation or grant assistance projects for the Government of Laos.

The courtesy visa is exempted from a Laos visa fee. Multiple entry visas for a period of 6 months can be obtained and can be renewed every 6 months till the completion of their assignments.


4. Laos Visa Exemption

Currently, Laos allows nationals of 14 countries to enter Laos without a visa for varying time periods. Most of the countries being members of the ASEAN.


Duration of stay without visa


Within 14 days


Within 30 days


Within 30 days


Within 15 days


Within 15 days


Within 30 days


Within 30 days


Within 14 days


Within 30 days


Within 30 days


Within 15 days

South Korea

Within 15 days


Within 15 days


Within 30 days


Within 30 days


5. Visa Extensions

You will generally be allowed to stay in Laos for 30 days after you arrive. If you were born in Laos, you may be admitted for 60 days or longer. You can extend your 30-day tourist visa up to an additional 60 days for a fee of 2 USD per day through the Department of Immigration in Vientiane. If you overstay your visa in Laos, you risk arrest and will be fined 10 USD for each day of overstay when you depart the country. The Lao government calculates 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.