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What is the Easiest Way to Apply for a Laos Visa Successfully?

For those planning their first trip to Laos, knowing how and where to apply for the visa, or even if they need one, is one of the most important aspects of the whole process. Visa applications are one of the most important parts of the trip, and without a visa, or visa exemption, you will not be able to enter the country, and will be turned away at the borders or airports. So if you are thinking of taking that lifetime trip to Laos in the near future, then let our Laos travel experts give you all the information you need to know on obtaining your visa as easily as possible. What do you need to prepare for visa application?

Before you make the application for your visa, whether it is at an embassy, on arrival, or via the E-visa service, you need to make sure that you have all the correct documents, in the correct formats, and correctly filled out. If you do not, your application will be rejected and you will not get a refund of the visa application fee. So you need to understand and take care that all of this information is correct before you start.

Passport – The first thing to do is to make sure that your passport is valid and has enough validity remaining for the trip. In order to apply for a visa for a foreign country, including Laos, your passport should have at least six months of validity remaining at the time of your expected date of entry into the country. If not, your visa may be refused outright, though this is sometimes subject to certain allowances at the discretion of the Embassy. If your passport is soon running out, check on getting a new one with your own passport service.

Make sure your passport is valid
Make sure your passport is valid

Photos – For some countries, the photo for the visa is a different size from that used for passports. For Laos, the photos are the same size, so you can use spare passport photos for the application. You need to make sure that you have two recent photos, taken within the last month or so, and that closely resemble your current appearance.

Completed Application Form – You can get the application form online as a download from the Lao Embassy website or at the airport or border checkpoint on your arrival. The application form must be completed correctly, with no corrections and no missed entries. If the item does not apply to you, you must enter “NA” in the box.

Laos visa completed application
Completed correctly your Laos visa completed application

Additional Documents – While Laos does not require any other forms of identification or proof of onward travel or hotel booking, you will need to take a photocopy of your passport’s information page and include it in the application for embassy applications only.

How many types of Lao visa and how to apply?

There are four ways to obtain your visa for Laos, as long as you meet the requirements for the type of visa you are applying for. There are a number of countries that do not require a visa for visits of up to 30 days, while other tourists are able to apply for the E-visa and Visa on Arrival service. However, there are 32 countries around the world that are still required to apply through an embassy in their home or resident country, most of which are in Africa and the Middle East.

Embassy application

Applications through the Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic are made in the embassy in your home or resident country, and can be made in person or by registered mail, depending on the allowance of the embassy in question. Certain embassies in certain countries only allow personal applications. Embassies are generally open from 9:00am to 12:00 noon and 1:00pm to 4:30pm, though some may vary from this.

The Embassy of the Laos
The Embassy of the Laos

Your application at the embassy requires you to have all of the above completed information with you, or in your postal envelope, and should be submitted to the embassy or consulate in full. You must also include the visa fee, which varies in price from country to country. The fee must be paid for in local currency, using money orders or certified banker’s checks only. Fees generally range from as low as 25 US dollars to as high as 57 US dollars, depending on your country of origin.

Processing of an embassy visa application also depends on your home country, and can take as little as three working days or as long as ten working days. You are advised to check with the embassy in your home or resident country regarding the processing period. Both processing periods and fees are available on the website of the Lao Embassy in your country of origin.

Visa on arrival

The Visa on Arrival (VOA) is the most popular form of local visa for travelers around the world, and is relatively simple to process, and faster than waiting for an embassy visa. The VOA is a useful way to obtain the Lao visa for those that are already traveling.

Laos Visa on arrival
Laos Visa on arrival

The VOA can be applied for on arrival at the airports and land border checkpoints around the country, and have the same requirements as the embassy visas. The visa fee must be paid in cash in either US dollars or Thai Baht, and has additional overtime fees for weekends, public holidays, and out-of-hours applications. The fee generally ranges from 20 dollars to 42 dollars, depending on your country of origin, and is displayed at the immigration desk when you arrive. Processing normally takes around an hour when not busy, but can take longer at peak times, especially at the larger airports. The VOA service is available at the following airports:
● Wattay International Airport in Vientiane Capital.
● Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang Province.
● Pakse International Airport in Champasak Province.
● Savannakhet International Airport in Savannakhet Province.

And at the following border crossings:

Thailand – Laos
● Chiangkhong – Houixay
● Nakaxeng – Kaenthao
● Houi Koln – Nam Ngeun
● Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I
● Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II
● Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge III
● Chongmek – Vangtao

Vietnam – Laos
● Pang Hok – Tay Trang
● Nameo – Banleui
● Namkan – Nam Can
● Keoneua – Nampao (Lak Sao)
● Lao Bao – Dansavanh

Cambodia – Laos
● Dong Calor – Veun Kham

China – Laos
● Mohan – Boten


The E-visa is the latest addition to the visa application processes, and can be done easily at the official website for E-visa applications at The E-visa can be used to enter the country through three international airports and two land border crossings only. These are:
● Wattay International Airport in Vientiane Capital.
● Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang Province.
● Pakse International Airport in Champasak Province.
● Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I
● Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II

The visa requires you to log in to the website, and requires a scanned copy of the bio page of your current valid passport, a digital image of your 4cmx6cm passport photo, and other additional documents that depend on your country of origin. Payment for the E-visa can be made through the secure payment page and can only be done using VISA, MasterCard, JCB, or UnionPay. The process listed on the website is as follows:
1. Go to eVisa website at
2. Click on “Apply Now”.
3. Insert your email address and the security code in the box.
4. The system will send the verification code to your email.
5. Fill the verification code and you will get link of application form.
6. Fill the personal information, passport details and travel details.
7. Review and submit all your information before proceeding to payment.
8. Chooses your payment method.
9. Completed.

Once approved, you will be sent an email with your Visa Approval Letter, which you can present to the immigration desk in Laos with your passport. It will then be stamped into your passport and you will be permitted to enter. There is a dedicated E-visa lane at all ports of entry.

Tour agency

A travel or tour agency is another option for getting your visa, and will make all the applications on your behalf for the visa before you travel. Once you book a tour, we will apply for the visa as part of the service, and make sure that you do not have to do anything yourself. Just leave it all up to us .

Special tips of Laos Visa Application

If you are sending the application to the embassy in your home or resident country by mail, make sure you use registered post, instead of a courier service, and include a pre-paid registered return envelope.

For some visa on arrival applications, a scan of your passport photo can be used for a small fee. This is only an option at the airports and some of the overland border crossings. However, this can change without notice.

A Lao visa is generally valid for a period of 30 days, and can be extended twice while traveling up to a total of 90 days. You will need to visit an immigration office for the visa extension.

Overstaying the visa is not a huge crime, but it can get expensive once you do decide to leave, or get caught. Currently, there is a US$10 per day fee for every day you are overstaying in Laos. This must be paid in cash at the immigration office you are taken to or the immigration desk at your departure port.

As of the most recent updates, entry inspections by customs are fairly lax when entering Laos. As long as you are not bringing in lots of additional luggage, are not carrying illegal drugs and weapons, and are under the allowed limits for alcohol and tobacco, there are no harsh restrictions.


Getting a visa for Laos is not as hard as many people think it may be. While Laos is only a recent addition to the tourism industry in Indochina and Southeast Asia, they try and make it as easy as possible to obtain a visa to better promote their tourism industry. And for those that live in countries where visa applications are only permitted through embassies, travel agencies can be a godsend. So if you are thinking of taking a trip to Laos in the near future, make sure you follow this useful information to get your visa easily and without any fuss.

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