This post is for securing a Laos visa on arrival at Wattay International Airport, Vientiane Capital but the main principle can be applied to other checkpoints that offer visas on arrival. Getting your visa on arrival is quick and easy, not to mention much more convenient than having to commute to the Laos Embassy to get one. As long as you have all the required documents with you, visa on arrival is the way to go.
Thai nationals are exempt from Laos visa. Once in the immigration hall, take out your Thai passport and head straight to Passport Control. Thai passport holders are allowed to stay in Laos for 30 days. If more days are needed, you must leave the country and re-enter.
Tourist visa is usually granted to foreigners seeking to enter Laos but you can apply for other types of visa on arrival, too. For instance, you can apply for a Business visa or Official visa provided that you have the required documents from your company/organization in Laos or from the government Ministries of Laos. For official visas, there’s no fee for visa application but for Tourist visa, you’ll have to pay somewhere between US$30-42 depending on your nationality.
- On the plane, the flight attendant will hand out the visa on arrival application form to passengers. To speed up the process, you should fill in and sign the form before you land. Attach your photos on the form, too, if possible.
- Once landed, walk to the immigration hall, you’ll notice the line for visa on arrival on your right. If multiple flights land at the same time, this line will be quite long. Therefore, you should try to get off the plane and walk to immigration as quickly as possible to avoid the long wait.
- Your photo should be taken recently and fit the required size (3×2.5″) although from my observation, the officers do not seem to care much if it’s an old photo, or if it’s of the wrong size. If you forget to bring one, they will scan your passport photo and use that instead. This will of course cost you a few dollars more.
- Only cash in Thai Baht or US Dollar is accepted so come prepared!
- Tourist visa allows you to stay in the country for up to 30 days per visit.
- The information provided here is the most up-to-date at the time of writing but due to Wattay International Airport’s current renovations, things may be done differently when you visit in person.
Visa on arrival fees
|Fee in US Dollar||Passport Country|
|$30||Australia and other countries|
|$35||USA, UK, and most Europe|
|$40||India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka2|
|Additional $1||For overtime (4:00 PM-8:00 AM)|
1 Temporary visa exemption from January 1st, 2018 to December 31st, 2018. Denmark, Finland, and Norway also included.
2 Pakistan and Sri Lanka: eligible for visa on arrival only if traveling on an official visit and are holding an official letter of guarantee issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Laos
Countries exempted from Laos visa
|Country||Days allowed to stay|
Countries ineligible to get Laos visa on arrival
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tonga, Turkey, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
How to get Laos visa on arrival
- 1. Passport
- 2. Visa on arrival application form (see what it looks like)
- 3. Recent photos: 3x2.5" x2 (bring a glue stick too if you have one!)
- 4. Cash in Thai Baht or US Dollar (for US citizen: $35; for other nationalities, see table above)
In the immigration hall, look for a Visa on Arrival sign. It's usually on the right side when you walk in. It's also usually the longest line.
Hand your documents to the immigration officer at the first window.
The next window is where you pay the fee. Price depends on your nationality (see table above). If you are applying for Business, Work, or any type of official visa, the fee is waived but you'll have to supply a confirmation letter/documentation from your company/organization in Laos or from the Laos government Ministries. Once the fee is paid, move on to the last window.
At the last window, wait for your name to be called, then collect your passport. Inspect your Laos visa, name, last name, visa number, as well as the validity of your visa before leaving the area. If all is good, proceed to Passport Control.
Address: Vientiane capital, Chanthabouly District, Hatsady Village
Working hours: 8:00 AM-4:00 PM (M-F)
Phone: +856-021-219-607 (Laos country code is 856)
This post is also available in: Thai