Lao Visa Upon Arrival at Airport and Land Borders
Getting Lao visa is easy and much easier than before. Apart from getting visa of Lao PDR through traditional ways at Embassy or Consulates, travelers of most nationals can now obtain Lao visa upon arrival – at International airport of Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse, and at various border crossing points with the neighboring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and China.
Normal entry tourist visa is valid for 30 days. General visa fee upon arrival is US$ 30 – prepare one Passport size photos for visa application form and another for a back up. For longer stay tourist, a 60-day visa should be obtained at Embassy/Consulates before entry to Laos. Extension of stay is possible for another 30 days, but you should apply for extension before expiry at the Immigration Office. Overstay fine.
Your Passport must be valid for at least 6 months with at least 1 empty page for visa stamp. Refusal of entry to travelers who had less than 6 months validity or no empty page in Passport for visa stamp had happened before, so this should not be a surprise.
Some tourists may prefer to have visa stamp before the arrival, so visa is all set and no worry upon arrival. This could help to save time from long queue, especially during holidays when some group tours arrive Laos without visa. With visa already stamp on your Passport, you still need to fill arrival application form to the Immigration office, but procedure is shorten. To get Lao visa before arrival, contact the nearest Embassy/Consulate from your country. Visa stamp fee at Embassy/Consulate ranges from US$ 8-40 depending upon the country.
As tourism in Laos grows during the past decade, so do the International airport. A decade ago, there is only one International airport in Vientiane, the capital city of Lao PDR. Only old Russian planes flied during those time to and from Bangkok of Thaiand, Hanoi of Vietnam and Phnom Penh of Cambodia. Nowaday, there are two more International airports in addition to the one in Vientiane, one in Lunag Prabang and another in Pakse. Several International airlines have been flying to these airports and the lists are growing. At these three International Airports – Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse, you can obtain Lao visa upon arrival.
Lao PDR is a landlock country and is surrounded by Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China. There are totally 15 border crossing points between Laos and its neighboring countries. Out of these 15 points, only 9 of which are allowed for foreigners whereas the rest only for locals.
These nine crossing/check points where foreign travelers can travel by land are as followed:
Border Check Points between Thailand and Laos
- Nongkhai – Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge at Nongkhai (close to Vientiane)
- Chiang Khong / Huay Xai
- Xayabouly / Nam Heuang Friendship Bridge
- Friendship Bridge II at Mukdahan / Suvannakhet
- Chongmek / Champassak
Border Check Points between Vietnam and Laos
- Nam Kanh / Nong Haet in Xieng Khouang Province
- Kao Cheo / Nam Phao
- Lao Bao / Dene Savanh Savannakhet Province
Border Check Point between China and Laos
- China – Mohan / Boten (Luang Namtha)
Border Check Point – between Cambodia and Laos (No Laos Visa upon arrival)
- Dong Calor – Veun Kham – Unfortunately, no visa on arrival for Laos is available at this crossing point between Cambodia and Laos. Travelers can obtain Cambodia visa at this border when travel from Laos to Cambodia, but not vice versa. Laos visa should be stamped from Lao Embassy in Phnom Penh before arrival at this crossing point.