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All people who would like to travel to Laos, or the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, are required to have a visa in order to be allowed entrance into the country. UK passport holders also need a visa to travel to Laos and a passport that is valid for no less than 6 months. UK passport holders can get a tourist visa when they arrive in any of the major international airports in Laos. These international airports are Wattay airport, Pakse airport and Luang Prabang airport. They can also be issued tourist visas when coming in from Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia. There are immigration officers at border checkpoints in Boten-Mohan, Dansavan-Lao Bao, Houaysay-Chiang Khong, Thakhek-Nakhon Phanom, Nong Haet-Nam Kan, Nam Phao-Kao Cheo, Veun Kham-Dong Calor and Vangtao-Chong Mek. The Friendship bridges in Nam Heuang, Savannakhet and Vientiane also have Laos immigration offices where visitors can get a tourist visa.
A UK passport holder must have with them their passport, which must have a validity of 6 months, and 2 passport photos. When they arrive, they will have to fill up a “visa on arrival” form and then submit this together with their passport and photos to the visa officer on duty. They will also have to pay a visa fee of US$35.00. The fee can only be paid in US dollars, Thai Baht or Lao Kip, but it is generally advised to use US dollars since this will be cheaper compared to paying in Thai Baht or Lao Kip. After around 10 to 15 minutes, the visa officer will then summon the applicant so that they can get their passport with tourist visa. They can then proceed to the immigration official so that they can get their passport stamped for entry. There are cases when the visa officer is also the one who stamps the passport, but travelers should double check and make sure that their passports get the appropriate stamp so as not to encounter any difficulties while in Laos and when leaving the country.
The tourist visa issued on arrival is good for a 30 day stay in Laos. If a UK passport holder would like to stay in Laos longer, they would have to apply for an extension at the Laos Department of Immigration in Vientiane. The extension fee is US$2.00 per day of extension. Another way to have a visa extended is to ask the services of travel agents in Vientiane, but the fee is US$3.00 per day and there have been documented cases of travel agents who over-charge foreigners.
Travelers are also required to pay US$10.00 for an airport departure tax when leaving Laos by international flights at any of the Laos international airports. The airport departure tax for domestic flights is 5,000 Kip, or approximately 60 US cents.
UK passport holders can get more updates and information about travelling to Laos by contacting the nearest Embassy of Laos to the UK which is the Laos Embassy in France.
Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic – France