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Visa Requirements for US Passport Holders – Laos (Lao People’s Democratic Republic)

US passport holders who would like to travel to Laos are required to have a valid US passport and a visa to be allowed to enter Laos. US passport holders may obtain a tourist visa upon arrival in Laos. They will have to present 2 passport photos and pay US$35.00 at specific airports, ports of entry and border offices. These are in Wattay Airport in Vientiane, Pakse in Savannakhet, and Luang Prabang Airports. The ports of entry are at the Friendship Bridge in Vientiane and Savannakhet and Nam Heuang Friendship Bridge in Sayabouly Province. And for border offices at 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 tourist visa issued at these places is only good for 30 days, although a tourist can apply for an extension at the Department of Immigration in Vientiane. The extension given is usually for 60 days and costs $120.00.

A US passport holder may also get a visa before traveling to Laos. They can get a visitor visa from the Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Washington DC. The visitor visa issued here allows a person to stay in Laos for 60 days. The Embassy also issues business visas. Applicants must have their hosts or sponsors request for a visa for them with the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vientiane (MFA). They will send the approval of the MFA to the Laos Embassy in Washington where the US passport holder can then apply for a business visa. Travelers with business visas can apply for a month extension in Laos with the Department of Immigration in Vientiane.

Visa requirements:

  1. US passport (with at least 6 months validity left)
  2. 2 completed visa application forms
  3. 3 recent passport-size photos
  4. Prepaid self-addressed envelope (for mailed applications)
  5. Visa application and service fee : US$50.00
  6. Certificate of vaccination for yellow fever and cholera
  7. For business visa:
    1. Visa request approval from Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs obtained by host or sponsors in Laos

Important notes:

  • Visa applications to the Laos Embassy in Washington can be submitted personally or be sent by mail.
  • All fees can be paid by certified check or money order only.
  • Visas are good for a single entry to Laos and must be used within two months after issue date
  • For applications submitted personally, visa processing can normally take one day and be released on the same day. Applications sent by mail can take another 2 to 3 days.
  • Travelers who plan on getting a tourist visa at Laos airports/ports of entry/borders must bring with them 2 passport-size photos and they will have to pay US$35.00.
  • Travelers should make sure to get their passports stamped upon entry and when leaving Laos. This is necessary to avoid any problems in the future.
  • Travelers caught overstaying in Laos can be arrested and asked to pay a fine of $10.00 per day that they overstayed.
  • There is an airport departure tax amounting to US$10.00 when leaving Laos by international flight through Wattay Airport, Pakse Airport, Savannakhet Airport, and Luang Prabang Airport. For domestic flights the departure tax is 5,000 kip, or around US$0.60. These airport departure taxes are sometimes included in the ticket fares by some airline companies.
  • All fees,  fines and taxes in Laos are payable by US Dollars, Lao Kip or Thai Baht
  • For inquiries about travel to Laos and visa applications:

    Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
    2222 S Street NW
    Washington, DC
    Telephone: (202) 328 9148, (202) 328 9148
    Fax: (202) 332-4923

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