On July 9th, 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, in collaboration with its designated partners, launched the Lao eVisa service at Wattay International Airport. This marked a significant step towards modernizing and simplifying visa application processes in the country.

The launch ceremony was attended by high-level government officials, including the Lao Deputy Prime Minister, H.E Sonexay SIPHANDONE, and the Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E Saleumxay KOMMASITH, as well as representatives of diplomatic corps and international organizations based in the Vientiane Capital.

Initially, the eVisa service was made available at six international ports, including Wattay International Airport, Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, Luang Prabang International Airport, Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II, Pakse International Airport, and Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge IV. This move was aimed at facilitating travel to Laos for tourists and business visitors, while enhancing border security through advanced biometric and data capture technologies.

The Lao eVisa service allows travelers to apply for and receive their visas electronically, thereby eliminating the need for physical visits to Lao embassies or consulates. The online visa application process is user-friendly and can be completed within minutes. Applicants are required to fill out a form, upload a passport photo and a scanned copy of their passport, and make payment using a credit or debit card. Once the application is processed, the applicant will receive an electronic visa, which can be printed and presented at the port of entry.

By launching the eVisa service, the Lao government has taken a major step towards promoting tourism, facilitating trade and investment, and improving the country's overall business environment. The system is expected to expand to other international ports in the near future, which will further enhance the country's connectivity and attractiveness as a destination for foreign visitors.

What is a Lao eVisa and how does it work?

A Lao eVisa is an electronic travel authorization that allows foreign nationals to enter and travel within Laos for tourism, business, or other short-term purposes. It is an online visa application system that simplifies the traditional visa application process and allows travelers to apply for and obtain their visa electronically, without having to visit a Lao embassy or consulate.

The Lao eVisa application process is straightforward and can be completed entirely online. Applicants must provide personal and travel information, upload supporting documents, and pay the visa fee using a credit or debit card. Once the application is submitted, it is reviewed by the Lao immigration authorities, and if approved, the eVisa is sent to the applicant via email.

Travelers must print out a copy of their eVisa and present it at the Lao border or airport upon arrival, along with their passport and other required documentation. The eVisa is linked to the applicant's passport, and its validity is verified electronically by the immigration officers at the point of entry.

It is essential to note that the Lao eVisa is only valid for a single entry and a maximum stay of 30 days. If a traveler wishes to extend their stay in Laos beyond 30 days, they must apply for a visa extension at the Lao Immigration Department.

Advantages of applying for a Lao eVisa over a traditional visa

There are several advantages to applying for a Lao eVisa over a traditional visa:

Convenience: One of the most significant advantages of the Lao eVisa is that it can be obtained entirely online, without having to visit a Lao embassy or consulate. This means that travelers can apply for their visa from the comfort of their own home or office, saving time and money on travel expenses.

Faster processing times: The Lao eVisa application process is much faster than the traditional visa application process. With an eVisa, travelers can receive their visa approval within a few business days, whereas traditional visa applications can take several weeks or even months to process.

Cost-effective: The cost of a Lao eVisa is generally lower than that of a traditional visa. The eVisa application fee is paid online using a credit or debit card, eliminating the need for travelers to pay additional fees for bank transfers or money orders.

Secure and reliable: The Lao eVisa system is a secure and reliable way for travelers to obtain their visa. The online application process is designed to prevent fraud and ensure that only eligible travelers receive their visa approval.

Accessible: The Lao eVisa system allows travelers to apply for a visa from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet connection. This means that travelers can apply for their visa from their home country or while on the go, making the process even more accessible and convenient.

Overall, the Lao eVisa system offers a fast, convenient, and cost-effective way for travelers to obtain their visa, making it an attractive option for those planning a trip to Laos.

Eligibility requirements for a Lao eVisa application

Applicants must upload the following documents when applying for a Lao eVisa:-

  • A photograph that is 4x6 cm in size, taken within the last 6 months.
  • The cover page of their passport.
  • The bio page of their passport.
  • The passport bio page photo must cover the entire page, including the MRZ (Machine Readable Zone) at the bottom of the page.
  • The MRZ is the two lines of text with letters, numbers, and symbols that are printed at the bottom of the bio page of a passport.

It is important to ensure that all uploaded documents are clear, in color, and in the correct format to avoid delays or rejection of the application. By meeting these eligibility requirements, travelers can apply for and obtain their Lao eVisa online, quickly and conveniently. It is essential to note that meeting these requirements does not guarantee approval of the eVisa application, and the Lao immigration authorities may request additional information or documentation before granting the eVisa.

Step-by-step process for applying for a Lao eVisa online

The Lao eVisa application process is simple and can be completed in just three steps:

Step 1: Fill in the application form with your personal and travel details, and upload the necessary documents, which include a 4x6 cm photograph taken within the last 6 months, the cover page, and the bio page of your passport. Make sure to upload a clear, color copy of the passport bio page that includes the MRZ at the bottom.

Step 2: Review your application and pay the fee online using a credit or debit card. The fee amount may vary depending on the type of visa and the nationality of the applicant.

Step 3: Once your application is approved, you will receive an eVisa Approval Letter via email. You should download and print out the approval letter and present it, along with your passport, at the Lao border or airport upon arrival.

By following these three simple steps, you can obtain your Lao eVisa quickly and conveniently, without having to visit a Lao embassy or consulate in person

How long does it take to process a Lao eVisa application?

The processing time for a Lao eVisa application typically takes 1 to 3 business days. However, it may take longer if additional documents or information are required, or if there are technical issues with the application.

It is advisable to apply for the eVisa at least 3 to 5 business days before the intended travel date to allow for any delays in the processing time. In some cases, the processing time may be expedited for an additional fee.

It is essential to ensure that all information and documents provided in the eVisa application are accurate and complete to avoid any delays or rejection of the application. Once the eVisa is approved, applicants will receive an eVisa Approval Letter via email, which they should print out and present at the Lao border or airport upon arrival.

Common mistakes to avoid when applying for a Lao eVisa

When applying for a Lao eVisa, it is essential to avoid common mistakes that can lead to delays or rejection of the application. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Incorrect information: Providing inaccurate information on the eVisa application can result in delays or rejection of the application. Applicants should ensure that all personal and travel details provided in the application are accurate and match the information on their passport.

Incomplete application: Failing to provide all required documents or information in the eVisa application can result in delays or rejection of the application. Applicants should ensure that they have provided all required documents, such as a clear, color copy of the passport bio page that includes the MRZ at the bottom.

Poor quality documents: Uploading poor quality documents, such as blurred or black-and-white copies of the passport, can result in rejection of the application. Applicants should ensure that all documents are clear, in color, and in the correct format.

Payment errors: Failing to pay the correct fee or using an incorrect payment method can result in delays or rejection of the application. Applicants should ensure that they have paid the correct fee using a valid credit or debit card.

Missed deadlines: Failing to apply for the eVisa within the recommended timeframe or not allowing enough time for processing can result in delays or rejection of the application. Applicants should apply for the eVisa at least 3 to 5 business days before the intended travel date.

By avoiding these common mistakes, applicants can ensure that their Lao eVisa application is processed quickly and efficiently, and they can obtain their eVisa approval letter in a timely manner.

Tips for a successful Lao eVisa application

Here are some tips to help ensure a successful Lao eVisa application:

Apply early: It is recommended to apply for the Lao eVisa at least 3 to 5 business days before the intended travel date to allow for any delays in processing.

Check eligibility: Before applying for the eVisa, applicants should ensure that they meet all eligibility requirements, such as having a valid passport and clear purpose of visit.

Provide accurate information: All information and documents provided in the eVisa application must be accurate and match the information on the applicant's passport.

Submit complete documents: All required documents, such as a clear, color copy of the passport bio page that includes the MRZ at the bottom, must be provided in the correct format.

Choose the right payment method: Applicants should ensure that they use a valid credit or debit card to pay the eVisa fee and pay the correct fee amount.

Check for updates: Applicants should regularly check their email for updates on the status of their eVisa application and ensure that they have received the eVisa Approval Letter before traveling.

Review the eVisa Approval Letter: Before traveling to Laos, applicants should carefully review the eVisa Approval Letter and ensure that all details are correct.

By following these tips, applicants can increase their chances of a successful Lao eVisa application and avoid any delays or issues during their travels to Laos.

Lao eVisa Validity and Extension: What You Need to Know

A Lao eVisa is valid for a single entry into Laos and allows the holder to stay for up to 30 days. The validity of the eVisa starts from the date of entry into Laos, not from the date of issuance.

It is important to note that the Lao eVisa cannot be extended once the holder is in Laos. If the holder wishes to stay longer than 30 days, they must apply for a visa extension at the Department of Immigration in Laos.

To apply for a visa extension, the holder must submit their passport, a completed visa extension application form, and pay the visa extension fee. The visa extension process can take up to 5 business days, and the extension period granted can vary depending on the circumstances.

If the holder overstays their 30-day eVisa period, they will be subject to a fine of $10 per day for the first 5 days and $20 per day thereafter. It is important to comply with the visa requirements and not overstay the eVisa period to avoid any fines or legal issues.

In summary, a Lao eVisa allows for a single entry and a stay of up to 30 days in Laos. It cannot be extended while in Laos, and if the holder wishes to stay longer, they must apply for a visa extension at the Department of Immigration.

Understanding the Lao eVisa Approval Process and What to Expect.

The Lao eVisa approval process is a relatively simple and straightforward process. Here is what applicants can expect during the eVisa approval process:

Application submission: Applicants must submit their eVisa application online and upload all required documents, including a clear photo of the passport bio page that includes the MRZ at the bottom.

Application review: Once the application is submitted, it is reviewed by the Lao immigration authorities. If there are any issues or errors in the application, it may be rejected, and the applicant will be notified.

Payment of fees: If the application is approved, the applicant must pay the eVisa processing fee online using a valid credit or debit card.

Approval letter: After the fee is paid, the applicant will receive an eVisa Approval Letter by email within 1 to 3 business days. This letter will contain a unique reference number that the applicant must present at the port of entry.

Travel to Laos: Once the eVisa Approval Letter is received, the applicant can travel to Laos and present the Approval Letter at the port of entry. The immigration officer will verify the Approval Letter and stamp the passport with the eVisa.

It is important to note that the Lao eVisa application process can take up to 3 business days to complete. Applicants should apply for the eVisa at least 3 to 5 business days before their intended travel date to allow for any delays in processing.

In summary, the Lao eVisa approval process involves submitting the application online, paying the processing fee, receiving the Approval Letter by email, and presenting the Approval Letter at the port of entry in Laos.

Lao eVisa fees and payment methods

The Lao eVisa processing fee varies depending on the applicant's nationality and the processing time selected. The fee can be paid online using a valid credit or debit card during the eVisa application process.

Here are the current Lao eVisa fees:

  • Standard processing time (3 business days): USD 
  • Rush processing time (24 hours): USD 
  • Super rush processing time (8 hours): USD 

It is important to note that the eVisa processing fee is non-refundable, regardless of whether the application is approved or rejected.

In addition to the eVisa processing fee, some credit or debit card companies may charge an additional foreign transaction fee for processing the payment.

Overall, applicants should ensure that they have a valid credit or debit card with sufficient funds to cover the eVisa processing fee and any associated transaction fees. It is also recommended to review the payment policies of the credit or debit card issuer before making the payment to avoid any unexpected charges.

What to do if your Lao eVisa application is denied or rejected

If a Lao eVisa application is denied or rejected, the applicant will receive an email notification indicating the reason for the rejection. Some of the common reasons for rejection include incomplete or incorrect application details, missing or invalid supporting documents, and past criminal or immigration violations.

In case of rejection, applicants have the following options:

  • Reapply for the Lao eVisa: If the rejection is due to missing or incorrect information, applicants can reapply for the Lao eVisa with the corrected information and supporting documents. Applicants will have to pay the processing fee again.
  • Apply for a traditional visa: If the rejection is due to past criminal or immigration violations, the applicant may have to apply for a traditional visa at the nearest Lao embassy or consulate.
  • Cancel travel plans: If the applicant is unable to obtain a Lao eVisa or traditional visa, they may have to cancel their travel plans to Laos.

It is important to note that the eVisa processing fee is non-refundable, even if the application is rejected. Therefore, it is essential to review the eligibility requirements, supporting documents, and application details carefully before submitting the eVisa application.

Overall, applicants should review the reasons for rejection carefully and take the necessary steps to address the issues to increase the chances of a successful Lao eVisa application.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Lao eVisa is an electronic travel authorization that allows foreign nationals to enter and travel within Laos for tourism, business, or transit purposes.

Foreign nationals from eligible countries who meet the eVisa eligibility requirements can apply for a Lao eVisa.

The processing time for a Lao eVisa application ranges from 1 to 3 business days, depending on the processing time selected by the applicant.

A Lao eVisa is valid for 60 days from the date of issue, and the maximum length of stay is 30 days.

No, a Lao eVisa cannot be extended. If the applicant wishes to stay in Laos for a longer period, they must apply for a traditional visa at the nearest Lao embassy or consulate.

The fees for a Lao eVisa vary depending on the processing time selected by the applicant and the applicant's nationality. The fees range from USD 56.00 to USD 126.00.

Common mistakes to avoid when applying for a Lao eVisa include submitting incomplete or incorrect application details, providing invalid or missing supporting documents, and failing to meet the eligibility requirements.

If your Lao eVisa application is denied, you can reapply for the eVisa with the correct information and supporting documents or apply for a traditional visa at the nearest Lao embassy or consulate.


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