Following are types of Lao visas available and a bit of explanation for each. See which type suites you, based on your nationality, the type of passport you hold, the purpose of your visit and how long you plan to stay in Laos.
Although the information here may not answer all the questions you may have, it should provide some basics or gives you some ideas of the kinds of existing visas.
Tourist visas are issued to foreign visitors traveling to Laos for tourist purpose. Holders of tourist visa can stay in Laos for up to thirty (30) days, and it can be extended twice. It is work prohibited.
Travelers can obtain tourist visas either at a Lao embassy or consulate abroad, or at Laos ports of entry known as visa on arrival. However, visa on arrival is not for everyone. Find out more »
Follow this link for details on how to get tourist visa at Lao embassy or consulate abroad (requirements, fees and more).
Business visas (some websites refer to this as Investor Visa) are issued to foreign citizens working or investing in Laos including foreign investors, stockholders, enterprise directors, deputy directors, technical officers, volunteers of Non-Governmental organisations, staff members of Diplomatic Missions, General Consulates, the United Nations Agencies and other international organizations, that hold ordinary passports.
Applicants of the business visa need to first enter Laos under other type of visas, sort out paper work to get work permit and ID card, only after that the business visa can be issued.
Multiple entry visas may be obtained for a period of three (3) month, six (6) months or one (1) year, and may be renewed every three months, six months or one year until completion of assignments or business terms.
Transit Visas are for travelers who will only transit through Laos to another country. Holders of the visa can stay in Laos for five (5) days, and it cannot be extended.
To apply for a transit visa, a proof of a valid entry visa and/or air ticket to a third country is required.
Non-immigrant visas are issued to Foreign engineers, researchers, monks, athletes, musicians who will be performing in traditional festivals, persons attending short courses, and others to visit relatives in Laos.
Visit visas are issued to foreign citizens intending to visit family member or relatives working in the Laos. Persons intending to attend a conference without formal requests from ministries of foreign affairs or their organization can obtain this type of visas too.
Visitors holding this type of Laos visa can remain in Laos for up to 30 days and can extend by up to a further two months, but are not entitled to work or apply for multiple entry visas.
Labor (LA-B2) visas (or work visas) are issued to foreigners who already have work permits, ID cards and be legally employed by a registered enterprise in Laos, who hold a quota to employ foreign employees.
This visa may be multiple entry for a 3 month, 6 month, or 12 month duration, and it can extended as work permit and ID cards are renewed.
Expert visas are issued to foreign experts who are coming to work in international organizations, Non-Governments or projects in Laos. A proof of assignment such as employment contract is required to apply for this visa.
Diplomatic visas are only issued to foreign high level governmental delegations, diplomats, consular officers, heads of the United Nations Agencies and other International Organizations accredited in Laos and their dependents (spouse and children) holding diplomatic passports.
The diplomatic visas are exempted from visa fees. Multiple entry visas for a period of up to one year can be obtained and can be renewed each year till the completion of assignments.
Similar to A1 visa, official visas are issued to members of governmental delegations, staff members of foreign diplomatic missions, consulates, United Nations Agencies and other international organization agencies and their dependents (spouse and children) holding official passports.
Official visas are exempted from visa fees. Multiple entry visas for a period of up to one year can be obtained and can be renewed each year till the completion of assignments.
Courtesy visas are issued to foreign experts and their dependents holding diplomatic, official and ordinary passports visiting Laos under a subcontract with a project funded by the Lao Government’s bilateral cooperation or grant assistance, persons on official visits such as attending meetings and conferences invited by a government agency of the Lao PDR.
The Courtesy visas (B1) are exempted from visas fees. Multiple entry visas may be obtained for a period of six months and may be extended every six months until the assignment’s completion.
Student visas are issued to foreign students who will study in Laos for a duration of one to five years. It is a 12-month visa and it may be renewed year by year until completion of study course.
Spouse visas are issued to husbands or wives of other types of visa holders. The spouse visa will normally be for the same duration as that of the original visa holder. Holders for spouse visas may not undertake any work while in Laos.
Media Visas are issued to representatives of the foreign media, including registered journalists, members of the press, radio, film or print industries who cover events in Laos.
All Laos visas must be used within two months from the date of issue.
Most Laos visa types are extendable. Once in Laos you can get your Laos visa extended. Check out how to do it »