Laos was at the top of my favorites list. If you love nature and hiking then this country is your Mecca. Getting a Laos visa on arrival is the most convenient, cheapest, and time saving way to obtain a Laos visa, although it’s for 30 days only. You don’t need to plan anything in advance. Just get to the border and get the visa.
I was living in Thailand and I wanted to catch the slow boat from the border to Luang Prabang. I came from Chiang Rai and crossed through the “Chiangkhong – Houixay, Chiang Rai to Bokeo Province” port of entry on bus.
Thankfully I met many other travelers who were doing the same journey as myself and we all knew what to do to not get scammed. This process is so easy and takes maybe 30 minutes or less.
But before we jump to that, here is a snippet of things to see and do in Laos.
Things to Do in Laos
While not as popular as its neighbors, there is so much to see and do in Laos. There are beautiful Buddhist temples like Pha That Luang and Wat Xiengthong. Kuang Si waterfall is a must. And so many off-the-beaten-path towns and villages. The raw natural beauty of Laos is second to none, really.
Eligible countries for Laos Visa on Arrival
All foreigners can get a Laos visa on arrival except for the 29 countries. And some Asian countries, Switzerland and Brueni are visa-exempt for Laos. So if you are one of them, no need to get a tourist visa on arrival.
Getting a Laos visa on arrival is a simple two-step process.
1. Laos Visa on Arrival Requirements
The requirements are fairly simple for a Laos visa on arrival.
- Valid passport: Original passport with 6 months of remaining validity and a blank page for the (big) visa sticker.
- A Laos visa application form: (Will be available at the visa window at Laos ports of entry or given before landing if you are arriving by plane). You can download it and fill it beforehand as well, if you want to save some time.
- Laos visa photo size: Two recent passport photos (2 X 2).
- Laos Visa fees (in cash only): I advise paying in USD to avoid losing money with exchange fees. And, yes, there are ATMs at the borders, although I wouldn’t rely on that option.
Laos Visa Cost
2. Visa Stamping at Laos Immigration
Once you are there, make sure that you are not wasting your time by lining up at the immigration, coz’ that’s for people who already have a visa or are visa-exempt. Please head over to the window marked visa on arrival.
Normally this would be before or next to the immigration windows at the check points or airports.
If you don’t have a pre-filled Laos visa on arrival form, get one and fill it out. Then submit the form along with your passport and the pics, and pay the visa fees.
Now is the time to wait. You can use this time to talk to the other tourists and why they are paying lesser or more than you do. When they call out your name, go and collect your passport with your shiny, new visa.
Best to avoid holidays and weekends
** You will need to pay a $1 over time fee on Laos public holidays and weekends (before 8am and after 4pm weekdays) . An additional entry fee (2,500 Kip or so) may be charged as well.
** Try your best to avoid going in late afternoons, weekends and public holidays, as things might get delayed at both visa window and immigration windows, especially at the Lao-Thai Friendship bridges.
Visa fees: 20-42$ depending on your country
No. of entries : Single
Duration : 30 days
CheckPoints for a Laos Visa on Arrival
Laos has 22 international checkpoints where you can get a visa on arrival, including international airports.
- Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, the capital.
- Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang province.
- Pakse International Airport in Champasak province.
- Savannakhet International Airport in Savannakhet province.
Vietnam-Laos border check points
- Nameo – Banleui, Thanh Hoa to Huaphanh province.
- Namkan – Namkan, Nge An to Xieng Khouang province.
- Keoneua – Nampao (Lak Sao), Ha tinh to Bolikhamxay province.
- Laobao – Dansavanh, Quang tri to Savannakhet province.
Thailand-Laos border check points
- Chiangkhong – Houixay, Chiang Rai to Bokeo province.
- Nakaxeng – Kaenthao, Loei to Sayabouly province.
- Houi Koln – Nam Ngeun, Nan to Sayabouly province.
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, Nongkhai-Vientiane Capital.
- Tha Naleng train station in Vientiane.
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II, Moukdahan-Savannakhet province.
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge III, Nakorn Phanom-Khammouane province.
- Chongmek – Vangtao, Ubol Ratchathani to Champasack province.
Cambodia-Laos border check points
- Dong Calor – Veun Kham, Cambodia to Champasack Province.
China-Laos border check points
- Mohan – Botene , Yunnan to Luang Namtha Province.
Have you tried obtaining a Laos visa on arrival?
If you have tried obtaining a tourist visa on arrival for Laos, let us know in the comments. Please feel free to ask any questions you might have.