A lesser-known gem in Southeast Asia, Laos offers an off-the-beaten-track experience for visitors. Bordered by several of Asia’s more well-traveled lands such as China, Thailand, and Cambodia, Laos is a unique destination which offers a variety of enticing attractions. Visitors can take in a range of lush landscapes including waterfalls, jungles, mountains, glistening rice fields, and much more.
The launch of an eVisa for Laos comes after many of its neighboring countries, like Thailand and Vietnam, have already implemented a similar process to boost tourism and improve procedures at border controls.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that June will see the inauguration of the Laos E-Visa or electronic visa. The E-visa will allow individuals from eligible nations around the world to obtain travel authorization exclusively online before arriving in Laos.
The Ministry recently made a statement to announce that the Consular Department, along with other relevant divisions of the government, are working together to develop the e-Visa for the intended June launch date.
The Laos E-visa system is just the latest in a string of improvements being put into motion by the Lao government, in keeping with their plans to modernize and accelerate public services.
Laos E-Visa Conditions
The Laos E-visa will offer eligible nationalities the possibility to apply online through a simple application form to obtain the correct travel documentation to enter Laos.
The online visa for Laos will be a single-entry visa, allowing holders to enter Laos once for a total stay of 30 consecutive days in the country. Visitors who wish to spend more than 30 days in the country, or obtain a multiple-entry visa to leave and re-enter the country without needing to apply for a new visa, will be required to visit a Laos embassy or consulate before traveling to the country.
Laos E-Visa Aims to Promote Tourism
Mr. Soun Manivong, the Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department for the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, believes the E-visa system will make it more convenient for foreign tourists to apply for an entry visa to Laos.
The main aim of the Laos online visa project is to attract higher numbers of tourists to Laos.
Despite there currently being a visa-on-arrival process in place in Laos, it seems that many travelers are unsure about which points of entry the service is available at, and tend to look for alternatives in case they are turned away at the border.
The unfortunate fact is that the alternative,at the moment, is the traditional visa application process through an embassy or consulate. This can be time-consuming and may require extra expenses in terms of travel and costs. Many countries find themselves without a Laos Diplomatic Mission close by and often have to travel to neighboring countries to visit an embassy or consulate. This can deter prospective travelers from completing the process and thus affects the number of tourists who visit Laos. The implementation of the online Laos visa seeks to change this.
Goals of the Laos E-Visa Scheme
Once launched, the Laos E-visa program is expected to help the growth of the tourism industry by facilitating the possibility for tourists to access a Laos visa online before traveling. This, in turn, is expected to vastly increase the number of annual foreign visitors to Laos.
Last year, records show that more than 4.1 million tourists visited Laos from abroad, which was an increase of 8.2% from the previous year, although this figure did not reach the established goal of 5 million. Therefore, the Lao government hopes that this new easy-to-use system for obtaining a visa to Laos will help them to hit their targets.
Additionally, alongside the launch of the E-visa program in 2019, Laos is also promoting a combined year of tourism with China called Visit Laos-China, which should also hopefully boost tourist numbers to the country.