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What to expect from Laos’s Visa on Arrival Process

21st January 2019

By Courtney Ridgel

Most travelers will need a visa for Laos, and visas are issued on arrival.

As Luang Prabang has a small airport and is nestled in the mountains, aircraft with props are common

On your flight in, the flight attendants will give you the Immigration forms. Luang Prabang has a small airport, so you will disembark outside and walk around the exterior of the airport until you get to Immigration, which is located just inside and around the corner.

You’ll first pass through the visa application line, and you will need to turn in your Immigration forms, a passport photo (a clear 2×2 inch headshot with a blank background) and cash for the visa fee.

The visa application line will be the first thing you see inside the door.

The visa fee for US citizens is officially US$35.00, but there is a sign taped to the booth which indicates that US citizens must pay an additional dollar. We’ve been told that if you arrive at the airport outside of the Lao Immigration hours (Mon-Fri 8am-4pm) you may be charged an additional $1.00 overtime fee, but more often than not, regardless of the hour, you will be charged the additional dollar, so it is best to plan on having $36 in US dollars when you arrive.

Be sure to bring cash with you when you arrive in Luang Prabang.

Just to your right are the Immigration counters, and once the visa label has been inserted into your passport, you’ll pass through one of these booths. The Immigration official will take your photo and stamp your passport, and you’ll proceed through to the baggage claim.

The Immigration officials will stamp your passport, once you have your visa

Collect your luggage and head outside to meet your guide who will be waiting for you with a sign with your name on it. Your guide will lead you to the car and will help you stow your luggage. Time permitting, you will be taken for a quick orientation tour around town to help you get your bearings before being taken to check in. If you need to exchange money, let your guide know, and they can help you do this in town.

The baggage claim is just behind the Immigration desks.

Welcome to beautiful Laos, otherwise known as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic!

A view of Luang Prabang from on high. Everything is green, vibrant and fresh after a rainstorm.

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