Laos Digital Nomad Visa Option: Requirements, Tips, & Updates [2023]

Laos does not have a digital nomad visa and there is no news on plans to introduce one. With the country seeing more than 800,000 international tourists visiting the country in early 2023 (The Laotian Times, May 2023), the tourism ministry may have its hands full.

However, digital nomads can apply for a tourist visa through the convenient e-visa system. Launched in July 2019, the Lao e-visa service simplifies the application process and is available at several ports of entry like Wattay International Airport and the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I.

While Laos offers visa-exempt entry for 30 days to certain countries (mainly ASEAN members), digital nomads requiring a longer stay or visitors from non-exempt countries can apply for a tourist visa through the e-visa system. You can apply for a visa extension subject to approval.

Despite the absence of a Laos digital nomad visa, the country remains an attractive destination for remote workers due to its location amid Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Talking with fellow digital nomads and scouring official sources, we’ll guide you to applying for an e-visa, including the requirements, the steps and a few important things to consider.

Quick Facts

  • Visa length: 30 days (can be extended as per approval)
  • Minimum income: not specified, but enough for touring Laos is a safe bet
  • Cost of a visa: $50 (except for a few countries)
  • Timeline for visa processing: 3 business days

Laos e-Visa for Digital Nomads Table of Contents

  1. Who Can Apply for a Laos e-Visa?
  2. What is Laos e-Visa?
  3. General Visa Requirements Digital Nomads Should Know
  4. How to Apply for Laos e-Visa?

Who Can Apply for a Laos e-Visa?

Your country may have a visa exemption agreement with Laos, allowing citizens to enter without a visa. However, citizens from the West do not qualify under these agreements. On the other hand, citizens from ASEAN countries, Russia, Korea, and Switzerland do qualify. You can find here the list of visa-exempt countries.

If you are not eligible for visa exemption, and since there is currently no dedicated Laos digital nomad visa available, your best option is to get a tourist visa. Even if you are visa-exempt, how long can you stay in Laos without a visa? The answer is 30 days only. So, getting a tourist visa makes sense, too, so you can extend your stay (subject to approval). The good news is, getting a tourist visa is simple and can be done online via the e-visa site.

Photo by 竟傲 汤:

What is Laos e-Visa?

Laos e-Visa offers a convenient way to expedite the tourist visa process. You apply online to get the Approval Letter (the e-visa), which you present at your port of entry. As of this writing, there are six international entry points in Laos, including the Wattay International Airport, Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I and Luang Prabang International Airport. The good news is the government plans to add more ports of entry in the future.

Upon arrival, you go to a dedicated lane exclusive to e-visa holders, ensuring a smoother and hassle-free experience for applicants. Likewise, If you’re a group, you can apply for a maximum of 10 people per processing.

The Laos eVisa facility is available for citizens from various countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and most European Union countries. You can find the complete list of eligible countries here.

General Visa Requirements Digital Nomads Should Know

  • Valid Passport: Your passport should have a validity of at least six months from the date of entry into Laos.
  • Passport-sized photograph: Carry a recent photograph measuring 4×6 cm, taken within the last six months.
  • Sufficient funds: You need to demonstrate that you have enough financial means to support yourself for the duration of your intended stay in Laos.
  • Arrival Card: Complete and submit the Arrival Card provided upon your entry into Laos.
  • Valid Laos Visa: Check the specific visa requirements to determine if you need a valid visa to enter Laos.
  • Onward or return ticket: Make sure you have a confirmed ticket for your onward journey or return trip.
  • Proof of entry to the next destination: If you plan to travel to another country after your stay in Laos, for instance, in Vietnam, you need to carry the necessary documentation, such as a valid visa or any other evidence required for entry into your next destination.
Photo by Olivier Darny:

How to Apply for Laos e-Visa?

Here’s how to apply on Laos visa online site:

Step 1

Visit the e-visa portal and select “Ordinary” as the type of travel. Upload your passport photo and profile photo, ensuring that both files do not exceed 2MB. Include a clear photo of your passport’s bio page, covering the entire page, including the MRZ (two lines at the bottom). Provide your passport and travel details, and select your preferred port of entry. In addition to international airports, eligible ports of entry include the Lao-Thai borders at Vientiane and Savannakhet, as well as the Boten Railway Station.

Step 2

Review your application details and make the payment online. The e-visa fee is $50 for most countries, with the exception of China and Cuba, which have a fee of $35. Note that the e-visa fee is non-refundable.

Step 3

Download your e-visa Approval Letter. Once obtained, present it and your passport at the chosen port of entry in Laos. Upon arrival, complete the final immigration procedures to gain entry into the country. You should use your designated e-visa ports of entry; however, if you enter through a different port, you will be required to apply for a visa on arrival, and in such cases, the e-visa fee is non-refundable.

Processing Time

The typical processing time for the e-visa is three working days from the submission of the application and payment of the visa fee. Please ensure that all information provided meets the criteria and is accepted by the Lao Government Authorities to avoid any delays. In some cases, the processing time may be longer.

To check the status of your application, you can visit

Things to Consider

  • Print the e-visa Approval Letter: Make sure to print a physical copy of the eVisa Approval Letter and present it to the Immigration Officer upon arrival. Electronic versions or photos of the letter will not be accepted.
  • Validity period: Once you receive the eVisa Approval Letter, you can enter Laos on any date within the period starting from the approval date and ending 60 days later, which is the expiry date mentioned in the letter.
  • Visa extension: If you wish to extend your stay in Laos, you have the option to apply for a visa extension. Visit the Visitor Services Centre at the Department of Immigration before the expiry of your authorized length of stay to initiate the extension process.
  • Overstaying: Going beyond the permitted duration of stay granted by your visa is considered a punishable offense in Laos. If you intend to stay in Laos beyond the approved period, it is crucial to obtain the necessary visa extension before the authorized stay expires.

A Tourist Visa May Not Be for You If…

A tourist visa may not be applicable in the following situations:

  • Employment or Business: If you plan to work or engage in business activities in Laos, a tourist visa is not suitable. Work permits or business visas are required for such purposes.
  • Long-Term Stay: For extended stays beyond what a tourist visa allows, such as several months or years, a long-stay visa or residence permit is necessary.
  • Specialized Activities: Certain activities like research, study, or volunteering may require specific visas tailored to those purposes.

If Your Visa Is Rejected

If your Laos tourist visa is rejected, review the reason for the rejection and address any issues or errors in your application. Consider reapplying with the necessary corrections or exploring alternative visa options. Depending on the circumstances, you may have the option to appeal the decision. Ensure you comply with the guidelines provided by Laos immigration authorities to improve your chances of a successful visa outcome.

To Laos and Beyond

Without a Laos digital nomad visa, getting a Laos tourist visa is the next best thing. It can provide digital nomads with the opportunity to explore Southeast Asia seamlessly. With its strategic location neighboring popular destinations like Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, Laos serves as an excellent base for nomadic adventures. By securing a tourist visa, you can navigate the region with ease, going as far east as the Philippines, and indulge in the cultural richness and natural wonders that Laos has to offer. So, consider acquiring a Laos tourist visa to unlock the gateway to a remarkable Southeast Asian experience.