Moving to Vientiane, Laos

Among the three territories comprising the former French Indochina, Laos is probably the least popular among foreigners. The country, compared to Vietnam and Cambodia, is more laidback and significantly “more faithful” to its ancient culture. These qualities are the very charms of Vientiane and the rest of Laos.


Consider hiring a relocation management company to help you with the documentation, logistics and settling down in your new neighbourhood. If you prefer to migrate on your own, you may need some serious planning and a trusted friend who can do a bit of translation when dealing with Laotian officials.

Pet relocation

We understand that you cannot leave your loyal canine friend behind. Before buying a crate, you must be aware that bringing a pet to Vientiane and other parts of Laos can be costly. Air travel remains as the most popular and safest way to transport domestic animals. Here are the updated requirements you’d need to prepare to bring your cat or dog to Laos:

  • Rabies vaccine for your pet between 30 days and 12 months prior travel, evidenced by a Rabies Certificate;
  • ISO microchip implanted on your pet;
  • An Import Permit issued from the Lao Government.

An Import Permit is usually processed within 7-10 business days. To apply, you’d need the following:

  • A copy of your valid passport
  • A letter from your employer or sponsor in Laos
  • A photo and description of your pet
  • A photo of the ISO microchip showing the number
  • A Veterinary Health Certificate for Laos prepared by an accredited veterinarian. The certificate must be translated into English.
  • A copy of the Rabies certificate
  • Details of your pet’s flight (flight number, date and time)

Airline companies will require the Import Permit before transporting your pet.

Visa application process

To apply for a visa to Laos, you must have the following:

  • A passport, valid for at least six months from the date of entry
  • One passport-sized photograph (2×2)
  • Payment in US dollars

The visa can be processed on the same day.

Additional requirements and fees:

Tourist visa

You may check with the Lao diplomatic mission in your country regarding the fee for a tourist visa. Citizens of Ireland, the UK and the USA are charged around US$40 while those from Australia and New Zealand must pay US$34 for a tourist visa.

This visa type may be extended at the Immigration Office in Vientiane for US$2 per day. It’s important to request for an extension ahead of time to avoid the US$10-a-day penalty for overstaying. Visa extensions require a service fee of US$3, and 3,000 kip per applicant.

Business visa

You may check with the Lao diplomatic mission in your country about business visa fees as these vary from place to place. The requirements, including fees, for visa extensions are similar with those for tourist visas.

Visa categories

Tourist visa

All foreigners entering Laos are required to secure a visa from Lao embassies and consulates abroad or on arrival in the country. Citizens of the following countries are exempted from the visa requirement for a certain number of days: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand and Vietnam.

be arranged in advance and requires a guarantee from a company or individual sponsor. Your sponsor must contact the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vientiane to request a business visa for you. This visa must be used within three months from the date of issue.

Visitors who were born in Laos may stay in the country for 60 days or longer.


If you’re not among those exempted from the visa requirement, you have to options in securing a visa: through a Lao diplomatic mission (embassy or consulate) or via international checkpoints such as the Vientiane Wattay International Airport, Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge and border crossings. The visa-on-arrival is valid for 30 days for about US$35.

Diplomatic visa

Holders of diplomatic passports of Japan, Serbia and South Korea are granted a visa-free stay in Laos for 90 days. If you’re a holder of a diplomatic or official passport of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Myanmar, North Korea, Poland, Russia, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan are exempted from the visa requirement for a 30-day visit. Indonesians part of the diplomatic mission, or holders of official passports, are entitled to a 14-day visa-free stay in Laos.

Know more about Vientiane, Laos with our relocation guide for expatriates:


This relocation guide is provided by, copyright © 2016 Interexpat Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Neither Interexpat nor S.A.S. ACS can be held liable for any errors or omissions, or any loss, damage that may occur as a result of this information. This information does not constitute advice.


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