Laos Smaller Border Crossings To Stop Issuing Visa-on-arrival?

DavidFL

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A disturbing report from Laos via

Nine Border Checkpoints to Discontinue Visa On Arrival Services - The Laotian Times

Nine Border Checkpoints to Discontinue Visa On Arrival Services

According to a notice issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday, nine of Laos’s border checkpoints will discontinue providing visa on arrival services to tourists.

The notice orders the closure of visa on arrival units at nine border checkpoints:
– Pang Hok (Phongsaly Province) bordering China
– Nam Soy (Huaphanh Province) bordering Vietnam
– Nam Kan (Xieng Khouang Province) bordering Vietnam
– Nam Ngeun (Xayaboury Province) bordering Thailand
– Nam Heuang (Xayaboury Province) bordering Thailand
– Nam Phao (Khammouane Province) bordering Vietnam
– Na Phao (Khammouane Province) bordering Vietnam
– Savannakhet International Airport
– Phou Keua (Attapeu Province) bordering Vietnam

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been tasked with coordinating the closure of the visa units and is to ensure that no disruptions are caused at border checkpoints.
Laos launched an e-visa service earlier this year, but so far this is only available for use at three checkpoints; Wattay International Airport, The First Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge, and Luang Prabang International Airport.​

Amazing Laos, building new roads from Thailand / Vietnam, opening up new border crossings & then stopping visa on arrival. Duh!
I can understand that at some of the smaller border crossings, it can hardly be affordable to employ Foreign Affairs staff to issue visas, because the volume will be so small.

But what about some of the other crossings....?
Muang Ngern / Nam Neun to Huay Kon in Thailand.
Nam Heuang (Khentao?) to Tha Li in Thailand.

Good ol Sayaboury province on the front line, killing tourism again for international travellers from Thailand.
What was the Huay / Kon / Muang Ngern road to Luang Prabang built for?

It probably won't affect ASEAN passport holders with one month visa free on arrival? But for everyone else a serious backwards step!

There is no commencement date, so it may not yet happen; but absolutely what are they thinking?

If it really does happen, it is a serious step backwards & a shot in both feet.

Please don't do this!

Come guys you're going backwards, not facilitating entry.
 

Eoin Christie

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I think that parts of Laos / Laos bureaucracy do not yet see international tourism as an important revenue stream, hence it may be viewed administratively more as a problem than a solution.
That doesn’t make it better, or justify it, but many Countries have not yet crossed that ‘threshold’, and may go through phases of one-step-forwards-two-steps-back.
Logic seldom has a role to play in this, particularly when provincial and federal authorities are not aligned.
 

DavidFL

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Some stats for foreign (non regional) entries at the border crossings involved.

2018 Statistics

Nam Phao: 5,931
Na Phao: 2,678
Nam Souy: 1,437
Pang Hok: 7,299
Phou Keua: 3,112
Nam Kanh: 2,212
Nam Ngeun: 2,340
Nam Heuang: 1,964

2,340 people entered Laos at Nam Neun from Huay Kon Thailand.
1,964 people entered Laos at Nam Heung (Kenthao) from Nakraseng (Tha Li) Thailand.
 

Jawnee

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I wonder if these border crossings that will no longer issue visas on arrival, will accept the e-visa, whenever that is implemented.
 

Eoin Christie

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I wonder if these border crossings that will no longer issue visas on arrival, will accept the e-visa, whenever that is implemented.
It’s already implemented but, as David notes, is only accepted at 3 entry points.
 

DavidFL

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Latest info is that the no Visa on Arrival VoA policy starts at the end of the year.
1 January 2020 is the first day of no VoA at the 9 border crossings listed.
 

DavidFL

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No VoA, Visa on Arrival at Muang Ngern from 1st January 2020.
People are being turned back, if they don't have a visa in advance.
E Visa does not work at Muang Ngern, so you need a visa in advance from a Lao embassy / consulate.
 

DavidFL

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An update with some more info in.
Not all the border crossings listed have stopped issuing VoA yet.

From 1st January 2020 no VoA at
  • Pang Hok (Phongsaly Province) bordering China
  • Nam Soy (Huaphanh Province) bordering Vietnam
  • Nam Ngeun (Xayaboury Province) bordering Thailand

From 1st April 2020
  • Nam Kan (Xieng Khouang Province) bordering Vietnam
  • Nam Heuang / Kenthao (Xayaboury Province) bordering Thailand
  • Savannakhet International Airport

From 1st July 2020
  • Nam Phao (Khammouane Province) bordering Vietnam
  • Phou Keua (Attapeu Province) bordering Vietnam
 

DavidFL

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At Huay Xay VOA is still available afaik. I going there myself on the coming monday.

Let me know how you go at Houei Xai.
If you can get some vdo or photos of the over friendly policeman who likes to assist your entry for a fee, please do.
Get a receipt & send me a copy should you have bad luck.
He's been reported to Vientiane once already.
 

Dodraugen

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Let me know how you go at Houei Xai.
If you can get some vdo or photos of the over friendly policeman who likes to assist your entry for a fee, please do.
Get a receipt & send me a copy should you have bad luck.
He's been reported to Vientiane once already.

Whats up with this police guy? Shouldnt be any need for assist upon entering Laos I presume?

I have entered Laos at Huay Xai at least 3 times before, two times on a motorbike and it was quite easy and straightforward as far as I can remember. However last time was 5 years ago....

If he offers any assist I will juat politely decline I guess in my best Lao...
 

Dodraugen

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Let me know how you go at Houei Xai.
If you can get some vdo or photos of the over friendly policeman who likes to assist your entry for a fee, please do.
Get a receipt & send me a copy should you have bad luck.
He's been reported to Vientiane once already.

Whats up with this police guy? Shouldnt be any need for assist upon entering Laos I presume?

I have entered Laos at Huay Xai at least 3 times before, two times on a motorbike and it was quite easy and straightforward as far as I can remember. However last time was 5 years ago so a lot could have happend in the meantime...

If he offers any assist I will just politely decline I guess in my best Lao...:p:D;)