From October 1, holders of Lao official and diplomatic passports will no longer need an exit visa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make official visits to countries with which Laos has an agreement on visa exemptions.

The foreign ministry announced the date following the government’s recent approval of the exit visa exemption.

The new ruling means ministries, central-level and local bodies can authorise overseas trips for personnel holding official or diplomatic passports, without the need for an exit visa from the ministry. Laos has signed agreements on visa exemptions for holders of official and diplomatic passports with 23 countries including the other nine Asean member countries and Timor-Leste. The other nations are Mongolia, Cuba, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Russia, Poland, Hungary, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Peru, Brazil and Bangladesh.

However, information relating to countries that signed visa exemption agreements with Laos is currently being reviewed and there might be some changes, the ministry said in its announcement. Although the exit visa requirement has been waived, officials and diplomats are still required to submit reports summarising their trips on their return to Laos. These must be provided to the foreign ministry, External Relations Committee of the Party Central Committee, and the organisation that granted approval for the visit, as was the case previously.

Holders of diplomatic and official passports intending to make official visits to countries with whom Laos does not have a visa exemption agreement must still obtain an official letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is needed to facilitate the process of acquiring a visa from the embassy of the relevant country.

It is noted that, in the past, Lao citizens who held private passports also needed an exit visa from the foreign ministry to travel overseas, but the government cancelled this requirement several years ago.

Source: LNTV Lao News in English