Most foreign nationals planning a Myanmar holiday are required to apply for a visa to enter the country. You can easily apply at the local Myanmar consulate or embassy in advance of the travel date. Alternatively, applying online is a further option.
Although there is visa-free travel for certain countries up to a period of 14 days (occasionally longer in certain situations). This visa exemption applies to passport holders from Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand.
Apply for a visa
The Myanmar visa is easily applied for at consulates and embassies, as well as using the e-visa online system. The e-visa method is intended to simplify the process of applying for a visa – particularly for those citizens that live in a country that does not have a Myanmar embassy.
To apply for the e-visa it is possible to use the official Ministry of Immigration site, and this is available to citizens in nearly 100 countries. Some of the countries the e-visa is available to include: the UK, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Italy and Denmark.
However, the e-visa does have certain restrictions in place and is only usable if planning to enter Myanmar using one of the three international airports: Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and Yangon. It is also valid for entry via the Myanmar-Thai borders at Kawthaung/Ranong, Myawaddy/Mae Sot and Tachileik/Mae Sai. The e-visa is not usable for travellers that plan to enter the country via other Thai, India, or China entry points.
Plus, there are several land border points that are restricted due to sensitive political situations, so it makes sense to check ahead of time if looking to enter the country using one of the least travelled regions.
After the online application is complete, you receive an approval letter by email which is printed and passed to the passport office on arrival at the land border or airport. This approval letter acts much like a normal visa and you are simply stamped into the country.
It is possible to leave Myanmar via any of the land border crossings – though there is a requirement to get permission and a permit if wishing to exit to either India or China.
Single entry visa
A single entry visa (tourist) costs in the region of $21.50 when the application takes place through a local consulate or embassy, while an e-visa is the most expensive option at $50.
Also, the actual application process is quite straightforward, but the procedures can vary slightly depending on the country that is used to apply from.
In order to apply for the Myanmar visa it is necessary to supply supporting documentation such as a recommendation letter from an employer, while the travellers on the package tours are requested to provide a copy of the tour itinerary.
Citizens of nearly 50 countries have the option to apply for a business visa online which is subject to providing proof of your company’s business or registration, while also having sponsored invitation by another company. The cost of the business e-visa is $70 and is valid for a period of up to 70 days.
Visa on arrival
Myanmar does have a visa on arrival service, but this is quite restrictive. It is only applicable to travellers in need of a business visa, transit visa, or short-term entry visa for participating in a specific meeting or event. It is only available to citizens from a few named countries, and requires supporting documentation, such as proof of the business that will be conducted while in the country.
Note: a visa on arrival is no longer available for tourists that plan to visit Myanmar.
When to apply for the visa
Avoid applying for the Myanmar visa too early as it will need to be within one to three months of the date you plan to enter the country.
Also, avoid leaving things to the last minute with some consulates and embassies taking up to 2 weeks or more to issue the paperwork. Slight variations in the application process can vary with some embassies asking for two passport photos, while others will accept one.
A postal application is the simplest option but it is practical to check with the relevant embassy about their specific requirements. Plus, for those citizens that live in a country without a Myanmar consulate or embassy, the application process can take even longer.
For the travellers that are already in the region and plan to make a last minute visit to Myanmar, there is the option to apply for a short notice tourist visa at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok. The cost is about $182.50 for same-day issue, or $150 for next-day issue.
To enter Myanmar it is a requirement to hold a passport that has at least six months remaining beyond the intended date of departure.
Validity period and overstaying
The Myanmar visa is valid for a period of 28 days as standard – although it is easily extended for a further period of 14 days subject to paying an extra $3 per day.
Also, for the travellers on the Myanmar travel packages that overstay, there is the risk of having more difficulty in booking a guesthouse or hotel stay because not all reception staff are fully mindful of the overstay rules. If planning to overstay beyond the visa date, it is practical to stay within an area close to Yangon and stick with the land routes.
Restrictions on entering and exiting
The restrictions that apply to leaving Myanmar using the same land border crossing used for entry are now less stringent. For instance, for travellers on the Myanmar tours that entered the country via Htee Khee-Sunaron (Burma Dawei District), Myawaddy (Burma Karen State), KawThoung (Burma Tanintharyi), or Tachilek (Burma Shan State) border crossings, it is possible to depart from Yangon or Mandalay International Airport. But, for the tourist that entered Myanmar via the Tamu (Burma Chin State) or Muse (Burma Shan State) crossing it is a requirement to exit the country using the same entry point.