LAOS to reopen to tourists

Laos reopened to tourists and other visitors on Monday (9 May 2022), more than two years after it imposed tight restrictions to fight COVID-19. The Lao government on Saturday announced a full reopening of all international checkpoints, allowing vaccinated arrivals to enter the country without any testing requirements.

The government spokesperson and deputy head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, told a press conference in Lao capital Vientiane on Saturday that as the number of COVID-19 cases had significantly decreased and in order to ensure economic recovery, the Lao government had coordinated with a number of sectors to determine new entry measures.

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After canvassing public opinion and consulting with experts, the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has set out the new measures for entry to Laos, effective from Monday onward.

All international checkpoints will be opened for entry and exit by citizens and foreign residents.

Citizens of countries that have bilateral or unilateral visa waiver agreements with Laos may now enter Laos without the need for a visa.

Citizens of countries that do not have a visa waiver agreement with Laos may now apply for a visa at a Lao embassy or consulate abroad or via the e-Visa online system. Visa on arrivals will also be reinstated at certain international checkpoints.

Fully vaccinated foreigners or Lao citizens carrying a vaccination certificate may enter Laos without any screening or testing for COVID-19 when arriving by land, air, or water.

Non-vaccinated citizens of Laos, foreign citizens and residents aged 12 years and over must take a Rapid Antigen Test (ATK) at least 48 hours prior to departure and present the results upon arrival.

Foreign arrivals in Laos that become infected with COVID-19 must bear responsibility for all medical costs involved in treatment.

Thipphakone said that ministries and tourism departments, as well as tourism businesses, must now be fully prepared to welcome foreign tourists.

At the same time, she announced the reopening of entertainment venues and karaoke bars. However, they must ensure they fully comply with COVID-19 prevention measures.