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Myanmar Expands Visa On Arrival List


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Myanmar expands visa on arrival list
TTR Weekly

MANDALAY: -- Citizens of another 22 countries are now eligible for a visa on arrival at Mandalay International Airport, the Myanmar Times has reported. The list of eligible countries now totals 48.

The ruling came into effect on February 1, according to Immigration and National Registration Department assistant director, U Than Win.

Between February 1 and 10, just 76 visitors rook advantage of the system and received business, tourist entry or transit visas on arrival.

Mr Than wants to encourage more people to use the service. “Citizens of 48 countries are eligible for visa on arrival. This will be useful for eligible travellers who don’t have time to apply for a visa at an embassy,” he said.

However, TTR Weekly reports, very little information has filtered through to the travel trade or even airlines, many of which are still insisting that passengers obtain visas in advance from the nearest Myanmar embassy.

Airlines in particular are still insisting that people get visas in advance, for fear that the airline will have to bear the expense of repatriating a passenger if the visa on arrival is not approved.

There are three types of visa categories: business, tourist entry and transit, costing U$50, US$40 and US$20 (B1,500, B1,200 and B600) respectively.

“The duration of a business visa is 70 days,” Mr Than said, “while tourist entry visas for seminars, meetings and workshops are valid for 28 days.”

The list of 22 new countries whose citizens are now eligible for visas on arrival is : Austria Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Citizens of 26 other countries have been eligible for visa on entry since June last year, though the system at Mandalay International Airport only came into effect on November 1.

These countries are: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK, the USA and Vietnam.

According to the Myanmar Ministry of Ministry of Immigration and Population website the visas on arrival are available at both Mandalay and Yangon airports. For details click here.

-- TTR weekly 2013-02-22

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That's all well and fine, but I contacted the embassy in the US and they said not to use it. The US government agencies I went to meet with in Yangon last week also strongly advised against relying on the Visa on Arrival. Yes, it is POSSIBLE, but there have been too many reports to them of people being turned away. In fact, a fellow traveler, there with an official document to attend an education fair, was nearly turned away, despite phone calls to the inviting authority (after hours - fortunately the traveler had a personal cell number or that would have been the end of the trip). Even in that case, the inviting American official had to find the personal cell of a Burmese co-worker in order to convince the immigration officer at the Yangon airport. Why would one even take the risk when the visa is so easy to get in Bangkok? I'm a nervous traveler - leaving this to the whim of someone at an airport seems unwise to me. Give the program more time to get established and reliable. I posted in greater detail <URL to weblog removed>

Edited by SeaVisionBurma
removed web link - against forum rules.
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As I understand one must prearrange visa on arrival through a travel agent in Myanmar. You can't just turn up at the airport in Yangon or Mandalay and the visa online service for purchasing visas is still not functioning. Perhaps SVB can tell us the current situation?

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The Air Asia website makes reference to both "E-visa" and "Visa on arrival" .

I would love it if it were as easy as showing up in Mandalay with a completed application for and 2 pictures and getting a visa on arrival.

But I read other postings here about people getting turned away from Air Asia check in unless they had a pre- arranged "e-visa" letter.

Which is it? visa on arrival as this article seems to mention, or pre-arranged e-visa? Air Asia doesn't seem to know and probably the myanmar immigration doesn't even know.

If anyone ever get's there with no prearranged visa and get's in, please let us know! I would love to go back more often, but that Myanmar embassy on Sathorn is so horrible to deal with.

Thanks,

Drew

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They are thieves !

40$ for a country that isn't completely open and where democracy isn't yet ensured. While in Laos it's 30$ for a more "open" country !

I will continue to boycott countries that require visa up to 30 days! In addition it's not 30 days but only 28 days ! Mocking who ?

<snip>

Edited by SeaVisionBurma
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They are thieves !

40$ for a country that isn't completely open and where democracy isn't yet ensured. While in Laos it's 30$ for a more "open" country !

I will continue to boycott countries that require visa up to 30 days! In addition it's not 30 days but only 28 days ! Mocking who ?

<snip>

Have you ever been to Myanmar? Democratization takes time, but it is starting to happen and you would be astounded by the openness of the country these days compared to only a couple of years ago. The type of openness and criticism that you can find in publications like the Irrawaddy, which is now able to be circulated freely is something which would be unimaginable in communist Laos. Anyway, I digress.

Laos may be completely open to foreign travelers now (and BTW I don't have to spend a cent to enter Laos, my Swiss passport allows 15-days visa free), but Myanmar will in the near future also implement free visas like Thailand but for now they want to get their hands on as much hard currency as possible - kind of understandable if you think about how long the country was under sanctions for and how few visitors traveled to Myanmar prior to 2011 (I was one of the few having been to central Myanmar 2 times in 2004 and 2005 respectively and a number of overland crossings for the day between 2001 and 2007). Also if you are able to get a 70-day business visa (assuming you can get a company to sponsor you), US$50 is not bad value for such a long-term visa, which could just as well be used for a combination of tourism and business.

Anyway, read my other post about the planned opening of overland routes from Thailand, starting with Myawaddy to Hpa-an and beyond starting in a few months. My understanding is that a visa-on-arrival will be available, most probably for the same US$10 currently only getting you a one-day permit AND in just a few months at the latest by early next year, you will be able to travel through the country overland for about 10 days for the very same US$10.

I think it's fair to say that Myanmar issues tourist visas fairly liberally without any special requirements anymore, no evidence of flight tickets etc. required and they are preparing to become a big tourist destination in SE Asia, possibly one of the biggest in years to come, possibly even rivaling Thailand by 2020.

I am currently in Myanmar and it is PACKED with tourists compared to last time; even in smaller places like Hpa-an which a few years ago would have been almost completely unknown to foreign visitors.

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They are thieves !

40$ for a country that isn't completely open and where democracy isn't yet ensured. While in Laos it's 30$ for a more "open" country !

I will continue to boycott countries that require visa up to 30 days! In addition it's not 30 days but only 28 days ! Mocking who ?

<snip>

Yes, we can see you are not familiar with the country - and try to keep your language civil thanks.

If you're going to post anything here - make it constructive, okay? Otherwise - head elsewhere.

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As I understand one must prearrange visa on arrival through a travel agent in Myanmar. You can't just turn up at the airport in Yangon or Mandalay and the visa online service for purchasing visas is still not functioning. Perhaps SVB can tell us the current situation?

Dibbler is correct.

"Visa On Arrival" is the terminology used by both the government and major travel entities in Myanmar, but unfortunately it is a bit misleading.

For Tourist visas - it isn't a visa on arrival, it is a pre-arranged visa - usually done through a local travel agent or company. The visa will be approved and issued before you arrive to the country, and then placed in your passport when you arrive (in most cases)

For Business visas - it is a Visa On Arrival - HOWEVER the documentation for it needs to be prepared ahead of your arrival. The visa is then issued on the spot, at the counter downstairs (in Yangon airport) just before the immigration counters

Confused? You should be, and its not just travellers who are being caught out. The airlines are not quite up to date either, and if you are going to attempt to go to Myanmar without a visa already in your passport - be prepared with plenty of supporting evidence (official looking letters stating that you will received your visa on arrival) before the airline check in staff will consider letting you on the aircraft.

Having said all of this - it can be done. I arrived to Yangon last month, and was given a Business Visa On Arrival.

I had to convince the Air Asia counter staff at Don Mueang to let me check in - I showed them some letters saying I was getting a visa on arrival, and they still hesitated. When they asked me 'have you had a VOA before?' I told them I had (I hadn't) - but I was able to show them plenty of prior visas into Myanmar.

SUMMARY - Do NOT rely on "Visa On Arrival" until these problems, the procedures, and the terminology is ironed out - both from the Myanmar side, and the carriers side (airlines).

Please feel free to post further queries - I will answer them as best I can.

cheers

SVB

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  • 1 month later...

As I understand one must prearrange visa on arrival through a travel agent in Myanmar. You can't just turn up at the airport in Yangon or Mandalay and the visa online service for purchasing visas is still not functioning. Perhaps SVB can tell us the current situation?

Dibbler is correct.

"Visa On Arrival" is the terminology used by both the government and major travel entities in Myanmar, but unfortunately it is a bit misleading.

For Tourist visas - it isn't a visa on arrival, it is a pre-arranged visa - usually done through a local travel agent or company. The visa will be approved and issued before you arrive to the country, and then placed in your passport when you arrive (in most cases)

For Business visas - it is a Visa On Arrival - HOWEVER the documentation for it needs to be prepared ahead of your arrival. The visa is then issued on the spot, at the counter downstairs (in Yangon airport) just before the immigration counters

Confused? You should be, and its not just travellers who are being caught out. The airlines are not quite up to date either, and if you are going to attempt to go to Myanmar without a visa already in your passport - be prepared with plenty of supporting evidence (official looking letters stating that you will received your visa on arrival) before the airline check in staff will consider letting you on the aircraft.

Having said all of this - it can be done. I arrived to Yangon last month, and was given a Business Visa On Arrival.

I had to convince the Air Asia counter staff at Don Mueang to let me check in - I showed them some letters saying I was getting a visa on arrival, and they still hesitated. When they asked me 'have you had a VOA before?' I told them I had (I hadn't) - but I was able to show them plenty of prior visas into Myanmar.

SUMMARY - Do NOT rely on "Visa On Arrival" until these problems, the procedures, and the terminology is ironed out - both from the Myanmar side, and the carriers side (airlines).

Please feel free to post further queries - I will answer them as best I can.

cheers

SVB

Hi, anyone have any update on this? I have to go for a meeting on Wednesday but the embassy is closed on Tues/Weds for public holidays (just found out). It will be a business visa and I have a letter of invitation.

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As I understand one must prearrange visa on arrival through a travel agent in Myanmar. You can't just turn up at the airport in Yangon or Mandalay and the visa online service for purchasing visas is still not functioning. Perhaps SVB can tell us the current situation?

Dibbler is correct.

"Visa On Arrival" is the terminology used by both the government and major travel entities in Myanmar, but unfortunately it is a bit misleading.

For Tourist visas - it isn't a visa on arrival, it is a pre-arranged visa - usually done through a local travel agent or company. The visa will be approved and issued before you arrive to the country, and then placed in your passport when you arrive (in most cases)

For Business visas - it is a Visa On Arrival - HOWEVER the documentation for it needs to be prepared ahead of your arrival. The visa is then issued on the spot, at the counter downstairs (in Yangon airport) just before the immigration counters

Confused? You should be, and its not just travellers who are being caught out. The airlines are not quite up to date either, and if you are going to attempt to go to Myanmar without a visa already in your passport - be prepared with plenty of supporting evidence (official looking letters stating that you will received your visa on arrival) before the airline check in staff will consider letting you on the aircraft.

Having said all of this - it can be done. I arrived to Yangon last month, and was given a Business Visa On Arrival.

I had to convince the Air Asia counter staff at Don Mueang to let me check in - I showed them some letters saying I was getting a visa on arrival, and they still hesitated. When they asked me 'have you had a VOA before?' I told them I had (I hadn't) - but I was able to show them plenty of prior visas into Myanmar.

SUMMARY - Do NOT rely on "Visa On Arrival" until these problems, the procedures, and the terminology is ironed out - both from the Myanmar side, and the carriers side (airlines).

Please feel free to post further queries - I will answer them as best I can.

cheers

SVB

Hi, anyone have any update on this? I have to go for a meeting on Wednesday but the embassy is closed on Tues/Weds for public holidays (just found out). It will be a business visa and I have a letter of invitation.

Hi QED

If you have an invitation letter, and other supporting documents showing company details or registration of the inviting company - then you can try to show these to the airline staff at check in.

What airline are you flying?

I flew Air Asia recently (2 mths ago) - and they gave me a hard time at Bangkok - but I held my ground and they let me check in to board the flight.

If the counter staff refuse you - ask to speak to a supervisor.

No guarantees, but if you can wave enough documentation in their face you have a better chance

Let us know how you get on

SVB

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That's all well and fine, but I contacted the embassy in the US and they said not to use it. The US government agencies I went to meet with in Yangon last week also strongly advised against relying on the Visa on Arrival. Yes, it is POSSIBLE, but there have been too many reports to them of people being turned away. In fact, a fellow traveler, there with an official document to attend an education fair, was nearly turned away, despite phone calls to the inviting authority (after hours - fortunately the traveler had a personal cell number or that would have been the end of the trip). Even in that case, the inviting American official had to find the personal cell of a Burmese co-worker in order to convince the immigration officer at the Yangon airport. Why would one even take the risk when the visa is so easy to get in Bangkok? I'm a nervous traveler - leaving this to the whim of someone at an airport seems unwise to me. Give the program more time to get established and reliable. I posted in greater detail <URL to weblog removed>

Thanks for sharing that. You may have just saved me a lot of time and aggravation.

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^ Hi SVB, Thai Airways. I have lots of documents, and no other choice really. I will update on here tomorrow.

Good luck. Overwhelm them with paper. 'BBB'

Hope you get there!

Just a note for all, I didn't have a copy of the Myanmar company's Business Registration. As it was a public holiday over there I couldn't get one sent over, so Thai Airways refused to let me fly.

Just a heads up, it was a royal pain in the a#s

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Shame - but thanks for letting us know.

This VOA thing is going to cause some confusion for a while I think.

I'll keep posting that there's no guarantees, and that it can be hit and miss.

SVB

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  • 2 months later...

I am going to Burma in August next from Chiang mai via Bangkok for a short 3 day Holiday/visa run .Being Irish i am eligable for visa on arrival .As i will be flying with Airasia who do i apply to for a letter of aproval in advance ? Is it like Vietnam with Companys on line offering this service at a price ?

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