While most foreign visitors are eligible for a Lao Visa On Arrival, from October 2009, passport holders of 29 countries require a visa from a Lao Embassy or Consulate.
African countries that need a Lao visa before arrival from an Embassy include: Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Other countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Nauru, Tonga, Surinam.
Tourist visas valid for 30 days can be obtained on arrival at Vientiane and Luang Prabang International Airports, and at the Friendship Bridge between Nong Khai Thailand and Vientiane Laos. Passport photographs are required for a visa on arrival. All other crossing points require a valid Lao visa already in the passport, which must be obtained from a Lao Embassy abroad. Tourist visas may be extended for 30 days at the Bureau of Immigration (Bureau of Aliens and Foreigners Protection) opposite the morning market in Lane Xang Ave, Vientiane. Fines for overstaying are imposed, they can be paid at the Bureau of Immigration or at the Friendship Bridge on departure. Fees apply for visas.
Lao Immigration require passports to have at least 6 month’s validity remaining, travellers have been refused entry into Laos when holding passports with less than 6 month’s validity.
Travellers are remined to check their passports, when entering and leaving Laos, to ensure they have received a correctly dated entry/exit stamp. Penalties can apply for entering Laos without an entry stamp and for crossing the border at non authorised crossing points.
You will generally be allowed to stay in Laos for 30 days after you arrive. If you were born in Laos, you may be admitted for 60 days or longer. You can extend your 30-day tourist visa up to an additional 60 days for a fee of $2 per day through the Department of Immigration in Vientiane. If you overstay your visa in Laos, you risk arrest and will be fined $10 for each day of overstay as you leave. The Lao government requires payment of visa fees and fines in U.S. dollars. Thai baht and Lao kip may sometimes be accepted for the fees but at unfavorable exchange rates. If you plan to visit Laos, additional information is available from the Lao National Tourism Administration.