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Immigration & Work Permits

Work Permits

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in Laos, as established by immigration laws. Work permits must be secured for employees, and sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity, which can be a problem for companies just entering the Lao market. If you have yet to complete the incorporation process you can use an outsourced management company or GEO Employer of Record to sponsor the employee for the necessary permits.

Your Options

Have your own company

It is possible for companies that have established a Rep (Representative) Office or WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise) in Laos to arrange LA-B2 Visas. It takes around 6 weeks. It is highly recommended to utilise a Laotian Immigration specialist to assist with the application and processing.

LA-B2 visas are the type of work permit required for foreign employees to commence work in Laos.

The steps required are:

1. Company proposes requirements for foreign labour to the Skill Development and Employment Department of Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

2. Receive quota approval from the government

3. Submit documents to Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Time: The overall process can take anywhere between 1-3 months, although it is not specified by the Laotian Government how much time exactly is dedicated to each step of the process.

Cost: Up to US$240, depending on the duration of the work permits

1. Company proposes requirements for foreign labour to the Skill Development and Employment Department of Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

The employer must provide evidence to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare that the work in question can only be suitable undertaken by a foreign worker. This request is made before the government assesses whether or not the worker is necessary, and the worker must not be in the country throughout this process. The employer must offer a guarantee of employment

2. Receive quota approval from the government

Foreign workers who are engaged in projects or companies wishing to apply for LA-B2 visas must receive prior quota approval regarding foreign employee utilisation, as well as approval of foreign employee important, investment licence, certificate of concession registration or enterprise registration, attached to the proposal provided to the Investment Promotion Department or company for submission to the Immigration Department, which will then check whether the applicant appears on the prohibited persons list of Laos.

Once this clearance is completed, the documents will be submitted to the Consular Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who then determine whether or then to approve the visa issuance.

The process of approval takes 8 official working days from when the application is lodged.

3. Submit documents to Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Once approval is obtained, the employee must submit it as either the formal letter or just the registration number along with the following documents:

  • 3 copies of the applicant’s passport
  • 3 passport photos of the applicant
  • 1 copy of the enterprise registration certificate
  • 1 copy of the investment licence
  • 1 copy of the proposal form of the company

4. Apply for resident card

Upon approval of the preceding steps, the applicant must apply for their resident’s card at one of the border locations that provide visas – these are the same as for visas on arrival.

These include:

  • Lao international airports in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse and Savannakhet,
  • Lao-Thai Friendship Bridges in Vientiane, Thakaek, and Savannakhet, and
  • Tha Naleng train station in Vientiane,
  • Some international land border crossing points.

Visas can be renewed every 3 months, 6 months or 1 year, if the work is ongoing.

Use the Shield GEO Employer of Record Solution

Once you get in touch with us, one of our consultants will take all the work off your hands, coordinate with our local partners to get all the required permits organised, provide the processing time, costs, document-checklist and keep you informed through the process. Contact us to know more.

Types of visas in Laos

Category Description of Visa
Visa on Arrival Visas on arrival can be obtained at the following locations:
• Lao international airports in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse and Savannakhet,
• Lao-Thai Friendship Bridges in Vientiane, Thakaek, and Savannakhet, and
• Tha Naleng train station in Vientiane,
• some international land border crossing points.
It costs US$35 to apply, and applicants need to present their passport, visa application form, and one passport photo. Visas can be extended for up to 30 days.
Business Visa (B2) Business visas are issued to foreign experts who perform assignments provided by loan agreements and as provided by employment contracts or project wards, to volunteers or experts of NGOs, experts in education or medical sciences, staff members of Diplomatic Missions, UN Agencies, or other international organisations holding ordinary passports from the countries or from third countries, as well as foreign business people. Visas can be renewed.
Visit Visa (B3) Visit visas are issued to foreign citizens who are visiting relatives working in Laos. They do not entitle the holder to work in Laos and can be extended for up to 30 days beyond the initial 2-`month period. They take approximately 3-5 days to process.
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