So you’re looking to move to Thailand as a Digital Nomad? We were too, which is why we spent a couple of weeks diving into all the Asian Digital Nomad Visas available and the Laos Digital Nomad Visa. In this article, we’ll share all of the options we found for digital nomads wanting to live in Laos.
This is information I have found from my own research and I wanted to share it. Please consult a professional before applying for Visas to see what your best options are.
Does Laos Have A Digital Nomad Visa? (TL;DR)
Laos does not have a digital nomad visa. Digital nomads in Laos can enter on a tourist visa on arrival ($35 to $60). This is extendable for a maximum stay of 90 days without leaving the country, costing $2/day to extend. Many digital nomads & tourists cross borders to reset visa duration in Laos. Working remotely is tolerated but not explicitly legal.
You can get a tourist visa on arrival at most land borders and airports in Laos. Here, they take payment in Laotian Kip, so you should exchange money before you arrive, as a lot of the ATMs at the border do not work with foreign cards.
I had this problem at Thai Friendship Bridge 4, crossing at Chiang Khong and Huay Xai. I got across because my significant other passed before me and was able to withdraw cash, meet me, and pay the fee (I had passport troubles at the border, if you get a new passport abroad you must get new stamps in it, I will detail this in another article of the Thai-Laos border crossing).
At the border, you will also need a small passport-sized photo (4×6 cm). At most borders, you will need to get this before arriving as they do not have passport photo shops at the border.
Quick Visa Facts
Paying Taxes in Laos for Digital Nomads
Laos followed a territorial tax system before which meant that any income outside of the country from businesses not registered there were not taxed on their income. However, since February 2022, any digital nomad who provides an online service in Laos, even if their companies are registered outside of Laos, may be subject to tax obligations.
You need to register for a tax identification number if your revenue exceeds $33,600.
Tax laws are constantly changing, so please check the latest up-to-date information online. We do not recommend being a digital nomad in the country without paying these tax charges. However, some people report doing so online, as it is hard to Police whether someone is working online or not.
Applying For The Laos Tourist Visa
There are two ways you can get a tourism visa for Laos:
- On arrival at any border
- Online using the E-Visa service
On Arrival Tourist Visa At Border
The easiest way to obtain the visa is on arrival at the border. If you are doing it this way you need to make sure you have these things:
- Proof of funds to stay in Laos
- Proof of accommodation in Laos (hotel)
- Proof of onward travel from Laos
- Two passport photos (4x6cm) taken within 6 months
- Cash in Laotian Kip ($35 – $60USD depending on country)
Online E-Visa Portal
You can also apply for a Visa outside of the country. This visa is valid for 8 entry ports across the country:
- Wattay International Airport (Vientiane Capital)
- Lao – Thai Friendship Bridge I (Vientiane Capital)
- Luang Prabang International Airport (Luang Prabang)
- Lao – Thai Friendship Bridge II (Savannakhet Province)
- Pakse International Airport (Champasack Province)
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge IV (Bokeo Province)
- Boten International Checkpoint (Luang Namtha Province)
- Boten Railway Station (Luang Namtha Province)
To apply for the E-Visa you need:
- Be from a verified country, you can check the list here
- Passport bio page photocopy
- Photograph size 4×6 cm
- $30-$50 depending on country
- Additional documents may be required
Can I Just Work In Laos on A Tourism Visa?
Many digital nomads enter Laos and work remotely on a tourism visa. This is tolerated, but it’s not completely legal, and if you run an online business in anything now, you are required to pay tax in Laos as of February 2022. We don’t recommend working on a tourist visa, and we recommend going through the proper channels if you do.
Remote work is fairly hard to police, so most people staying for a month or two usually won’t have an issue. That doesn’t mean that can’t change, and laws and regulations are constantly changing so it’s best to consult a professional if that’s what you want to do.
While we don’t recommend doing it, most people who do it this way on a single-entry tourism visa, do not have a problem. Extended stays might start to raise questions with authorities though.
Other Visa Options for Digital Nomads in Laos
There are many more types of visa available for Laos, but these are the common ones that digital nomads might use for extended stay in Laos.
Please check current laws and regulations around these, as they are constantly changing.
The student visa allows foreigners to study for 1-5 years in Laos. This is the best option for someone who wants to stay for a long time in Laos. You must be registered in some kind of study in the country and you must show proof that you are attending and learning here. It is a 12-month visa that can be renewed every year until the completion of your course.
The Business Visa is for foreigners who want to conduct business in Laos. This can be for investment in stocks, Laotian companies, and for work & business-related reasons in Laos. This allows multiple entries and has a duration of 1 – 12 months. You can use this visa for business activities such as, meetings, conferences, negotiations, market research and other things related to business opportunities.
Extension and costs of the visa vary depending on the duration, number of entries, and more. To properly apply for a visa, you must consult a local consulate or embassy to get guidance through the process.
We’re Harry & Iris – and we were tired of the same old “10 best places I’ve never been but I’m writing about for some reason” blog posts. So… we’re two young travelers on a mission to travel the world and share our true, unfiltered experience, including all the gristly details. From packing our life into one bag for a year to traveling Vietnam by motorbike, to sorting out Visas for specific countries – we’ve done it all, are doing it all and only give our advice on things we have done – not regurgitated cr*p from another source *cough* most publications *cough*. So bear with us! This project will take some time to grow, and will take a fair bit of money. But we’re determined to make it the single best source of information about traveling on the internet.