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Get in Myanmar

Posted by in on 5-16-13

Since February 2011 a same-day visa can be issued at the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok. To get the visa the same day you must tell the visa window that you are leaving tomorrow and bring a photocopy of your airline ticket or emailed itinerary. They will issue your visa later that same day by 3:30PM and it is valid starting the day it was issued.

Next-day & 2 day Visas are issued without proof of travel plans. The relative costs are: 1260THB for same-day; 1035THB for next day; 860THB for 2 day (as of 1 April 2013). Note that the Myanmar embassy is closed for all Thai and Myanmar official holidays.

While ASEAN and PRC nationals may have had visa-free access in the past, the Myanmar Embassy in Singapore declares that “all nationalities” must obtain visas before travel (9 April 2008). Some additional restrictions, requirements or conditions may be applied to applications – reports have included a need for a detailed itinerary, a detailed job history, etc. be prepared for some unusual questions (either on the forms, or from the Consulate staff) when applying for your visa. Though not explicitly stated, it has been reported that the authorities only allow one trip to the country every 6 months.

Myanmar has announced the resumption of Visa On Arrival (VOA) starting in June 2012 for several countries including all ASEAN member states, the EU and the USA. The following categories of VOA are available: BUSINESS VISA, valid up to 70 days upon entry; ENTRY VISA (Meetings/Workshops/Events) valid up to 28 days upon entry; TRANSIT VISA valid up to 24 hours upon entry. Ensure you check the embassy website for the specific details. Note, that according to the Myanmar government website there is no VOA for tourists, however Myanmar Airways claim that VOA is now available for tourists of all nationalities for $30 (as of February 2013), but only on flights with their airline from Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Guangzhou.

The easiest way to get the visa is to apply through a travel agency in your home country. The form is simple and requires an ID photo or two.

In Bangkok, it takes one or two business days. It’s easy and fast. A standard application for a tourist visa requires: a completed visa form (available from the Embassy), a completed arrival form (again, from the Embassy), a photocopy of the photo page from your passport, two passport sized photos, the applicable fee (see above).

Myanmar embassy in Bangkok is open 09:00-12:00 and 15:30-16:30. If you apply for a visa there, you’d better go early. If you come there at 09:00 expect to see 60-80 people in line outside the embassy. 60 metres further is a small copy service (well marked, you can’t miss it), where you can buy visa application form for just 5THB (April 2013) or/and make a copy of your passport, which is required. If you fill-in form before enter the embassy, you will go out quicker. Everybody does it, so if you have any doubts just ask others. Officials are helpful and friendly. Queue goes fast, but you will have to spend there around one hour though. If applying for tourist visa fill-in your application (you can also get it for free from embassy at counter 4). Paste one photo. Attach one extra photo and copy of photo page from your passport. Submit completed application at counter 4 and take token number (you will get it from official). Wait until they call you. The next step is payment. Official will tell you which day you can collect your passport and give you receipt.

Collecting passport looks almost the same. Be careful for people who don’t want to stay in line and jump into queue while opening the embassy. There is no real point in coming very early (before 15.30), because embassy is completely closed, so you will not be allowed to wait inside. Queue goes fast, but mind the counter you are waiting for (stamp on your receipt).

In Hong Kong, you can get the visa by applying between 9am and 12pm, and picking it up after 3pm on the following business day(your passport, 3 passport-size photos, business card / leave letter from your employer or student ID if you’re a student, and application fee of HK$150 – US$19).

Note: The Embassy in Washington D.C. is swamped with visa applications. Myanmar is now going through a lot of growth in which they might not meet their 10 business day processing time. Travellers have reported that it has taken over 3 weeks to get their visa returned to them. Make sure you send your passport to the embassy at least 1 month before travel

Tourist Visa is valid for (3) months from the date of issue. The duration of your stay in Myanmar is 28 days from the date of arrival. It is not extendable. Successful applicants will also be issued an “Arrival Form”, which will be stapled into your passport and must be presented on arrival in Myanmar, along with your passport containing the visa sticker. Ensure that the visa sticker, and arrival form have both been signed by the immigration officer before leaving the Embassy. Note that you will still have to fill in the usual customs and immigration forms on your flight into the country.

If you can not find a embassy near you, you can still apply for an approval letter. No trip to embassy is required. Simply upload your photo and a scanned copy of your passport to get the approval letter [1]. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has made a special arrangement with Ministry of Foreign Affairs to allow the approval letter to be applied online. The process may take up to two weeks. You must enter Myanmar through international airports and not through the border. Visa sticker will be stamped on your passport on arrival.

If you cannot get a visa in advance through the traditional means, many web sites offer services for visa-on-arrival. This is an expensive service (SGD 89, approximately $78 USD) but a very convenient one. [www.MyMyanmarVisa.com] is a good reputable option; they will provide you with visa-on-arrival confirmation, notices to show to the airline, and even a visa-on-arrival name list for you to print out in case you get hassled, but these are typically not necessary. After paying for the service, you’ll typically find your visa waiting for you hassle-free upon arrival to Yangon International Airport.

By plane

Due to economic sanctions from most western countries, international flights into Myanmar are limited. The usual way to get into Myanmar would be to fly into Yangon from either Bangkok or Singapore, both which have good connections from around the world and have several flights into Yangon daily. As from the 4th of October 2012 Qatar Airways flies direct from Doha to Yangon and return three a week. The only other international point of entry to Myanmar is Mandalay, which is served by a weekly flight to/from Kunming.

* Myanmar Airways International flies from Yangon to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Siem Reap, Phnom-Penh, Guangzhou and Singapore.

* Bangkok Airways has one daily flight from Bangkok to Yangon and one daily return flight, costing from 3500 baht.

* Thai Airways International flies Bangkok to Yangon and back 2-3 times daily from 3500 baht one-way.

* Malaysia Airlines [2] flies between Kuala Lumpur and Yangon 5 times a week.

* Air Bagan [3] flies from Yangon to Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

* Air India [4] links Yangon with Kolkata and Gaya

* China Airlines [5] links Yangon with Taipei.

* Dragon Air [6] links Yangon with Hong Kong. 4 flights a week.

* Silk Air [7] links Yangon with Singapore twice daily, with an additional third flight on Fridays and Sundays.

* Jetstar [8], the low-cost subsidiary of Qantas, links Yangon with Singapore 4 times a week.

* China Southern Airlines [9] links Yangon with Guangzhou twice a week.

* China Eastern Airlines [10] links Yangon with Kunming daily, and Mandalay with Kunming three times a week.

* Vietnam Airlines [11] links Yangon with Hanoi everyday.

* Air Asia [12] flies from Bangkok Don Meung (DMK) and Kuala Lumpur LCCT Airport to Yangon – two daily return flights, and also links Bangkok DMK to Mandalay

* Asiana Airlines [13] links Yangon with Seoul twice a week.

* Qatar Airways [14] links Doha to Yangon direct three times a week.

By land

Hopping across the Thai border into Myanmar’s border towns is easy, but crossing into or out of Myanmar proper by land varies between difficult and impossible. Visa-free entry is possible at some border crossings, but you must then exit Myanmar via the same border crossing, usually (but not always) on the same day that you enter, and fees apply (normally US$10). All land border crossings into Myanmar give only restricted access to the border areas. The only way to visit locations throughout the country, is to enter and exit Myanmar by air.

Thailand:

* Tachileik / Mae Sai – foreigners can access this crossing from either side, and enter and/or exit either country here. As of March 2007, travel beyond Kengtung to the rest of Myanmar is not possible, even with a valid tourist visa (can however visit Mongla, but this has become more respectable as the Chinese casinos have cleaned up their act). Travellers wishing to exit Myanmar at Tachileik can only do so with a permit from the MTT office in Yangon.

* Myawaddy / Mae Sot – foreigners can only access this crossing from the Thai side; neither onward travel into Myanmar (ie beyond the border town) nor overnight stays are possible. No visa needed; instead there’s an entry stamp fee – US$10 if paid with US$ notes, more (500 baht) if paid with Thai currency. As of August 2009, only Thai baht is accepted.

* Three Pagodas Pass (Payathonzu / Sangkhlaburi) – foreigners can only access this crossing from the Thai side; onward travel into Myanmar (ie beyond the border town) is not possible; entry/exit stamps are NOT issued here, and foreigners passports are held at the Myanmar checkpoint, where a fee is levied – US$10 if paid with US$ notes, more (500 baht) if paid with Thai currency. However, as of November 25, 2008, this crossing is temporarily closed. Note: It was reopened in December 2010.

* Kawthoung / Ranong – foreigners can access this crossing from either side, and enter and/or exit either country here. If entering without a visa, maximum stay is 3 days / 2 nights, travel beyond Kawthoung is not permitted, and there’s an entry stamp fee – US$10 if paid with US$ notes, more (500 baht) if paid with Thai currency. As of March 2007, the only way to continue onward from here appears to be by plane to Mergui or Yangon, although there have previously been ferries on these routes as well.

China – foreigners can enter Myanmar at Lashio via Ruili (in Yunnan), although a permit (as well as a visa) and a guide are needed. You will most likely need to join an organized tour, costing 1450 RMB as of January 2009. As of April 2009, it is impossible for foriegners to cross over from Ruili, even for the day, without first getting a visa in Kunming, ie a tour group. Crossing in the opposite direction is more difficult to arrange and details are uncertain; however, it’s possible to fly from Mandalay to Kunming, and there’s even a Chinese consulate that issues visas in Mandalay.

India – a land border crossing exists between India and Myanmar at Moreh/Tamu. While there have been confirmed reports of some travellers crossing into Myanmar from India, with their own transport as well as with permits arranged in advance, the general consensus is that obtaining all the necessary permits is very hard. At the least, a foreign (a person who is neither a citizen of India nor a citizen of Myanmar) will need to get an Indian permit to visit the state of Manipur, and an MTT permit to enter or leave Myanmar at Tamu. Travellers may also need a permit to travel from Tamu to Kalewa, although there are unconfirmed reports that this is no longer required.

Bangladesh / Laos – it is not currently feasible to independently cross the borders between Myanmar and Bangladesh or Laos.

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