Myanmar, a beautiful Asian country that is sandwiched between India and China, is definitely on the bucket list of scores of travel enthusiasts across the world. Foreign travelers who wish to visit the country need permission (a visa or an eVisa) from the government of Myanmar.
Entering the country without proper authorization from the government is deemed illegal, and such visitors will face action according to the country’s law.
Here’s what international travelers need to know about Myanmar’s visa policy.
A Myanmar visa is a travel authorization issued by the government of the country to foreign nationals. Foreigners who hold a Myanmar visa or eVisa can enter and remain in the country for a time period stipulated in the visa rules.
The government of Myanmar grants short-term and long-term visas for foreigners based on the purpose of their visit, duration of stay, and country of origin. Some of the short-term visas are Myanmar eVisa for tourism and business, and examples of long-term visas are Myanmar visas for education and employment. Read on to know more about the types of Myanmar visas.
A visa-free entry is a special exemption given to citizens of eligible countries to visit Myanmar. Travelers from eligible countries can enter Myanmar without getting a prior paper visa or electronic travel authorization. The current government in Myanmar reinstated visa-free entry to citizens of a few eligible foreign countries in September 2022.
Citizens of Singapore who hold regular passports do not require a visa to enter Myanmar. This is for visits related to tourism. Singapore citizens can enter and leave Myanmar via any air and land ports and stay in the country for up to 30 days. Citizens of other countries, such as Vietnam and Russia, are also allowed visa-free entry provided they enter the Asian country through any of the following international airports: Yangon, Mandalay, or Nay Pyi Taw.
They can stay in Myanmar for up to one month for tourism purposes. Note that Russians are allowed visa-free entry and stay for up to 30 days in Myanmar for business-related endeavors as well. International travelers from countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Laos can visit Myanmar without a visa for tourism purposes.
However, they have to enter the country through the international airports mentioned above, and their maximum duration of permitted stay is limited to 14 days. Foreigners who hold non-ordinary passports like diplomatic or service passports from countries like Israel, Japan, Morocco, South Korea, Brazil, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, and Serbia do not need a visa to enter Myanmar. The maximum duration of stay varies between 30 to 90 days.
The Myanmar Visa on arrival too is a special permission given to citizens of eligible foreign countries to visit Myanmar. They are exempt from applying for a visa/eVisa prior to their Myanmar trip. They can get a visa directly at a Myanmar port of entry. Citizens of foreign countries like India, New Zealand, Austria, and Australia were eligible for this exemption. However, this exemption is currently suspended by the government of Myanmar.
Travelers from such countries must contact respective Myanmar embassies to know the visa requirements to enter the Asian country before making their plans.
The government of Myanmar grants electronic travel authorization (eVisa) to citizens of over 70 foreign countries to visit the country for tourism and business-related activities. Travelers holding ordinary passports from these countries can log in to the official website of the Myanmar immigration department to complete the online application form, upload the documents and pay the processing fee.
The eVisa will be processed within a few days and is valid for 90 days. A Myanmar eVisa holder can legally stay in the country for a maximum of 28 days. They are allowed to enter the country through the above-mentioned international airports and a few land crossings along the India-Myanmar and Thailand-Myanmar borders.
A Myanmar social visa is for foreigners who were citizens of Myanmar in the past and their relatives, including spouses and children. Applicants for this visa should apply through a Myanmar embassy that is near them. There are single and multiple-entry social visas. The processing fee varies based on the validity period.
A single-entry social visa validity is 70 days, and the applicants can apply for an extension. There are two types of multiple-entry social visas. Applicants can choose from multiple-entry social visas that are valid for three months or six months.
Foreigners arriving on multiple-entry visas too can apply for an extension while in the country. Foreign nationals who are planning to apply for a Myanmar social visa must contact the Myanmar embassy to know about the latest developments in visa policy.
A Myanmar transit visa is issued to foreigners to transit through international airports in Myanmar to another country. This visa allows a holder to legally remain in the country for 24 hours. Note that foreign travelers must submit a flight ticket for an onward journey to get a transit visa.
Foreign travelers who hold a Myanmar transit visa are permitted to leave the dedicated transit area of the airport. This is helpful to those international passengers who have an overnight layover in Myanmar. They can leave the airport and rest in a nearby resort/hotel.
This visa is issued to the foreign crew of airlines that operate flight services from airports in Myanmar. There are two types of Myanmar crew visas: single-entry and multiple-entry. The single-entry visa allows the crew of an airline permission for a single entry to the country. The validity of the visa is 90 days, and the holder can stay in the country for up to three months from the date of arrival.
The applicants must provide a copy of the invitation letter from the airlines, a valid crew license and a passport, and their travel and flight itinerary along with the completed application form. Generally, the visa will be processed in five working days. The applicants can get a multiple-entry visa that is valid for three months, six months, or one year. The maximum duration of permitted stay in the country for the holders of a Myanmar multiple-entry crew visa is 90 days. However, they can apply for an extension.
Citizens of countries that are not eligible for a Myanmar eVisa for tourism and business have to apply for visas in a Myanmar embassy. They have to submit the completed application form along with the supporting documents to the embassy either by mail or in person. The visa is valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.
The maximum duration of permitted stay for a Myanmar tourist visa is 28 days, and that for a Myanmar business visa is 70 days. The processing time varies based on the country and embassy. However, most embassies process the visa within two weeks.
A Myanmar religious visa is issued to foreigners to attend religious events in monasteries and other religious institutions in the country. There are single and multiple-entry religious visas and the validity of these visas varies from three months to one year. The applicants must submit an invitation/sponsorship letter from the religious organization along with the completed application form and supporting documents. The applicants are also allowed to take up courses in meditation and other religious subjects. The processing time varies from country to country and embassy to embassy.
A Myanmar visa for employment is granted to foreign nationals who wish to engage in paid employment in the country. Foreigners who wish to apply for this visa are required to do it through a Myanmar embassy. They need to submit an invitation letter and a copy of their CV along with the completed application form and supporting documents. Foreigners holding this visa can stay up to 70 days in Myanmar. This visa is extendable.
A Myanmar student visa allows foreigners to take up courses in various universities in Myanmar. The visa is issued for 90 days initially. Foreign students can apply for an extension if they need it. Foreign applicants should approach the respective Myanmar embassy for this visa. Apart from their completed application form, passport, and photographs, they must provide an acceptance letter from the educational institution or a university. Foreign students are not allowed to work in Myanmar, and hence they are required to provide proof of funds to support themselves for the duration of their stay in the country. They are also advised to get private medical insurance.
Not every Myanmar visa can be extended. For example, a Myanmar visa for tourism (both embassy visa and eVisa) cannot be extended. However, travel authorizations like religious, social, and student visas are extendable. Foreign applicants must contact the embassy to know the rules with regard to the extension of such visas. The rules may be different for different kinds of visas and for different countries.