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What is Myanmar's Visa Program? A Guide

If you are traveling all the way to Myanmar this year, you’ll want to pay close attention to their visa policy. For the majority of visitors to Myanmar, you’ll need to acquire a visa to enter the country, which can be obtained in a few different ways depending on where you are from in the world. Today we’ll share with you everything you need to know to start planning your trip to Myanmar and begin exploring this often overlooked country.

Myanmar Visa History

In 2014, Myanmar launched its eVisa system for tourism and business trips. This is only valid for some countries to use, although this list of countries has been expanded twice since its initial launch. In October 2014, the list was increased for the first time, and then once more in January 2015. In July 2015, the business eVisa was also introduced, meaning business travelers didn’t always have to travel to their local embassy to plan for their trip. The country also uses a visa on arrival system for some travelers, which was expanded further in August 2017. In October 2018, an expansion of the current visa-free system was also planned for 2019.

Who Needs to Apply for a Visa for Myanmar?

While almost everyone will need to apply for some form of visa to travel to Myanmar, there is a small list of countries that are visa-exempt. On top of this, many countries can apply for an eVisa online, which helps to speed up the process for short business or tourism trips to Myanmar. The majority of Africa and parts of Central and South America are required to obtain a physical visa in advance of their trip. On top of that, if you are staying in the country for a reason other than business or tourism, you’ll need to apply for a visa in advance of your departure. While some countries offer tourist eVisas for their residents, about half of these countries are still required to apply in person for a business visa for Myanmar.

Popular Types of Myanmar Visa

The tourist visa is the most commonly used visa for Myanmar, which allows visitors to remain in the country for up to 28 days at a time. It’s important to note that Myanmar is incredibly strict about its immigration policies, and you will need to ensure you don’t overstay your time in the country, or you’ll face serious penalties. The next most popular type of visa is the Myanmar business visa, which allows visa holders to remain in the country for up to 70 days with a single-entry visa.

Myanmar has a unique visa called the social visa, which is available to anyone who is a former Myanmar citizen or resident. This can also be used by their spouses or children and allows you to remain in the country for up to 70 days with a single entry. It’s valid for up to three months upon its issue, and this visa can only be obtained at your local embassy or consulate. Social visa extensions may also be available from the embassy also. Myanmar has very strict rules in place for its citizens, which is why this visa is so important to previous citizens and residents of the country.

Myanmar also offers a visa that’s often dubbed the meditation visa, which is for individuals traveling to Myanmar to attend a yoga, meditation, or spiritual course or retreat. You’ll need to show an invitation letter from the company you are traveling with and then apply for this in your home country at the local embassy. While you may be able to incorporate this into your trip with a tourist visa, it’s a good option for anyone wanting to remain in the country for an extended period of time. Finally, if you need to transit through Myanmar, you will need a transit visa if you are planning to leave the airport’s transit area. This will allow you to enter Myanmar and stay there for up to 24 hours at a time. Of course, you’ll need proof of your return home when applying for this visa.

Applying for a Myanmar Visa

When applying for any one of the above visas at your local embassy, you’ll need to make sure you allow plenty of time for your application ahead of your trip. Your passport will need to be valid for at least six months to apply for any of the visas and to travel to Myanmar. When attending the visa appointment, you’ll need to have all of the relevant documentation to support your application and to show the purpose of your trip, as well as a payment method for your visa fee. Previous residents and citizens will need to show proof of this, and business travelers will need to have a letter from their company to show their purpose for travel to Myanmar.

If you are applying for a tourist visa, expect to be asked for proof of your accommodation booking and flight leaving the country. Myanmar is very strict about tourists overstaying their time in the country, so be prepared to show your return flight both during your visa appointment and upon your entry to the country. For many visas, you’ll also be expected to show proof of funds to support you during your time in the country. The more documentation you can provide to support your trip, the better, especially if you are applying for one of the longer visas.

The Myanmar visa application is certainly one of the more complex in the world, and they are one of the strictest countries for both visitors and residents. Ensure you complete your application form carefully and pay the required fee on time to avoid any delays to your application. When planning a trip to Myanmar this year, also ensure you check out the current travel restrictions to avoid any issues upon your entry to the country. Health regulations are constantly changing, so keep up to date with everything before leaving your home country for your trip in the near future.

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