Yes, you need a visa before you get on a plane to Burma! There are some VERY few exceptions involving pe-paying for a tour, but for anyone who is traveling you have to get a visa before arrival. Where do you get a visa? Well for many people the answer will be either:
- your nearest Myanmese emabassy, or;
- Bangkok, Thailand
Getting a Myanmar Visa In Bangkok
The Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok is efficient and will even issue a visa in one day if you are flying very soon. However it, like every other embassy in the world is open Monday to Friday and closed all Thai AND Burmese holidays. Apart from that come early, before they open, prepared with enough cash, photos and filled in forms and you will be just fine. See here for more details
Alternative Places to Get a Myanmar Visa
If you live in Australia, Canada, UK, US and many European countries you will find there is a local Embassy, their rules appear to vary, but it’s always some variation of about $35 plus 2 photos plus an application form.
If you don’t live in a country that has a Burmese Embassy e.g. New Zealand, then you will need to courier to the nearest one – for us Kiwis it’s Canberra, Australia. This will mean that you will be up for the price of an international money order, and an international courier. I also had to add A$20 to the bill to pay for the return courier (you can’t send a pre-paid courier bag overseas, go figure!)
Also give it plenty of time, mine took 5 weeks back in September – it’s now even longer! On the plus side – it’s a real pretty visa!
How Long Is a Myanmar Visa Valid For?
This seems to provide endless confusion – but the Burmese do this the same way everyone else does. ALL tourist visas are valid for 28 days from entry. You have to ENTER the country within the validity of the visa. So with the above visa I could enter the country on any day from the 21 September to the 20 December and stay for 28 days from that entry date. I’m sure they will stamp my visa with the date I need to leave by on entry.
What happens if you overstay? Surprisingly little it appears! For a country for many years only issued 7-day visas (which were an improvement on the earlier 24 HOUR visas) – they are very relaxed with over stayers People claim that you are charged $3/day fee on exit. The problem may be that some hotels won’t take you if your visa has expired.
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