Getting a Visa to Myanmar – Myanmar Evisa test launched

Myanmar (Burma) is opening its economy and covets tourist dollars. Contrary to public perception, their visas are not difficult to obtain for general travelers, but their limited diplomatic missions abroad create hassle for many.

Visa requirements are standard: passport with minimum 6 months’ remaining validity, application form, photo, itinerary and fee. There is little consistency among diplomatic missions specifics, so go by what that particular mission dictates. In the US, the embassy in Washington, D.C. wants 1 form and 2 photos, while the consulate in New York wants 2 forms and 3 photos. Both charge US$2o and the visa is valid for 3 months for 1 non-extendable stay of 28 days.

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Mt Popa

There are inconsistencies, such as the Washington embassy saying, “Payment of Visa fees must be provided with Money Order. Payment arranged through Credit Card/ Personal Check/ Cash is not accepted,” but on the same page there is a flashing notice, “Temporarily the Embassy will only accept cash payment for visa fees starting from 6th April 2012.”

To simply the process, on April 1, the Myanmar Evisa launched in test phase. This is run by the government, not one of the many tour agencies selling online visa services.

Myanmar Evisa

In a sample test, the system worked well through submission but no payment option appeared, instead a payment confirmation number was given, though it is doubtful visas are free to early adopters. The link to the fee page goes nowhere. The coolest part of the system is ability to take a picture through a  computer webcam. Only the most basic info is required, in contrast to the lengthy application forms from diplomatic missions.

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Taukkyan War Cemetery (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

There are two key differences from the standard tourist visa (see the FAQ):

  1. Evisa only available for air arrival to Yangon.
  2. Evisa only valid for entry within 30 days, not 3 months, so they recommend application not greater than 35 days prior to arrival. Evisa processing time is 5 business days.

If planning a trip to Myanmar, and some mileage runners are doing just that if their tickets ever get issued (see upgrd Matthew here and here), this system will hopefully be fully functional soon and worth giving a try before going the traditional route. Air Asia is already touting the Evisa and Air Asia from Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur is one of the best flight options. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree has a thread on this. Stay tuned for updates.

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Mt Kyaiktiyo

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  • RakSiam

    That is interesting. The mountain of applications at the embassy when I dropped mine off last fall was enormous. And while I was waiting the guy was on the phone with some one else in the office because they had apparently lost some one’s passport and application. So that didn’t instill much confidence. An electronic system would certainly help.

    In that FT thread some one had posted a link to an article saying that visa on arrival would be available from June but only for ASEAN passport holders.

  • I think the visa application online is not active at the moment. However it is being revamped and will start soon in a few months time.

    This was mentioned in an interview with the Myanmar Minister of Tourism recently in this interview.

    http://mingalapar.com/qa-session-with-mr-htay-aung-minister-of-tourism-myanmar/

  • @max Mingalapar – thanks for the update.

  • P T

    Hi Stefan,

    Headed there in March. The government site is not up and running. There is another one where you can get a “Visa Approval Letter” for $55 (I think). Present the letter upon arrival at the airport in Yangon and pay $30 cash and get your visa.

    Not much info on Myanmar on Boarding Area. You are the only one with any articles. Good job, as usual.

    Thanks.