Illustrative photo (Source: laosevisa.com)

Vientiane (VNA) – The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially launched the country’s e-visa system during a ceremony at the Wattay International Airport in Vientiane on July 9.

Speaking at the event, Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith said due to the limited number of Lao embassies and consulates overseas, the issuing of Lao visas for foreigners has been costly and time-consuming.

As a result, the Lao government has developed the e-visa service to facilitate traveling between Laos and other nations, he said, adding that the move is also part of the country’s policy to develop modern, effective and transparent public services.

The minister noted that the new service will run alongside the existing visa system.

According to the official, the e-visa service will be implemented at seven international border gates, which are the Wattay, Luang Prabang and Pakse international airports, the Laos-Thailand friendship bridges No 1, 2 and 4; and Boten international border gate to China.

However, in the first phase, it will be applied at the Wattay International Airport and Lao-Thailand friendship bridge No 1 before being extended to the remaining five locations.

In the second phase, research will be conducted into the feasibility of allowing the service at all international border gates nationwide.

The minister hoped the e-visa system will help Laos strengthen collaboration in all fields, particularly tourism, with countries that it shares no visa waiver agreement.

To date, Laos has secured visa exemption agreements, both bilateral and unilateral, with 46 countries worldwide.-VNA