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The Secretary of State has authorized the lifting of most sanctions on U.S. visa issuance to Lao citizens

The Secretary of State has authorized the lifting of most sanctions on U.S. visa issuance to Lao citizens. The sanctions were imposed under U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 243(d).

As a result, the majority of Lao citizens who have applied or will apply for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to the United States will no longer be subject to INA 243(d) visa sanctions.

Sanctions remain in place for certain senior officials of the Lao PDR government, pending further cooperation with the United States with respect to accepting Lao PDR nationals designated for removal from the United States.

We look forward to further cooperation with the Lao PDR government on expediting the removal of Lao PDR nationals under deportation orders from the United States, as is standard under international law.

Please be informed that routine visa appointments will remain very limited in the near term as the Consular Section processes visa applications that were previously suspended under INA 243(d) and continues to comply with current Lao PDR pandemic regulations and COVID-19 social distancing protocol. We thank you in advance for your patience.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on routine visa services, the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee (aka the fee to schedule an interview) validity is extended until September 30, 2023, for individuals who paid an MRV fee but were unable to schedule and/or attend an interview during the suspension of services. If you have an urgent matter and require a nonimmigrant visa to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided here to request an emergency appointment.

If you have questions, you can contact the U.S. Embassy Vientiane Consular Section at CONSLao@state.gov.