Travel Alert and Travel Alert – U.S. Embassy Vientiane, Laos (May 17, 2020)
Event: Government of Laos Announces New Measures to Reduce Spread of COVID-19
On May 15, the Government of Laos announced new measures to reduce and contain the spread of COVID-19. These measures will be in effect from May 18 to June 1, 2020. The following is a general summary of the measures in the announcement that may be of interest to U.S. Citizens:
- Government offices will resume normal operations, though teleworking is encouraged;
- Inter-provincial travel in Laos is permitted;
- Foreigners living in Laos are permitted to return to their home countries;
- Meetings and training sessions are permitted;
- Public schools will re-open for some grade levels;
- Practicing all indoor and outdoor sports is permitted;
- Businesses including restaurants, cafes, barbershops, and supermarkets may re-open;
- Businesses including night markets, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, and karaoke venues remain closed;
- Parties, celebrations, and private gatherings are prohibited;
- Traditional events or weddings with more than 50 attendees where social distancing measures are not possible remain prohibited;
- Sport competitions that attract large crowds and cannot properly implement social distancing measures are prohibited;
- All borders remain closed, with the exception of some cargo vehicles and some individuals;
- Issuance of entry visas to individuals traveling or transiting countries with increasing COVID-19 infections remains suspended, with some exceptions.
Standard social distancing and hygiene measures remain in place. These include keeping one meter distance from one another, hand washing/use of sanitizer, wearing masks, monitoring body temperature, and proper sanitization of areas.
The full text of the announcement in English can be found here.
Thailand Extends Ban on Incoming International Flights Until May 31
On April 27, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced the extension until May 31 of the ban on incoming international flights. You can find more information on the websites of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand and the CAAT.
Extending Visas in Laos
According to the Lao Department of Immigration, U.S. Citizens seeking to extend visas that have expired due to unforeseen circumstances related to COVID-19 can do so at the Department of Immigration Office in Vientiane. U.S. Citizens outside Vientiane can request extension at provincial Public Security Offices. Extension can be requested in one-month increments, at a rate of 20,000 kip (around USD $2.50) per day of extension. Thus, one month of extension should cost around USD $75, plus a nominal administrative fee. Though not required, some Immigration Officers may request a letter from the U.S. Embassy in support of visa extension requests. The Embassy can provide such a letter if necessary; please direct requests to email@example.com.
Actions to Take:
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
- For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
- Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Laos.
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the U.S.
State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
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