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Laos Immigration Policy and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

Transcript of the above video:

I am talking about Laos Immigration policy today because it has a tangential impact on Thai Immigration matters especially for those looking to do a so-called visa run or border run. I am doing this because this Coronavirus, this outbreak, is having a pretty fundamental impact on Immigration policies of the various nations in Southeast Asia. 

So in a recent article from thaivisa.com, the article is titled: Laos Suspends all Types of Visas for Foreign Tourists: Report Quoting directly: "The Government of Laos has reportedly stopped issuing Tourist Visas to foreigners as a preventative measure to stop the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)." Quoting further: "Word at the border although unconfirmed by Thai Visa, was that the suspension of issuing visas for Laos would begin from Friday, March 20th. The news comes after Laos on Tuesday closed some border checkpoints with Thailand". 

So what is going on here? We have done a number of videos on Border Closures or the tightening up if you will of the borders between Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand. Thailand has closed a lot of their side of the international checkpoints and I believe in coordination with the counterpart nations I just mentioned. They have been setting up single international checkpoints. Now as we mentioned in prior videos, those especially from Western countries basically tourists or expats who are looking to use any of these borders to do like a border run, notwithstanding the fact they are technically still open, I don't think it is particularly prudent to presume that one can get to one of these borders and use it to come out and in with the kind of efficiency that we have seen in the past.  I remember 10 years, 11 years ago, doing a border run on a Non-immigrant B visa and it just simply was not particularly a big deal. You ran to the border, jumped out, came back in; it was a multi-entry so it was a one-year Visa but I had to leave the country, come back in, be stamped back in with my 90-day stamp and go on my way. I don't think this is going to be possible under the current circumstances. 

So the thing to take away from this is although Laos, in my opinion is probably going to be the first place that will let up on COVID restrictions frankly because they seem to have had less issue with it , it remains to be seen exactly what their policy is going to be. We will keep you updated on this channel regarding all of these issues but I think for the foreseeable future, folks who are doing Visa runs or border runs up to Laos, it is probably not going to be a place where you can do that. Again Cambodia instituted regulations that seemed to be for about a month. I think it is probably safe to presume we are looking at at least two weeks for Laos; maybe longer. We will keep you updated on this channel as things progress.