Despite the challenges of dealing with military bureaucracy, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, can be an exciting and beautiful place to visit. Yet, Myanmar is one of the countries where you must have a visa arranged before arrival, otherwise, you'll be denied entry and put right back on a plane out.
There are some neighboring countries, such as Vietnam and Singapore, that do not require a visa for a short visit to Myanmar and others like Australia, China, and New Zealand (as well a handful of European countries) that also have the privilege of being able to obtain a visa on arrival. Despite being technically on the list for visa on arrival, the U.S. State Department advises against showing up without a prearranged visa. Instead, U.S. citizens can apply for a visa online before they enter Myanmar for either business or tourism. Or, if you require a longer stay, you could apply for another kind of visa that suits your circumstances—but these have to be applied for by mail or in person.
If you are applying for an eVisa, you will only be able to enter Myanmar through a limited number of ports, which includes the three largest airports (Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, and Mandalay International Airport) and some land borders with Thailand and India. You must print out a copy of your eVisa approval and be ready to show it when you arrive in Myanmar.
U.S. citizens can apply for other visas with one of the three Myanmar diplomatic missions (Washington DC, New York, or Los Angeles) or mail in their application. Along with your application, you will need to mail in your original passport, two standard-size color photographs of your face against a white background, a copy of your flight itinerary or a letter from your tour operator, a prepaid self-addressed envelope, and your application fee paid by cashier's check or money order. The visa application fee is non-refundable, so make sure that your information is entered correctly the first time and that your photo meets the specifications.
|Visa Requirements for Myanmar|
|Visa Type||How Long Is It Valid?||Required Documents||Application Fees|
|eVisa For Tourism||28 days||Passport, recent photograph, accommodation details, and travel information||$50|
|eVisa For Business||70 days||Passport, letter of invitation from a registered company, certificate of incorporation from Ministry of Planning and Finance||$70|
|Meditation Visa||70 days||Letter addressed to the ambassador and a sponsorship letter from the meditation center or monastery||$50|
|Education Visa||90 days||Recommendation from university and respective schools, copy of the school's registration||$50|
|Employment Visa||70 days||Invitation letter from Myanmar company, copy of inviting company's registration, copy of receipts certifying payment of taxes||$50|
|Transit Visa||24 hours||Air ticket for onward journey||$20|
eVisa For Tourism
For the casual traveler, a tourism eVisa is the easiest way to get into Myanmar, but you will only be allowed to stay in the country for up to 28 days. You can simply fill out your application on the government website, submit a color photograph, and pay a $50 application fee. Your visa should be approved within three days, but if you need it even faster, you can pay for the express service, which only costs $6 more and promises that your application will be processed within 24 hours.
If for some reason you can't sort out your Myanmar visa online, you can still apply the "old fashioned" way by either visiting the embassy or mailing your passport, visa application, and money order to the embassy for processing.
eVisa For Business
If you are traveling to Myanmar for business, you'll apply for a business visa using the same government website, but you will also need to submit your letter of invitation from the company you are doing business with and a copy of that company's business registration. This visa comes with a higher application fee of $70, but you will be able to enjoy a longer stay in Myanmar for up to 70 days.
If you intend to travel to Myanmar to participate in a meditation retreat for longer than the 28 days, you can apply for a meditation visa, which will allow you to stay in Myanmar for up to 70 days. When you submit your application, you will also need to include a letter to the ambassador, the original copy of the sponsor letter from the meditation center you'll be attending. The fee for this visa is $50 and it is valid for three months from the date of issuance.
An Education Visa will allow you to stay in Myanmar for up to 90 days provided that you are either lecturing or enrolled in a course or program at a university in Myanmar. With your application, you will need to submit a $50 fee, plus a completed work history form, a recommendation from the university you plan to attend, and a copy of the school's registration.
An Employment Visa will grant you a 70-day stay in Myanmar, but this is extendable. When you apply, you'll need to fill out a work history form and provide an invitation letter of employment from registered Myanmar company, a copy of that company's registration, a copy of the receipts certifying that tax payment will be imposed, and the application fee of $50.
If you have a short layover in Myanmar, but don't want to pay full price for an eVisa to leave the airport, you can apply for a transit visa, which is valid for 24 hours and costs only $20. However, this visa is not as convenient to apply for as the eVisa and you will need to submit your passport and application by mail, in addition to a copy of your onward ticket and a completed work history form.
Most visas are valid for three months after being issued, but that doesn't mean you have to travel within those three months. As long as you enter the country before the three months are up, you will be allowed to stay for the full amount of time your visa dictates.
If you overstay your visa, you will have to pay $3 for every extra day for up to 30 days. After 30 days, the fine increases to $5 per day. You'll be charged this fine when you leave Myanmar, typically at the Airport Immigration Office. Although a few tourists do choose to overstay their visa by a few days, doing so on a long-term basis has some serious downsides. For one, you won't be able to fly domestically within Myanmar, and hotels and bus lines are required by law to deny service if your visa is expired. You may meet people who choose to take this risk, especially since the fine is so low, and overstaying your visa won't hinder your ability to enter Myanmar in the future but generally, it is not a good idea if you want to avoid any attention from law enforcement.
Extending Your Visa
It's not possible to extend a Transit or Tourism Visa, but you can extend a Business, Meditation, Education, or Employment Visa by contacting the embassy directly. If you are requesting an extension for a Business Visa, you will also need to provide a recommendation letter.