A bit confused about Burma visa process

Old Mar 21st, 2012, 10:38 PM
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A bit confused about Burma visa process

So I've read a few threads on here on this same topic and I'm supremely confused about how the visa process works.

Heard that Visa on Arrival isn't active (although it seems from this website it actually is: http://www.myanmarvisa.com/), heard that it's not even actually a visa on arrival, heard that you have to deal with the embassy (a challenge for us in LA), and also heard that I should just let Santa Maria (our travel agents in Burma) deal with this for us.

Please, please, please...need some current advice on this topic. Thanks!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2012, 12:27 AM
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Have you planned a stop-over in Bangkok on the way to Myanmar? If so, you can get your visa the same day if you pay extra for it. Of course, the Embassy is usually opened only Mon-Friday. I got mine same day in Nov 2010. The visa on arrival has been a bit "on/off/on" for sometime. Most folks I know get their visa in Bangkok. Simple procedure to do yourself. Check out www.lonelyplanet.com for their Thorntree board comments. Some good info there. Also see link below. Info as good as I've seen anywhere on the net.
http://www.travelfish.org/blogs/bang...ma-in-bangkok/
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Old Mar 22nd, 2012, 05:44 AM
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It was easy for us to get our visa from the Washington DC Embassy. Print off the application from the Embassy website. Send off your request by Fedex and enclose a return Fedex envelope. In 3 weeks we had our visa back. If you go the Embassy route, leave plenty of time for processing. I'd recommend at least a month.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2012, 05:46 AM
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The easiest way to get your visa is to do it in advance of your trip. Download the visa app, fill it out and send it with your passport, photos and money order to the embassy in Washington DC. The visa is good for 90 days after it is issues (you have to enter Burma within the 90 days) and then is good for up to 28 days in Burma.

The website you found belongs to a travel agency. They will try to get you a pre-approved visa, but you will have to book a bunch of services from them. I understand Santa Maria can likewise, apply for a visa on your behalf. Also, there is another company that is trying to initiate an e-visa program (like Cambodia) but that is not yet functional.

The VOA existed for a number of months in 2010. That's it. They terminated it months before the 2010 election and have never reinstated it.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2012, 07:18 AM
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Not going through Bangkok, going through Singapore.

Will look into the embassy and SM options. Thanks, all!

This 'work history' form frightens me a bit--I'm getting flashbacks to when David had to do something similar for his Chinese visa and they almost denied his visa because he works as an executive in television. They were convinced this meant he was coming to China with a documentary crew to film. He had to actually compose a signed letter to promise he wouldn't "work" while on his trip in order to get them to issue him a visa. Hope we don't have to go through this again.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2012, 07:26 AM
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That could be a problem. Smeagol's friend had problems as well and she was in the TV business.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2012, 07:33 AM
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Or you can tell them that he work at home making boxes for offices.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2012, 08:20 AM
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I would suggest getting it as early as you dare, my friend practically visited the embassy in Singapore daily as she had terrible problems took over 6 week. she took in a letter from HR saying she was not a journalist ( she works for a major news corporation but not in journalism) she HAD to declare he job S she had to prove her residency in DPto get the visa there otherwise they would have made her apply in London.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2012, 10:44 AM
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I'd put down "secretary" or "baseball player" on Devid's application and leave it at that.
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Old Apr 11th, 2012, 02:18 PM
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I'm still unsure about how to proceed on this.

From the research I've done in the last few weeks--and speaking to a few immigration folks--I've gathered that lying about this on the visa application would be a disaster. Apparently they do a pretty thorough background check for these and any falsification or mispresentation would be an immediate denial of visa.

I have also heard that visa restrictions in Burma on journalists in particular (although he's certainly not a journalist--but I have a feeling this applies to anybody associated with the media) have been loosened in the past few months and weeks.

I am tempted to just call the Embassy in Washington and ask for their advice--but I really have no idea how paranoid (or not paranoid) I should be here. This is brand new territory for me travel-wise.

There's also a very good chance I'm overreacting to this and that with our Santa Maria itinerary sent with our application (which shows our booked hotels and flights) that it'll be crystal clear we are there strictly for tourism purposes and there will be no issues at all. But then I go and look at this visa application and it has a whole page about work history where you have to go into detail about your day-to-day tasks at work. That, in theory, should work in our favor (his job has absolutely nothing to do with shooting footage/news crews/cameras/etc...) but you really never know.

There is a severe lack of information on the internet about people with similar experiences going through this.
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Old Apr 11th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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Tell the truth, but apply appropriate spin so they do not misunderstand.
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Old Apr 11th, 2012, 04:22 PM
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When you call the embassy to ask there's no need to give them your real name(s). Just say you're M. Wallace!
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Old Apr 11th, 2012, 09:32 PM
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I suspect you will have problems but persistence pays off. I do think you should call the embassy and if they say it could be an issue ask them what info you need to prove that D is not a journalist. As I said K had horrendous problems as she works for a major news corporation. I guess it's more difficult for you because you cannot pop into the embassy every lunch break!
Ring them and as Pook says you don't have to give your real name. Good luck x
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Old Apr 11th, 2012, 09:58 PM
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Hi, filmwill:

I'm with Kathie on this one, tell the truth. Use simple English, so that's there no chance of a misunderstanding.

It's going to be hard enough getting the visa even with telling the truth.

Have a great trip and please thank David for me for his great sushi restaurant rcommendations!
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Old Apr 13th, 2012, 06:15 AM
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Just read answers to Filmwill's question about the visa to Burma. I have a friend who is teaching in China. He has real trouble getting info on this where he is. He wants to go to Burma on his break. How can he get a visa? It is not possible on arrival there? Maybe he could do this in Thailand??
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Old Apr 13th, 2012, 08:26 AM
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Maryanne, I answered you question on your thread, but let me add that your friend can also fly to Bangkok and get a visa at the embassy there.
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 03:30 AM
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what did you end up doing about this? It's strange that when I got my Burmese visa at the embassy in Phnom Penh, I only had to show a business card. The funny thing is, I have two, one as president of an NGO and another as manager of a guesthouse. The woman at the Burmese embassy said "put away the NGO card", I gave her the other one and that was that. No work history, no nothing else.
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 01:36 PM
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No real update as of yet. We can't apply until at least 90 days out...which puts us on hold really until October. In the meantime we keep asking as many people as we know for advice. And, yeah--the visa application itself has literally an entire page devoted to your 'work history.' You sort of already feel like they're looking for a reason to deny you before you've even finished filling it out.

The unfortunate part is that our embassy is in DC, so it's all 'send in the mail, cross your fingers and hope for the best.'
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 02:16 PM
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Well, if the long-rumored e-visa get approved, you may have an easier way. Last word was that it would start the end of April, but I wouldn't count on it. Still, you have a long time before you can get your visa, so it might just happen.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 12:33 AM
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I don't get why the application would be so different here versus in the US, seeing as how we're both still US citizens, dealing with <what should be> the same Burmese Embassy.

Even more confusing is why any American can fly directly from Siem Reap to Yangon and get VOA without filling out much of anything at all. Any "undesirables" such as journalists, NGO workers, etc only need to fly in directly from Siem Reap to get around the BS, surely they realize this?

I'm with Kathie. I think the e-visa is going to roll out by the time you go.
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