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Burma, Myanmar Visa On Arrival (VOA) Is Available And Is As Easy As ...

Burma, Myanmar Visa On Arrival (VOA) Is Available And Is As Easy As ...

Old Jan 29th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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Burma, Myanmar Visa On Arrival (VOA) Is Available And Is As Easy As ...

If you have plans of visiting Burma don't delay them as VOA is available and it is as easy as a brand new “Benjamin” or a “Jackson”.

I made my application online and paid about US$43 for the service with the understanding that I would pay an additional US$30 on arrival for the visa itself.

Although the email service from the company was slower than expected, eventually I received an approval letter and a list with my name on it from them. Both of these items I saved on my netbook to present to Air Asia when checking in for my flight and to the Immigration officials when I arrived in Yangon.

At the VOA desk you have to fill out another form and present one passport photo. The process could not have been any simpler or more pleasant as the officials were friendly and very accommodating. However, one interesting thing.

Your American currency must be in perfect condition as it has to pass the tough inspection of one Chief Currency Inspector No. 13. No folds, wrinkles, markings or bent corners.

Fortunately, I had a fresh from the bank at home and well traveled US$100 bill.

Once visa was issued I then proceeded onto Immigration and Customs where again the officials were surprisingly friendly and welcoming.

In the baggage claim area there is an ATM (with dial up internet connection) along with a Currency Exchange Booth where your old worn out, wrinkled,torn and dog eared Jacksons, Benjamins or even Washingtons are welcomed.

There is a varied rate for currency exchange with the hundred dollar bill getting the best treatment, as it should.

Being in Burma is exciting and with the ease of VOA, I would say start packing!
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Old Jan 29th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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This is a pre-arranged visa. There is no visa on arrival. I know some of the websites call it a VOA, but that would mean you could arrive in Yangon with no advance notice and be given a visa. This pre-arranged visa is, of course, much more expensive than getting a visa at home ($20) or in Bangkok (1200 baht).

The willingness of the currency exchanges to accept less than perfect US currency is new within the last couple of months. Don't expect you will be able to exchange flawed money everywhere in Burma.

Enjoy this remarkable country.
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Old Jan 29th, 2013, 03:56 PM
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Kathie,

Your definition maybe correct but the sign at the desk says "Visa On Arrival" and I think most travelers in this situation are familiar with the term "VOA" instead of pre-arranged visa.

In countries where you get a visa when you arrive, I have never heard it referred to as "VOA". Most people I know just reference the fact that you have to pay or get a visa when you arrive.

Even though it would be cheaper to get the visa at home in terms of dollars, in terms of time I think this is a great option.

I would recommend money be exchanged at the airport although I did see a few ATM's around town (one at Strand Hotel).

For me, so far this is indeed a remarkable country
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 12:30 PM
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Unless it has changed since November VOA was only available to "Business" travelers, not tourists.
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Alan-s

Yes, it has changed

Interesting that you refer to it as "VOA" and not "Pre-arranged".
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 01:17 PM
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You are quite right Alan, there is a true VOA for Business Travelers. But DMB is talking about the pre-arranged visa though a travel agent that has long been available, though at a much higher price than getting it from the embassy.

So the situation has not changed since you were there Alan, but DMB prefers to confuse the issue by calling the pre-arranged visa a VOA.
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 01:54 PM
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Why the smarmy attitude, DMB?
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 08:54 PM
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Accommodation is the issue at present.
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 11:34 PM
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I didn't intend to cause problems, just stating the case as it was when I arrived. The visa DMB is discussing is not the same as the Business VOA offered by the Burmese government.

I investigated VOA but realised I was not eligible. I got a bit frantic a month before the trip because of problems with the Australian Embassy, but eventually my visa arrived in time for the visit. The price was AU$35 IIRC, plus postage costs.
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 11:37 PM
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For any Aussies interested in a Myanmar visa here is the web-site: http://www.mecanberra.org/index.php/...3-tourist-visa

The good news is that the web-site now appears to be up most of the time
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 03:08 AM
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filmwill,

I don't know the definition of "smarmy" but the point of this post is that going to Burma is easy and my report somewhat detailed the process of doing so.

If others refer to it as a "Pre-arranged Visa" while at the desk I go to at the airport says "Visa On Arrival" then I would guess it is more commonly referred to as a VOA.

If to state this means I have a "smarmy attitude" then I guess I am guilty
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 03:15 AM
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mareeS55,

Just got back from Yangon and did not find accommodations to be a problem even though I did so at the last moment.

If you are looking for western style 5 star accommodations that coud be a problem. However, there seemed to be plenty of hotels around that offered clean safe rooms although I doubt you will find them on Orbitz etc.

In such cases a local travel agent could be helpful.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 04:28 AM
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Myanmar Visa On Arrival for tourist IS NOT available and the only Visa On Arrival is for business related travel and you will have to show proof that you are travelling there on business.

Link for the official business Visa On Arrival: http://www.mip.gov.mm/visaonarrival/

Another misinformed thread but I guess it does no harm as a traveller without visa or prearranged visa will not be allowed to board the flight to Myanmar in the first place.

In the OP's example the prearranged visa is picked up at the VOA desk only. The VOA desk DOES NOT ig tourist visa and if for some strange happening and you were
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 04:29 AM
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Hit enter too soon!

Last paragraph is suppose to read: In the OP's example the prearranged visa is picked up at the VOA desk only. The VOA desk DOES NOT grant tourist visa.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 05:45 AM
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This forum is used as a resource by many. The Burma visa situation has long been complicated, and I didn't want a future traveler to stumble across this thread and think that they could get a visa on arrival. Several years ago, there was a real visa on arrival available for tourists. This situation lasted just a few months, but many people got caught in the subsequent months trying to board their flight for Yangon and being turned away because they had no visa, expecting to get it upon arrival.

Alan, you didn't cause problems, you just stated what is true.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 06:54 AM
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Just go further complicate things, at the moment, a [nationally eligible] person can fly direct from Siem Reap or Phnom Penh to Yangon on Myanmar Air (only) and get a VoA with no arrangement before hand.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 07:31 AM
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I was hoping that the Myanmar government will comply with the ASEAN charter which stipulate a 15 days visa free travel for ASEAN citizens. Sadly that has not happened!.

However, you can always apply online at: https://www.myanmarevisa.gov.mm and then, hopefully, you will be issue a pre-approved visa letter. This is really new and if someone want to give it a try I would like to know the result. Note that the "Beta" sign in the top right corner.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 08:42 AM
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Lori, that is the additional complication I didn't want to bring up because it is so confusing. People flying on Myanmar Air International arriving from PP, Siem Reap or a city in China - Kunming, perhaps? - can get a VOA. It's the exception that confuses so many people. (Lori, I read recently that it had been suspended recently for people flying from Cambodia - do you know anything about this?)

Hanuman, the online visa you cite has been in beta mode for almost a year... it still doesn't work. If they ever decide ti implement it, it will make things much easier.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 08:46 AM
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alan_s: The good news is that the web-site now appears to be up most of the time

Well, that's certainly excellent news!

Unfortunately, I don't live in Australia

And I have no desire to revisit Burma/Myanmar any time too soon. Eons ago, I had a mixed experience there. Certainly the pagodas are awesome, the people friendly, the food another ecpicurean discovery. However, I was dragged around by my guide (not allowed to go about alone) and exhibited to every single one of his relatives before I learnt I was to be the prospective bride...language difficulties and all that. My distinct recollection is that his mother sat on some kind of dais and he was practically kowtowing to her while I thought that any minute she was going to wave her hand and say "Off with her head!"

I hope fellow Fodorites don't take this as being too "smarmy" (or whatever the term is) a take on Myanmar.

Of course, today, with sagging skin, missing teeth and extreme near-sightedness, Myanmar could turn out to be a totally different and delightful experience.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 08:50 AM
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Oh boy...I really was missing out on my daily dose of crazy. Glad I just got it.
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