New Visa on Arrival Policy for Burma

Old May 5th, 2010, 05:24 AM
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New Visa on Arrival Policy for Burma

According to an article in today's LA Times, visas on arrival will now be available at international airports in Mandalay and Yangon. The cost will be $28 and they will be valid for 28 days.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 05:43 AM
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Jules mentioned it on his Burma thread. It's not really a visa on arrival (which means you just show up at the airport and purchase a visa), but is a pre-arranged visa (like VN) where you fill out forms, submit them to a travel agent, and, as long as it gets approved, you get a visa placed in your passport when you arrive at the airport in Burma. Is the $28 cost for the visa or for the travel agent services? You'll have to pay for both.

This has long been an option for Burma, but not a reliable one. Perhaps it will now be more reliable.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 06:01 AM
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It's not clear from if it's a true visa-on-arrival, but it is being characterized as a change in policy effective as of May 1. Another article on a website of the "Democratic Voice of Burma" says:

There are different types of visas on arrival: the tourist visa for $US30 which grants 28 days to stay and cannot be extended; the business visa for $US40 for 70 days stay in the country, which can be extended; the visa for “social reasons” at $US40 for 28 days which allows extension, and the transit visa on arrival, which costs $US18 for 24 hours stay.

The Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association, which first called for use of the visa-on-arrival in 2008, has speculated there will be more tourists in Burma with the new system, which mimics that of other countries.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 06:33 AM
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If, in fact, they made it a visa on arrival system it might bring in more spur-of-the-moment travelers. But if it is a prearranged visa (as everything I've seen indicates, even though they call it visa on arrival) I wouldn't expect it to make much difference.

I hope anyone who tries this will report back.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 02:56 PM
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Santa Maria Travel, with whom I've been working re transportation, has sent me the packet of new visa info. There does seem to be a new system. The title of the information page is "Myanmar Visa on Arrival, subtitle: New System begun to practice from 01 May 2010"[sic].
After describing the ports of entry and visa requirements (photos, time remaining on passport, etc), there is a heading "Administrative Body" saying "There will be an administrative body of eight officers from various government ministries comprising immigration, Foreign Affairs, Special Police, Defense, Hotel & Tourism and Aviation. This administrative body will be led by a deputy director from immigration, Manpower and National Registration. The Myanmar visa on-arrival will be issued or rejected by a team of 15 officers as determined by the administrative body"[sic]

The new visa app is only one page instead of two and does not ask about work history or previous Burma visas approved or rejected as did the visa app you had to send in to the Embassy of the Union of Myanmar in DC. It is much more user friendly. I've conjured up several motive scenarios for this streamlined app.

I just tried to attach it here but no luck. If someone needs a copy, post your email address and I'll send it to you. I won't be traveling until December so my experience may come too late for some.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 03:20 PM
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Robbie, do you apply through Santa Maria? Or does it need to be emailed to a governmental agency?

Their description of the process does not lend itself to a true visa on arrival scenerio - how can you arrive at the airport in Rangoon and then have your application reviewed by 15 officers?
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Old May 5th, 2010, 08:22 PM
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Kathie I don't know the answer to your question about the 15 officers but it certainly brings an amusing image to mind!
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Old May 6th, 2010, 09:55 AM
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Having been through passport control on the way out of Burma recently, I can only imagine that 15 officers discussing whether a visa should be granted would take days!
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Old May 6th, 2010, 10:28 AM
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When I entered Cambodia from Vietnam by boat there were at least six immigration officers, in full uniform, sitting in a row. My passport started at one end, and every officer had a look at it and me! Didn't take too long, but 15?
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Old May 6th, 2010, 07:43 PM
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thursdaysd I remember the same thing at the Cam/Vietnam boat border & then a few years later at Siem Reap airport but they were very quick really! Kathies description in her trip report of how they looked at every page in her passport in Yangoon makes you think of 15 people doing that!
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Old May 6th, 2010, 08:06 PM
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Kathie, I asked myself the same question you pose. I think this is the latest military strategy to assure full employment for the military. Perhaps the process will work the way thursdaysd describes for Cambodia.
I had heard about this new visa app and emailed Santa Maria, they replied with 2 pages detailing requirements and info on this process and a one page application form entitled
"Government of the Union of Myanmar Immigration Department Application for Visa on Arrival". The info page states there is now a visa on arrival counter where you submit you app w/ photos and passport and completed form. It also states the form can be downloaded and completed in advance for quicker on arrival processing. (I would check now but I'll lose this post if I leave this site). I guess we'll have to wait for reports from Burma travelers in the coming months to know the real scoop.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 08:32 PM
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I will be honest...if I don't read a lot of positive feedback we will just get our visa in the US before we go even though we LOVE visa on arrival
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Old May 7th, 2010, 05:28 AM
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I'm following this discussion on Thorntree as well. We won't know what this means until a few people have done it. There are concerns on Thorntree that the government might capriciously deny visas, so you'd have to immediately fly out of the country.

I'll be very interested to hear people's experiences with this.

BTW Jules, the visa through the embassy in the US was the fastest we've ever experienced.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 02:50 PM
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Just posting back about info about this over on Thorntree. It appears that the Visa on Arrival (not pre-arrnaged visa) is now a reality at the Yangon and Mandalay airports. Several travelers have posted that they were granted a VOA, one poster noted that at least one person on their flight was refused a VOA and had to leave on the next flight. It is not clear why the visa was denied.

The cost for 28 days is $30, and each person must show (just show, not exchange) US$300 to get the visa.

Please, anyone who opts to try this let us all know how it goes.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 05:56 AM
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It sounds kind of risky...
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Old May 31st, 2010, 09:08 AM
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Just came back from Burma;

I flew from BKK into RGN and got a VOA at Yangon Airport, painless. They did not even ask to show them $300.00; make sure that you have two VOA forms filled out, will save you time, I had only one so they handed me a blank form to fill out b/c they need two (carbon copy).

While trying to check in at BKK, it took me a while to explain to Thai Airways persons that I do not need Myanmar visa b/c I can get one at RGN on arrival; they did let me board the plane.

Good luck.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 08:24 PM
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My Yangon agent said not to put down Occupation on form as Author,Cameraman(incl video...), Editor ,Journalist-get my drift !? . Hope it helps.
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Old Jul 18th, 2010, 02:03 AM
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Three weeks till Burma/Myanmar, I will report my experience.
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Old Jul 18th, 2010, 08:33 AM
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Do let us know how it goes for you. And I'm always interested in hearing other traveler's experiences in Burma.
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Old Jul 18th, 2010, 08:53 AM
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Never, are you one of the people who wanted to use my horsecart driver in Bagan? If so, make sure you email him in advance. He was remarkably knowledgable about the temples.
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