UPDATED 2018 FOR new EVISA INFORMATION. Obtain your Myanmar eVisa for tourists online or your paper visa from a Myanmar embassy or consulate, including that in Bangkok.
Overstaying a visa is possible, if you want to travel beyond 28 days.
Do I need a Myanmar Visa?
Whether you need a Myanmar visa is entirely dependent on your nationality. Apart from a few Southeast Asian nationalities, a visa is required. USA citizens need a visa at the time of this writing. Check the government website for any updates: The Official Myanmar Visa Website. Read the “Notice to Tourists” for all the details.
Myanmar Visa Facts
- There are two types of visas, the paper visa and the eVisa. Both visa types are for 28 days, and are non-renewable, meaning that it is not possible to extend the visa while you are in-country.
- The visas are good for single entry, meaning you cannot go in and out of the country multiple times.
- Finally, the visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue. So, if you’re planning a trip 6 months from now, wait to apply for your visa.
Visa Types – 2 Types
Online Visa, Myanmar eVisa
Be sure to read the “Notice to Tourists” on the website for detailed information, including which entry points are available using this visa.
- eVisa – $50 USD – obtained online
- Entry / Exit – UPDATE 2018 – Read the “Notice to Tourists” for current information on entry ports allowed with this visa. At the time of this writing, it is valid for 6 entry points. Htee Kee border entry still requires a paper visa (between Kanchanaburi, Thailand and Dawei, Myanmar). However, exit is ok at most border points, including Htee Kee. See Border Crossing section below for additional details.
- Up to 3 days to receive visa approval, but often within a few hours, according to people on the Myanmar Facebook Group.
The Myanmar paper visa is cheaper, excluding mailing costs. This visa allows entry by all border crossings– both air and overland. You may also exit by air or overland.
- Paper Visa – $20 USD
- Entry /Exit – For overland or airplane arrival and any type of departure.
- Bangkok Embassy – took 2-days according to a tourist.
- United States postal mail – took about 1 week, including mailing time, in my experience.
- Mail to Washington D.C. or Los Angeles.
Money is not accepted at border crossings, so you must have your visa in advance.
Myanmar Visa Application
Photos for Application
The Myanmar visa application requires passport photos (original photos, not photocopies) and a lot of personal information, including previous employment. Avoid putting ‘journalist’. Instead use a broad term, such as ‘consultant’.
Accommodation for Myanmar Visa Application
It also asks for your address in Myanmar. I did not have one, so simply looked up hotels on an online hotel booking website like Trip Advisor and selected the address of a mid-range hotel that seemed like a place I might consider staying. You should ensure it has reviews by foreigners, as only establishments with a special license can host foreigners.
Proof of Travel Out of Myanmar for Visa Application
Finally, the application asked for my travel itinerary / air ticket. I simply printed my airline reservation to/from Southeast Asia, which did not include any flights in or out of Myanmar. The printout was from my email and did not look official. I suppose it might have been possible to simply write down that I was traveling overland from Thailand.
Myanmar Border Crossings
The border crossing closest to Bangkok, 3 hours by bus, is Htee Kee, between Kanchanaburi, Thailand and Dawei, Myanmar. Myanmar’s pristine white sand beaches lie near Dawei, and are easily accessible by day tour or rented motorbike.
I’ve written about the Htee Kee Border Crossing, including photos, so you know what to expect. There are other border crossings, both north and south of this one. Please see the official Myanmar government visa Frequently Asked Questions website for details.
ENTRY: You must specify a “Port of Entry” in your application, which is one of the designated International Airports or Land Border Checkpoints. During your actual visit, you may enter Myanmar at any designated international “Port of Entry”, however we strongly recommend you use the one specified in your application to avoid longer processing time at arrival.
Exit: You may exit at any of the International Airports and Land Border Checkpoints. Additionally, you may exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, but not enter from there at this time.
Flying to Myanmar – Airline, Cost
The least expensive flights to Yangon and Mandalay are available from Bangkok on AirAsia. There are also flights from other southeast Asian countries, but often require a stopover in Bangkok. Additionally, there are flights from Europe to Yangon.
I did not find any direct flights from the USA when I was trip planning in March, 2016. Let me know if you find one, and I’ll update this post! However, I did find a round-trip flight from San Francisco to Bangkok for $434 on TravelPirates.com.
I do not recommend overstaying a visa ever. Going against the rules of a foreign government is never recommended. However, I had current information and took a calculated risk by overstaying my Myanmar visa. I obviously cannot suggest you take such a risk. I don’t know your citizenship and I am not keeping current on any changes regarding the many factors that affected my decision, including politics, culture, and much more.
Cost: $3 USD per day overstayed, payable in U.S. dollars, cash only. Myanmar kyat is not accepted. However, I owed $24, and only had USD $20 and $100 bills, so they allowed me to pay USD $20 and the remaining $4 in kyat.
How I Decided to Overstay My Visa
I learned about overstaying the visa by personal experience. I have never seen any official information on overstaying a visa in any country. In some countries it is possible to renew a visa, but not in Myanmar. Therefore, please do your own research on the current status of this option for staying in Myanmar as a tourist longer than 28 days.
While in Myanmar I met a tourist, D., who knew another tourist who exited past her visa expiration date. She had received a smile at her departure point, since the person at passport control was happy that she’d enjoyed her stay so much that she overstayed her 28 days. D. soon overstayed his Myanmar visa, and also had a positive experience.
Based on these 2 positive experiences, I decided that I would likely be safe overstaying my Myanmar visa. I was nervous going to the airport, because what if…..??
Mandalay Airport Overstay Desk
In fact, at the Mandalay airport there is an “Overstay Desk” directly next to passport control, so it’s very convenient. In the photo you can see that a camera and calculator are ready and waiting. (You’ll have to excuse the photo quality, as I usually get yelled at when officials catch me taking photos of checkpoints, so this was a sneaky shot.)
Upon departure we all paid $3 USD per day overstayed, had our photo taken, and completed a 1-page form with our name, address, visa expiration date, and passport data– information that the Myanmar government already had from my visa application and from the visa itself, which they had given me. However, I happily took a few minutes and wrote the information requested and paid my money for the privilege of staying extra time. The alternative was spending 5+ days leaving Myanmar, applying and paying for another visa, and then returning to Myanmar. I wasn’t complaining!
Visa Requirements Pro Tip
Countries change visa requirements. Always check the latest requirements on the official government website.
I used Rough Guide to help find accommodation, restaurants and much more! If you plan on staying in places with good internet (I did not have this luxury), the Facebook group Backpackers Myanmar (Burma) is very helpful. And, remember your map for trip planning both before and during your travels.
Read More on the Blog
Even if you aren’t traveling with kids, I highly recommend these articles written for families. There’s a lot of useful information for everyone, but I originally wrote the posts for my travel-crazy friend who now has a child.
My favorite Myanmar article is on the Culture of Fishing. I visited beaches and lake Indawgyi in the far north.