Obtaining work permits for Laos is quite complicated, and expats and their employers will need to secure the needed paperwork from either end and from different government ministries. In order to work in Laos, expats will need either an expert (E-B2) or labour (LA-B2) visa as well as a work permit and a stay permit.

Applying for a work visa and permit

Most expats working and living in Laos are issued the labour visa. This is available for periods of three, six and 12 months and is a multiple-entry visa. Expats applying for the LA-B2 should do this at a Lao embassy or consulate before entering Laos. To apply, they will need an employment contract and sponsorship letter from their employer in Laos.

The expert visa works very similarly to the labour visa, with the chief difference being that it is issued to expats working for an NGO or similar international organisation.

To receive authorisation from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the employer will need to submit a number of documents. Once the request is approved, the employer registers and applies for a work permit. The work permit will be issued at the same time as the work visa.

Expats who plan to work and live in Laos for longer than a year will also need to apply for a stay permit through the Department of Immigration.

*Visa regulations and requirements for work permits are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.