Woof Guide : Visas and Overstaying

Last update : March 2016

There is so much to see in Myanmar. Back when only a seven-day visa was available there was really only chance to rush around snatching a glimpse of the key sites. Even with today’s 28-day visa you are hard-pushed to even scratch the surface on a single visit. You can stay longer if you wish. “No problem” – see ‘overstay’ below.

If you have an easily accessible Myanmar embassy in your home country why not go along there and get a little insight into the country before you get here? London’s is at 19a Charles Street near Berkeley Square. You can apply up to three months before the day you will enter the country. It costs 14 quid (no price rise since1995) www.myanmarembassylondon.com.

e-visas for arrival by air at Yangon, Nay Pyi Daw and Mandalay are available for $50 via evisa.moip.gov.mm. It says you need to have an outbound flight but no-one is being asked to show that they have one on arrival so unless you really want to fix your departure point and time I would not bother.

Land borders are open. You can enter at one and leave at another. You will need to get a visa in advance. You cannot, for now, get a visa at the land borders. There are plenty of blogs with all the information you need about getting a visa in Bangkok (www.myanmarvisa.com/bangkok.htm) – careful though, some are out of date. It’s very much easier in KL where it has been out-sourced to Ever Fine Travel & Tour (19-21, Jalan Tun Perak, 50000, KL – near Masjid Jarmek LRT station).

DSC04791

Hopefully at some point visa-on-arrival will become available at all entry points and that visas valid for longer than 28 days will be on offer (even if we pay more for them).

The best news is that the ever-friendlier chatter in the Overstay Office at the airport is of there being no problem at all with overstaying these days. “Ninety days, no problem at all” But see update at page bottom.

Just pay $3 dollars a day for the first 90 days that you overstay and $5 a day thereafter. See below for Feb 2016 update re overstaying more than 90 days.

Don’t rely 100% on being able to leave via all land borders if you have overstayed (but see next para). Last year I heard stories of people being sent ‘back to Yangon’, but this year I hear from a number of people that they have overstayed and used land borders (at Htee Kee and Kawthoung at least) without problem.

Update : I went into Immigration in Yangon on December 20th 2015. The word in there is that overstay is payable at all Thai land borders and at Muse heading into China (though you do need permission to cross that border). Maybe not at the Tamu India border. 

And having overstayed I’ve had no problem in Bangkok or KL or London getting a new visa. So far at least.

In 2002, in the old Yangon airport, I was marched out of the main building and into another building where my overstay payment was only very-grumpily taken and I was lectured at some length about my wrongdoing.

By 2010 my bus-broke-down (for two weeks?) explanation and payment were readily accepted.

I overstayed by 40 plus days in 2013. A couple of out of the way guesthouses were initially reluctant to let me stay and I was told I could not take an internal flight so did not try.

I overstayed in March 2014 and again that November. I went through a number of internal Immigration checkpoints and took an internal flight. No problems. Yangon airport’s new (open though unfinished) temporary domestic terminal does not even have an Immigration desk.

Update : at December 28th 2015 I am in Myanmar and overstayed by 5 weeks. I’ve had no issues, including flying Yangon to Kawthoung. My passport was not checked leaving Yangon or on arrival at Kawthoung.

In 2013 I did have a problem in Hakha.

OVERSTAY UPDATE February 2016. Following a little local difficulty on the Dawei peninsula I went to Yangon just before being 90 days overstayed. I went to Immigration on Pansodan St on my 90th day and was told no problem, nothing to do. But when I left the country on my 103rd overstay day the Immigration office at Yangon airport wanted me to have procured a Foreigner Registration Certificate from Pansodan once I hit 90 days. For a moment it looked like I was not going to be able to leave. A work-around was agreed that meant me having to go to Pansodan Immigration as soon as next in Yangon to apply for a back-dated FRC. I went. I was told to ‘Forget it’. I was also told that i could have an FRC if i really wanted one ($8, five photos, 30 minutes) but that if I did so I would have to go to Pansodan to surrender it and then to collect it every time I enter or am about to leave the country. I think my best advice is not to overstay more than 90 days unless you’re a bureaucracy fan.

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