Immigration to streamline visa applications
VISA applications will be simplified and the fees adjusted to conform to international, particularly regional, standards, the immigration ministry has announced. U Kyaw Myint, deputy director of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, said visitors would also be able to apply for various types of multiple-entry visas, including for work, social, religious and research visits.
“We want to conform to international standards in terms of visa applications and fees, for the benefit of visitors applying at our embassies overseas,” he said.
The ministry says it will be trying to streamline the application process, for instance by doing away with requirements for documentation on taxation or accommodation for business visas.
“We will reduce visa fees that are higher than those of other countries, but we may increase some others in accordance with international practice,” U Kyaw Myint said.
Foreign visitors in Myanmar now have the option of applying for a multiple-entry tourist visa valid for three to 12 months, he said.
U Kyaw Myint said, “We’ve already reached agreement with other ministries, and Myanmar embassies overseas are ready to release the multiple-entry visa. We’re awaiting final approval from the government for the proposed changes in fees and application forms.”
U Myint Kyaing, permanent secretary at the ministry, told The Myanmar Times the fees will be comparable to other ASEAN countries.
However, industry professionals believe minor fee reductions will not change much. “Current visa fees are not much different from those overseas,” said tourism expert U Aung Myat Kyaw.
U Thet Lwin Toh, chair of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association, said the fees should be broadly in line with those charged by comparable countries, including fellow ASEAN members Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
“We can’t be compared with developed countries like American and Germany, but should be more in line with Singapore and Thailand, as a lot of their citizens come to Myanmar,” he said, adding that tourist visa fees had been lowered last year.
“The e-visa is very convenient for foreign visitors, and should be extended to more countries,” he said.
The e-visa is currently available to tourists applying from 100 countries and for business applicants from 51 countries.
Yangon residents peruse newpapers at a stall downtown.