Im­mi­gra­tion to stream­line visa ap­pli­ca­tions

The Myanmar Times - - News - EI EI THU eiei­thu@mm­times.com

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.

Photo: Staff

Yan­gon res­i­dents peruse new­pa­pers at a stall down­town.

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