COVID-19: Information to Swiss citizens travelling or currently residing in Lao PDR
The Embassy of Switzerland in Bangkok is responsible for Swiss citizens in Lao PDR. Please address your questions or/and requests to the Swiss Embassy in Bangkok: firstname.lastname@example.org
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the current outbreak can be described as a pandemic. There is a risk of infection with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) in all regions of the world. Since 15 June 2020, the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH has been recommending that unnecessary travel abroad be avoided. This recommendation does not apply to travel to Schengen countries (including Denmark, Iceland and Norway) and Great Britain. (Link, only in French, German and Italian).
In order to facilitate the return of Swiss nationals travelling in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, Switzerland organized five repatriation flights to Zurich between 31 March and 5 April from Bangkok, Phuket, Phnom Penh, Yangon and a combined Bangkok-Vientiane flight. This means that the vast majority of Swiss tourists wishing to return home were able to do so. Switzerland has no plan to organize any further repatriation flights for the countries of the consular district covered by this Embassy (Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand).
Commercial flights out of Vientiane
There are very few commercial flights connections from Vientiane to Europe at the moment. If you hear of a flight, please double check with the airline company since we heard that many online travel agent websites are not updated with the latest restrictions.
If we receive information about any other organized flights, we will inform people registered on the Travel Admin App (Itineris).
Travel Admin App (Itineris): Sign up! If you are currently travelling in Laos as a tourist or on business (not for permanent residents), please register on the Swiss Travel Admin App (Itineris) so that the relevant Swiss Embassy can contact you if necessary. Please make sure that the dates of your trip are up to date. Once you have returned to Switzerland, please delete your trip from the application.
If despite all your efforts, you are unable to return to Switzerland, please contact the Swiss Embassy in Bangkok email@example.com. Although our capacity to assist you is limited, it is important for us to know where you are in order to provide you with all the necessary information.
Depending on how the situation evolves, you may have to prepare yourself to stay in Laos longer than expected. If this is confirmed, it is also advisable to make sure that you have a place where you can reside for a longer period, that you are in good standing with Laotian residency rules, that you have sufficient financial reserves and that you have the necessary insurances (travel, health, repatriation).
Entry into Laos and visa extensions
Visas to enter Lao PDR are only possible for certain individuals and under certain conditions.If there is an urgent need to bring in Lao PDR, experts, foreign workers, technicians or foreign students, a formal request must be addressed to the competent Laotian authorities. For diplomats, the request must be addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Every entrance must be accepted by the Government of Lao PDR.
Visas for all other foreign nationals are currently suspended until further notice. It is thus not possible for tourists to enter the country.
To enter Lao PDR, foreigners must have the following documents:
- Valid entry visa
- A negative test for COVID-19 certification using RT-PCR from a trustworthy medical institution of no more than 72 hours before departure to Lao PDR.
- Approval letter by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR
- Approval letter by the Ministry of Health (COVID-19 Task Force) of Lao PDR
Upon arrival at the airport, all individuals must go through a body temperature check, complete a health declaration form, and present the proof of negative COVID-19 test to the immigration authorities.
Furthermore, all individuals will have to take a COVID-19 test at a designated national hospital upon arrival.
Any individual found to have fever or suspicious symptoms of COVID-19, will be directly sent to designated hospitals for quarantine and COVID-19 testing.
All individuals, except diplomats, who entered Lao PDR will be subject to a strict 14-day self-quarantine at a hotel or center designated by the Laotian authorities.
More detailed information is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Laos.
Leaving Lao PDR
All foreign nationals who want to exit the Lao PDR, need to be announced to the Laotian authorities via their respective Embassy. Therefore, Swiss citizens or foreign residents in Switzerland are requested to inform the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangkok firstname.lastname@example.org minimum 14 days before departure. The Embassy will then inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in writing.
For those who wish to extend their temporary stay-permit, he/she can do so directly at the Department of Immigration, Ministry of Public Security or at the Provincial Public Security Headquarters across country:
1) For those who have already extended their Stay Permit for a second time, but cannot travel out of Lao PDR due to COVID-19 pandemic, he/she can request for further extension of their Stay Permit;
2) For those who traveled to Lao PDR under the visa exemption agreement and who could not travel out of Lao PDR on time due to COVID-19 pandemic, he/she can also request for further extension of their Stay Permit.
Entry into Switzerland
Please visit this page: Visa – Entry to and residence in Switzerland
Situation in Laos and restrictions related to COVID-19
Actively inform yourself about the instructions of the Government and the local media regarding the regularly changing restriction measures.
Remember that we are all guests in Laos. Please comply strictly with the instructions of the Laotian authorities.
National lockdown and travel ban
Since 4 May, some measures of the national lockdown has begun to gradually be relaxed.
The following restrictions remain in force until further notice:
Remain closed: night markets, entertainment services, bars, karaokes, that attract large crowds where the implementation of preventive measure is not possible.
Prohibition of private gatherings, parties and celebrations.
More information can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR.
Useful links regarding the COVID19 situation
- Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) for the current situation and measures taken in Switzerland.
- FOPH’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the new coronavirus
- Travel Report of the FDFA, Focus Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), in French, German, and Italian.
- Lao authorities: Lao PDR Ministry of Health, COVID-19 phone number: 020 54066777
- WHO, HQ: World Health Organization, WHO
- WHO representation in Lao PDR: WHO COVID-19 Situation Reports
- International Air Transport Association, IATA
- Infoline Coronavirus: +41 58 463 00 00