The Lao passport is currently ranked 90th place on the Guide Passport Index. It is considered to be on the lower end of Passport Rankings in the world. Lao passport holders have visa-free access and visas on arrival to only 48 destinations including Indonesia and Malaysia. There are 181 destinations for which a Lao passport holder requires to obtain a visa prior to traveling. This high visa requirement results in a low mobility score. For major destinations such as the USA and the European Union, Lao citizens require to apply for a visa in advance. Visa applicants need to present documents such as proof of funds and a return flight ticket.
The Laos passport ranking relative to other global passports is calculated by adding up the number of countries that allow Laos passport holders to enter without a visa (i.e. visa-free countries) and those that allow Laos passport holders to enter by obtaining a visa on arrival (i.e. visa-on-arrival countries) or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). There are currently a total of 21 Laos passport visa-free countries, 25 Laos visa-on-arrival countries, and 2 eTA destinations.
Altogether, Laos passport holders can enter a total of 48 destinations—either without a visa, through a visa on arrival, or via an eTA. As a result, the Laos passport ranks 90 in the world.
Separate from these Laos visa-free countries and visa-on-arrival countries, there are 181 additional destinations which Laos passport holders either need a physical visa to enter or an eVisa (i.e. visa required countries).
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is a former French colony and made of 17 provinces. It is located in Southeastern Asia bordering Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Burma and Thailand. The most significant provinces are Savannakhet, Vientiane Prefecture and Champasak. The country has a total surface area of 237,955 square kilometers. The land is dominated by Rocky Mountains, plateaus and plains. The nation has a tropical monsoon type climate with a dry season from December to April and a rainy season from May to November.
Laos overall population is over 7.1 million people making it the 35th most populous country in Asia. The capital of the nation is Vientiane. It is also the most populous city with around 948,477 inhabitants. Other important towns are Savannakhet and Pakxe. The largest airport is Watty International Airport (VTE). It provides Laos with access to many destinations around Asia but lacks intercontinental flights.
The Lao culture is dominated by Theravada Buddhism. Out of the total population 65% are Buddhist. The official language is Lao. The legal system is the civil law similar to the French system. The government form is a communist state. The current chief of state is President Bounnyang Vorachit and the head of government is Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulit.
The official currency is the Lao Kip (LAK). Its current exchange rate is about LAK 17,280 to the USD. The country has a state-controlled economy, generating a GDP of approximately $58 billion. The per capita income is $8,458. The GDP consists of the 3 key sectors: services, industry and agriculture. Agriculture remains a backbone of the economy with contributing over 20% to the GDP. Main export goods include gold, copper, timber, rubber, rice, vegetables, corn and coffee. The GDP growth has been strong at between 7 to 8% yearly and the government was also able to attract foreign investment.
Laos is an exciting tourist destination in Southeast Asia. The country has many natural and culturally unique attractions for tourists to explore. It has three UNESCO world heritage sites scattered across the country. Some of the most visited tourist destinations are Kuang Si Caves, the Elephant Village Sanctuary, the 4,000 islands, the Kong Lor Caves, Wat Phu and the Pha Pheng Waterfall. As the capital, Vientiane also offers great museums and exhibitions showcasing the history and natural beauty of the nation.