I've read online that one of the requirements for getting the visa-on-arrival when entering Laos at a border crossing is that you must have a passport photo.

But what happens if you are unaware of this rule, forget to obtain one, or try to get one without success before making it to the border?

  • Will you be sent back? As you've already been stamped out of the other country, can this cause problems?
  • Do they have a camera there for such emergencies and charge a nominal extra fee?
  • Do they take advantage of your predicament and use it as a chance to elicit a bribe or at least an official but ludicrously overpriced fee?

3 Answers 3


According to laos-guide-999.com:

If you don't have photos you will be asked to pay a small fee (few dollars) for scanning your photograph from your passport, and placing it onto your visa application form.

Another opinion from wikitravel:

passport photo is/may be required (although you may be able to pay a US$1 "fee" to have this requirement waived) - recently (June 2013) passport photos were not asked for (at Friendship Bridge).

  • 2
    I have the feeling some people see the extra $1 as the missing photo fee because it's not explained but in fact you get a little receipt for $1 which seems to be a "Friendship Bridge I Foreign Passenger" fee. Of course some people may have paid two separate $1 fees ... Sep 5, 2013 at 4:23

When I got off the bus that takes you across the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, I was the only person who needed a visa-on-arrival so I thought it would be quick. But I arrived during the "dinner break" of the people doing that job and had to wait around for twenty minutes!

Only when the guy eventually appeared could I get the entry forms, which took some more time to fill out. But the guy was cheerful and his English was good. I told him I didn't have the photo mentioned on the form and he said:

No problem!

I also left some fields blank on the form such as previous and next destination, which are fuzzy or unknown since I'm hitchhiking without a plan and because I didn't know where I'd been staying and there fields for address and phone number where you're staying, and also of a Lao contact.

This was also no problem.

I was concerned "no problem" might mean some unofficial charge was coming up. They did not have a camera and did not take my photo (unless they took it from a security camera), and there is no photo on the visa itself.

The charges were only:

  • The $30 USD visa fee
    (Australian citizen price, other nationalities may have other prices)
  • Another $1 USD fee
    Some websites, as referenced in HaLaBi's answer talk about a $1 fee when you don't have a passport photo. I believe they're confused as the receipt for this $1 fee clearly states "Friendship Bridge I (FOR FOREIGN PASSENGER)":

Friendship Bridge receipt

The fees should be paid in USD. If you pay in Thai Baht you will be required to pay 40 baht per dollar. For comparison, the actual exchange rate today is 32.25 Baht per dollar. I didn't bring any $1 bills so paid only the bridge fee in baht.

Some other people may have paid a photo fee but I doubt it. Some nationalities might need the photo, but as an Australian it was no problem and there were no fees or bribes.

  • Fee is the same for most countries except Canada. // Accept your answer?
    – hunter2
    Sep 19, 2013 at 7:18
  • Well HaLaBi's answer got it through his research and everybody voted for it, mine just fleshed it out with my particular story. I think I'll reward him. Sep 19, 2013 at 8:20
  • On my second visit to Laos toward the end of 2014 and using the same crossing near Vientiane I was asked for a passport photo and I did have one handy. Jan 29, 2015 at 7:11

I arrived at the Friendship Bridge without a photo and was charged 20 baht. Not sure they scanned it, but most likely they did and I did not receive a receipt. Not a problem, however, I got in with no difficulty and they were pleasant. It went fast, no delays.

  • Which Friendship Bridge? There are several and it could be important for future travellers looking for tips. Dec 14, 2017 at 10:53

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