Although several foreign nationalities are able to travel to Myanmar for short stays for purposes of business or tourism, citizens of China and India are required to obtain one of the types of visas for Myanmar to visit the country. A Myanmar eVisa for tourism and business from India and China is available online through a simple online application, and a visa on arrival scheme for Chinese and Indian citizens was introduced in 2018.
Due to the success of the program in boosting tourism to the country, the government of Myanmar has announced an extension of the visa on arrival for Indians and Chinese citizens, and the program will now last until September 2020. Travelers from India and China will now be able to choose whether to obtain the Myanmar visa on arrival for or the electronic visa, which saves travelers the need to queue at border checkpoints to gain entry to the country.
Why Is the Myanmar Visa on Arrival Scheme Being Extended?
The government of Myanmar has announced it is extending the visa on arrival for Indians and Chinese citizens in order to boost the number of tourist arrivals to Myanmar from Asian countries. In addition, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has also confirmed that the government will be extending the Myanmar visa exemption for Japanese and South Korean citizens which was also first granted in 2018.
The announcement follows the success of the first wave of relaxation of visa restrictions for Asian travelers to Myanmar, which resulted in significantly increasing the number of tourist arrivals to the country in the first half of 2019. The number of arrivals in the first 6 months of 2019 has already seen a rise of over 42,000 visitors compared to the same period in 2018.
Of the over 3.55 million foreign visitors that Myanmar received in 2018, the highest number of tourist arrivals came from China. The hope is that extending the visa on arrival scheme for Chinese citizens will help hit the target of attracting 7 million yearly visitors by 2020.
The government has also announced plans to introduce Myanmar visa exemption for other nationalities in the coming months, as well as to open up the visa on arrival scheme to other countries, in order to further boost tourist numbers.
The Myanmar Online Visa for Indian and Chinese Citizens
Although Chinese and Indian citizens will still be able to obtain a visa on arrival for Myanmar for quite some time because of the recently announced extension, nationals from the two countries are also eligible to apply for a Myanmar visa online for short stays for tourism and business.
There are several differences between the Myanmar eVisa and the Myanmar visa on arrival that Indian and Chinese citizens should be aware of before deciding on their preferred method of visa application. Although it may be convenient for those who need to enter the country on short notice, the Myanmar visa on arrival application involves queuing at border entry points in order to complete a visa on arrival form, which may take up a lot of travel time.
On the other hand, applicants for the Myanmar eVisa for Indians or Chinese citizens are able to complete the simple application online in just a few minutes. After submitting an application, it takes around 3 business days for the eVisa to be processed, and applicants receive an approved online visa via email in their inbox, eliminating the need to queue upon arrival in the country.
Those traveling to Myanmar for business may particularly benefit from obtaining an eVisa instead of a visa on arrival from India or China. While a visa on arrival only grants a maximum stay of 30 days in the country, the eVisa for business allows the holder to spend up to 90 days in the country.
The Myanmar visa on arrival for Chinese citizens and Indians is also only available at selected airports in Myanmar, at Yangon International Airport, Nay Pyi Taw International Airport, and Mandalay International Airport. Those who apply for an electronic visa for Myanmar from India or eVisa from China are able to use a printed copy of the eVisa to gain expedited access to the country through any of the ports of entry in Myanmar.