Easiest VISAs for Asian Countries

Questions such as “Do I need a visa for … on a … passport?” or “What’s a Schengen Visa? (scroll to the end of the page for this single visa for multiple countries) or “Do I need a passport to visit …. ?” are asked every day on the internet. The answer to the last is yes, you need a passport and (probably need a visa too) as people cannot travel overseas without a passport or other official travel document.

Many other passport and visa issues are discussed on web sites and forums by people looking for advice about particular visa or travel document requirements.

Nationals or citizens of over 250 countries in the world want to visit other countries. That’s nearly 50,000 possible combinations, making it a vast topic of discussion.

  • China now has a 72-hour (3-day) visa-free entry for tourists at Beijing Airport. Citizens of 45 countries including the US holding third country visas and onward flight tickets can apply for a transit without visa (TWOV). This would allow enough time to visit the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China without a Chinese visa.

US passport holders and citizens should visit our page which lists all the countries Americans can visit without a visa and information for those that require them.

The difference between Passports and Visas

A passport is a booklet issued by the government of your own country of birth or long term residence. It identifies you with your photograph, date of birth and city, date of issue and expiry. It enables you to travel to other countries, but a passport does not give you an automatic right to enter them.

You may need a visum or visa too. By the way, an entry visa has nothing whatsoever to do with a VISA™ credit or debit card, although these can be very useful when travelling abroad!

A travel visa is an entry authorisation stamp or sticker which often fills a whole passport page. Make sure you have enough blank pages left! US citizens can have extra pages added to their passport.

Visas are issued by the governments of countries, usually through their Embassies or Consulates in foreign capital cities. All countries have different requirements for visitors. Many will issue a visa or entry stamp free or for a fee when you arrive at a border crossing or airport.

Others will require application and fee in advance – sometimes even requiring a personal interview at the Embassy, where documents may need to be provided to support the visa application.

This may include proof of employment, bank account, property ownership, sponsorship or personal guarantee by a citizen and more. Most countries do not require this for short holiday or tourist visits, but it depends on both your own nationality and the country or countries you want to travel to.

Multiple Country Visa vs Multiple Entry Visa

Apart from the Schengen Visa for Europe, (see below) multiple country visas are rare, although closely-related countries sometimes allow entry on a single visa. For travel to Asia you may need multiple visas.

However, from 2012 the embassies and consulates of Thailand and Cambodia began issuing a single tourist visa for both countries. See our related blog post.

Single Visa for countries in SE Asia. There was a plan underway for a single visa for visiting ASEAN countries plus China, Japan and South Korea.

However, this seems to be ‘dead in the water’. Instead, a “CLMV Single Visa” was implemented in 2015 and this may now include Thailand (see above). An agreement was signed in 2012 by the four participating countries, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Vietnam.

Myanmar (Burma) allows visas on arrival at Yangon, valid for 28 days. Besides the other ASEAN members, countries include China, Taiwan, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

A multiple-entry visa is one that allows the holder to enter and leave a number of times (possibly unlimited) within the validity period stated on the visa.

Business visas are often multiple entry. A single entry visa can only be used once. If the person leaves the country, they will need a new visa on their return.

Retire-Asia.com focuses mainly on Southeast Asia for travel, living, retiring and earning income including popular SE Asian countries. Click the name of any other country to get TRAVEL information for e.g. Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma (Myanmar), Brunei and East Timor (Timor Leste).

Nearby countries include China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan; further to the north are Mongolia, South Korea, North Korea and Japan. See further down the page about VISAS for these various countries.

If you want to visit or live in another country and earn income while you are there, become a free subscriber by filling in the drop down form or visiting our contact page.

Different visas for different purposes

Visa and entry requirements vary greatly between nations, and may depend on reciprocal diplomatic agreements between two or more countries for their own passport holders or citizens of different countries.

Tourists and visitors from some countries may need to apply in advance for a visa to enter another country in Asia or elsewhere.

Some countries do not require a visa. They may give temporary entry with a free stamp or issue a visa on arrival for a fee to visitors from designated countries. See the country list for US passport holders who can visit many of the world’s 300 countries and territories without a visa.

A Business or retirement visa will need to be applied for using the procedure laid down by each country, and different regulations may apply to passports from different countries too. Some countries like China require a local sponsor to provide a letter of invitation to a business visitor.

Visas can usually be applied for at the nearest embassy or consulate for that country. For example, a British or other country Passport holder can get a visa for Thailand in London, Vientiane in Laos or any Thai Embassy.

A Transit Visa may be issued to allow travellers to spend a limited amount of time in a country while on their way to another, if they have a visa (or free entry) for the next destination country.

To save time and trouble, it’s often better to get visas before you leave home. Applying to the Embassy or Consulate of each country will take time. However it’s possible to use a service that will do all this for you. If you don’t have much time before you leave then use an online visa service.

Visas for work and immigration are handled differently by every country. Some are more difficult than others and sometimes an applicant will have to apply a long time in advance.

Replacing a lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed passport

If you are already travelling overseas you need as soon as possible to contact the nearest consulate or embassy for your own country. In some countries where there is no diplomatic representation, another country’s embassy may offer assistance on your government’s behalf.

Theft should be reported to the police and a copy of the report shown to the embassy as proof. A new passport (or emergency travel document to get you home) can then be issued. The procedure and cost will depend on the nationality of the passport.

US Passports can be replaced quickly, even within 24 hours if required.

Any current visas in your passport will probably have be re-issued or re-applied for at the embassy or consulate of each country. Contact those embassies too, after reporting the loss to your embassy. Travellers to Europe with a single Schengen visa will probably have less difficulty replacing it. See below.

ALWAYS MAKE COPIES of your passport (ID and visa pages) and keep them in different places. If you can, leave your passport in a secure place like a hotel safe and carry a photocopy rather than the original. This will probably satisfy anyone who asks and make less of a problem while you’re out exploring.


In June 2008, the Chinese Government reinstated the need for applicants travelling to China for business purposes to present a Letter of Invitation (LOI) or Visa Notification along with the rest of the application documents when applying for a business visa.

TOURIST VISITORS to China from 45 countries including the USA but not Thailand may apply for a 72-hour (3-day) transit without visa (TWOV) at Beijing Airport only, providing they have a third country visa and onward flight ticket. This would allow enough time to visit the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China without a Chinese visa.

The countries (listed by 2009-11 arrival numbers) are: United States, Canada, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Greece, Brazil, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei and Qatar. Singapore and Brunei are the only ASEAN countries included.


Mongolia requires a visa for citizens of all countries EXCEPT USA (90 days without visa) for tourist or business visits.


As Singapore is an ASEAN member country, entry on arrival is automatically given to nationals of other ASEAN countries. Singapore also gives a certain number of days free entry to passport holders of many countries – even Nigeria.

Apart from African member states of ECOWAS, only Singapore lets Nigerians in without a visa. This may be due in part to illegal Nigerian activities which you can learn more about on our Scams page. More visa information is available on the Singapore Immigration government site.

Foreigners holding passports (* except diplomatic or official) of the following countries need a visa to enter Singapore: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, China (inc. Hong Kong, Macau Travel Permit), CIS states (excl. transit visitors) of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan; Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.


See our Visas for Thailand page for lists of countries and visa requirements. Passport holders of many countries (including other ASEAN member countries) do not need a visa to enter Thailand as a visitor; they receive an entry stamp on arrival for 30 days; this may be extended.

ASEAN and other nationals may be given a 15 day entry stamp. Note that visitors to Thailand and Cambodia can apply for a single visa from either country’s embassy or consulate.

Lao citizens without Passports can cross the border to Thailand for a few days using a one-year Border Pass Book issued in Vientiane and possibly other cities.

Longer periods in Thailand require a Lao Passport (short river crossing visit only) otherwise a Thai tourist visa issued by the Thai Embassy in Vientiane. This will be valid for 60 days and can be extended for a further 30 days.


Visit our Lao Visa page for much more information. Visas are issued by Lao Embassies or Consulates, but most travellers choose the 30 day Lao visa on arrival available for all nationalities at land borders, river crossings and international airports (Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse).

Cost varies between $30 and $42 depending on citizenship. Visas are best paid using US dollars. Thai baht is a more expensive option. There is no longer a 15-day arrival visa, except perhaps for ASEAN country passport holders.

Japanese passport holders no longer require visa for visits to Laos.

ASEAN country passport holders should be given 15-day free entry into Laos. However, apparently this is not always the case. Be prepared to pay, as arguing with an immigration official is not advisable!

Thai citizens without passports can visit Laos for short periods using a Border Pass paper issued in Thailand. Enquire here for about different types of visa for Laos (Lao People’s Democratic Republic).

Singapore Passport Holders: As Singapore is an ASEAN Member, citizens should be given 15 days free entry to the Lao PDR on arrival. For longer stays it would be a good idea to either bring at least US$40 in cash and a photo to get a 30 day visa on arrival at any point of entry. US dollars can be used freely in Lao for purchases.

The Lao Embassy in Singapore (Goldhill Centre, Thomson Road), is efficient and friendly, normally with 30-minute service. On request they will issue either a one or two month visa.

Having a visa already will save time on arrival in Lao because you can go straight to Immigration without waiting 15 minutes (sometimes much more) for a visa on arrival to be issued. See our Lao Visa page for more.


For stays of up to 21 days (three weeks) tourists and business travellers from 145 countries with a passport valid for 6 months beyond the period of stay and a return or onward ticket are given free entry into the Philippines.

Visitors wishing to stay longer than 21 days need a visa. Here is the list from Philippines Foreign Affairs. Enquire here for a visa for the Philippines.

Nationals of the following countries require a visa even if staying less than 7 days: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Belize, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China (PR), CIS, Croatia, Cuba, East Timor, Egypt, Estonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Korea (Dem Rep), Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Nauru, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Sierra Leone, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tonga, Vanuatu and Yemen*.

  • Nationals of these countries must apply for a Temporary Visitor Visa in their country of origin or place of legal residence.


Malaysia gives 30 days entry to citizens of many countries. Malaysia gives 30 days entry to passport holders of many countries. As it is a Member of ASEAN, Malaysia also gives entry on arrival to nationals of other member countries. See below. Enquire here for a visa for Malaysia.


Visa-free entry for up to 30 days is available for passports of these countries:
Brunei, Chile, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

As Indonesia is a Member of ASEAN, it should give at least 15 days on arrival to nationals of other ASEAN countries. However, as Indonesians may be charged for entry into Laos, this could be a reciprocal arrangement. Be prepared to pay.

A 7 day ($10) or 30 day visa on arrival ($25) is available at principal Indonesian ports of entry for visitors from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States; also Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxemburg, Maldives, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. Enquire here for a visa for Indonesia including Bali.

US, Canadian and UK residents can save time and frustration at borders and airports by getting all their visas in advance by online application.


Although Cambodia is an ASEAN Member, only Malaysian, Philippines, Singapore and Laos (NOT Thai), citizens are given free entry. Most other country passports holders are given a 30 day visa on arrival for US$20 plus a $5 ‘processing fee’ at most ports of entry. An online E-visa is also available with a credit card.

Visitors to Cambodia arriving by air at Phnom Penh or Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) can get an E-Visa or visa on arrival for 30 days. Also available at Bavet (Svay Rieng), Moc Bai (Tay Ninh), Cham Yeam (Koh Kong), Hat Leuk (Trat), Poi Pet (Banteay Meanchey) and Klo Leuk (Sakaew), but cost might be higher than $25. Check before travelling. Enquire here for a visa for Cambodia. Tourist visas can be extended for one month, one time only.

Note that tourists visiting Thailand and Cambodia can now apply for a single visa from either country’s embassy or consulate.


Vietnam is an ASEAN Member, therefore reciprocal arrangements should be in effect for other member country passports, although this is not certain. Visitors from all other countries except Scandinavia, Japan and South Korea require a visa.

While a 30 day visa on arrival available at Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City, Da Nang and Hanoi, it is advisable to apply beforehand for your Vietnam Visa online from a reputable agency.


Myanmar (Burma) reinstated visas on arrival at Yangon in June 2012, valid for 28 days. Besides the other ASEAN members, countries include China, Taiwan, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Visa on arrival for tourists costs $40, 70 day business visa $50. Transit visa 24 hours $20.


Brunei Darussalam; Timor Leste. Near SE Asia are China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan; further to the north are Mongolia, South Korea, North Korea and Japan. Beyond that of course is the Russian Federation, some areas of which are considered as being in Asia. Russia requires all visitors to have a visa.


Many readers of this page are citizens of African nations, especially Nigeria, who have a problem in that very few countries let them enter without a visa. Since 2009 this also applies to Laos. An exception is Singapore, but a visa will be needed for the next country to be visited.

Nigerian and other African scammers, drug dealers and couriers, fake or low-grade gemstone peddlers and the like are seen in many SE Asian cities; they may not know that the death penalty is mandatory for anyone caught in some Asian countries with more than a tiny amount of drugs, or convicted of crimes involving the use of firearms.

Amnesty International claims Singapore and China have the highest rate of executions per capita in the world. For normal law-abiding citizens and visitors, Singapore is a great place to visit!


British-born persons applying for a first passport will require a copy of their birth certificate, which can be applied for at a local registry office, or online with a credit card.

The government agency concerned is the General Registration Office (GRO). British Passports have different types of citizenship or nationality status.

As will be seen below a British Citizen does not have the same visa requirements as a British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British Subject, British National Overseas or British Protected Person. British National (Overseas) (BNO) passports were made available for life to Hong Kong citizens registered by 1997. Visa enquiries should be made to the embassy of the country you wish to visit or at the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website.


Holders of Canadian Passports need visas (or visas on arrival) for the following Asian countries: Cambodia, China, Bangladesh, Brunei, Myanmar (Burma), India, Indonesia, Lao PDR (Laos), Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Vietnam. Visit the Canadian Government site for all visa and travel enquiries.

Visitors wishing to travel to any of 25 European countries can apply for a single Schengen Visa. More details at the bottom of this page.


ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Member country passport holders do not need a visa for other ASEAN countries if they are staying 15 days or less. Some visitors are given up to 30 days. The ten ASEAN countries are: Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia (and Bali), Brunei, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Myanmar (Burma).


Thailand is a Member of ASEAN, so the above applies. Thais travelling outside ASEAN member countries (no visa required) will probably require a visa for each country and also a Schengen Visa for Europe. Visa applications may involve sponsorship or other guarantee, personal interview, disclosure of assets such as bank accounts and property ownership, employment and other details.


Apart from the possible need for visas, US citizens first need a valid US passport. They will need a copy of their birth certificate before they can apply for a passport.

There are many countries that US passport holders can enter without applying for a visa. For example, for Thailand, a Visa is not required (free entry stamp issued on arrival for 30 days by air or 14 days by road. For Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea they are given free entry for 90 days.

Paid-for 30-day visa-on-arrival for the Lao PDR, Indonesia (includes Bali), Cambodia, Vietnam. A Visa in advance is required for Myanmar (Burma).

See the full list of countries for US travelers without visas.


Visa not required: Thailand (30 days by air, 14 by road), Singapore (14-30 days), Malaysia (90 days), Hong Kong (180 days), Philippines 21 days.
Visa on arrival: Lao PDR (30 days), Indonesia, inc. Bali (30 days), Cambodia (30 days), Vietnam.
Visa in advance: Myanmar (Burma).

As mentioned near the top of this page, other British Nationality Status passport holders should check whether visa requirements for a country are different from those for British Citizens, or visit the FCO website.


Visa not required for Thailand (30 days), Singapore (14-30 days), Malaysia (90 days), Hong Kong (180 days), Philippines 21 days. Visa on arrival for Lao PDR (30 days), Indonesia, inc. Bali (30 days), Cambodia (30 days), Vietnam. Dutch passports previously required a visa in advance, but are now included on the list for visa on arrival.


Visa not required for Thailand (30 days), Singapore (14-30 days), Malaysia (90 days), Hong Kong (180 days), Philippines 21 days.
Visa on arrival for Lao PDR (30 days), Indonesia, inc. Bali (30 days), Cambodia (30 days), Vietnam.

See above.


Visa not required for Thailand (30 days), Singapore (14-30 days), Malaysia (90 days), Hong Kong (180 days), Philippines 21 days.
Visa on arrival for Lao PDR (30 days), Indonesia, inc. Bali (30 days), Cambodia (30 days), Vietnam. Visa in advance needed for Myanmar (Burma).


Here is the Australian Government site to find visa requirements or locate the embassy nearest you. Intending visitors can also apply to the Australian Electronic Travel Authority in advance for an ETA which is equivalent to a visa, but there is no stamp or label in your passport and there is no need for you to visit an Australian diplomatic office to submit an application. Applications for ETAs can be submitted through travel agents or airlines too.


Whatever your nationality or passport, to save you searching further, visit the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website to enquire about visiting the United Kingdom for any purpose.


Schengen Visa – for travel to 25 countries in Europe

Schengen VisumSchengen Zone countries (single European visa)Note that not all Schengen Treaty countries are European Union members, and a Schengen Visa does not cover all 25 EU countries, but you can travel to many nations on a single visa:

The current “Schengen Zone” includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands (Holland), Norway, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

NOTE: Although Great Britain (UK), Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania are EU members, they remain outside the Schengen area and a separate visa application is required for each.

A passport holder of any country within the area in red will require a Schengen Visa to enter one or more European countries in the blue map above.

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