What Visas Do Canadians Need When Traveling in Southeast Asia?

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Photo by Clarita
Photo by Clarita

By Manfred and Miu

If you have a Canadian passport and are planning to travel around Southeast Asia, then it’s going to be pretty easy as far as visas are concerned. Southeast Asia visas are fairly easy to come by for Canadians. For most countries in this region you won’t need a visa at all, but can simply turn up and be stamped into the country for various amounts of time, ranging from 14 days to three months.

If you’re planning to visit either Myanmar (Burma) or Vietnam though, you’ll need arrange those visas in advance. Visa rules can change quickly, so be sure to check the current situation before you travel. All costs below are shown in $US.

No Visa Required

You don’t need a visa at all for Brunei (14 days stay permitted), Malaysia (3 months), Philippines (21 days), Singapore (30 days), Thailand (30 days).

Visa On Arrival

A visa on arrival is available for the following countries:

Cambodia – $20 will get you a 30-day stay, and this can be extended for a further 30 days from within the country for around $40-50. Your hotel will be able to arrange this. If you want to stay longer, then get a business visa on arrival ($25), as this can be extended indefinitely. More information can be found in this post: How To Stay In Cambodia Long-Term – Your Visa Options.

Indonesia – $25 for a 30-day visa on arrival.

Laos – $42 for a 30-day visa on arrival. The exact cost depends on current exchange rate. USD are preferred.

Timor-Leste (East Timor) – $30 for a 30-day visa on arrival.

Visas Needed

You will need to arrange visas in advance for both Myanmar (Burma) and Vietnam. It’s also possible to get a visa on arrival for Vietnam, but you first need to apply online for an approval letter. You can only get this if you intend to arrive by air. Visas on arrival to Vietnam are not available at land crossings.

Visa Tips

It’s a good idea to carry a few passport photos with you, as you’ll need these for some of the visas on arrival. Preferred method of payment is usually USD, so always carry some with you. USD are also usually the easiest currency to exchange, especially if you need cash quickly.

Onward Travel Tickets

Most countries in Southeast Asia don’t require proof of onward travel when entering the country, but there is a lot of conflicting information about this. We’ve traveled around most of Southeast Asia and have never been asked for proof. But some people do get asked, and have also been barred from boarding their flight because they didn’t have one.

One exception is Indonesia, where an onward flight is always required. Although we booked one, but weren’t asked for proof.

If traveling to Southeast Asia from Canada, it is more likely that you’ll need proof of your onward flight than if traveling between countries in Southeast Asia. This can be a problem for some people, as there don’t seem to be any hard and fast rules. One traveler may be asked, but the next in line may not be asked. It’s something to be aware of. You should at least be prepared to show that you do have plans to leave the country, even it’s by train or bus.

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