British Visa Requirements for Southeast Asia

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Create unforgettable memories while you elevate your online business.

Are you ready to embark on your great Southeast Asian adventure?!

You’re probably not.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have spent 90% of your travel planning scrolling through Instagram to find the best photo ops and watching videos on YouTube. And you are already well into your final 10%; frantically booking flights, searching for visa requirements and trying to remember whether you’re covered from your latest vaccinations.

If you are a United States citizen and y’all find yourself reading about the wrong country, skip over to the other blog post I wrote for Skyscanner; Southeast Asian Visa Requirements for U.S. Citizens. Or you can make yourself a tea, subdue your inner emotions and continue reading this one for the thrills of feeling British.

Us Brits are fortunate enough to hold one of the most accessible passports when it comes to countries we can visit visa-free. However, that doesn’t mean we can pass through border control with ease, frolicking from one country to the next! There’s rules and visa restrictions that we need to take note of before we travel.

Luckily for you, I’ve compiled all of the information you’ll need to know about getting in and out of countries in Southeast Asia.

  • Thailand – visa exempt for up to 30 days
  • Vietnam – visa exempt for up to 15 days
  • Cambodia – visa upon arrival for 30 days
  • Laos – visa upon arrival for 30 days
  • The Philippines – visa exempt for 30 days
  • Singapore – visa exempt for 90 days
  • Malaysia – visa exempt for 3 months
  • Brunei – visa exempt for 90 days
  • Indonesia – visa exempt for up to 30 days
  • Burma (Myanmar) – visa required for up to 28 days
British Visa Requirements for Southeast Asia

A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Before we get started on country-specific visa requirements, take a note of the following requirements that apply to most, if not all immigration policies across Southeast Asia.

Passport Validity

From the date of entry into any country in Southeast Asia, your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months. If you have a passport due to expire within that timeframe, get it sorted before you travel!

If your passport is damaged, or if it has pages missing, there is also a chance that you will be refused entry. So remember to keep it in a safe place when you go jungle-trekking in Indonesia.

Proof of Onward Travel

Some airlines will refuse to board passengers who cannot provide evidence of a departure flight from your destination.

If you are a spontaneous traveller, like me, remember that some airlines offer free cancellations or flexibility within 24 hours of booking. So it is possible to book a flight just before you depart, then cancel your booking upon arrival!

Passport Photos

For visa applications both prior to traveling and upon arrival, you may be asked for passport sized photos that have been taken within the last year.

Keep the local immigration officials happy with your cool efficiency by carrying around around extra passport photos when crossing borders. Visa requirements can change without warning so, when in doubt, bring some extra photos with you!

COUNTRY-SPECIFIC ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Table of Contents

Thailand

Visa exempt for up to 30 days.

British tourists can visit Thailand for 30 days, visa free! However, if you arrive to the border by land, you will only be granted a visa for 15 days.

It is possible that you will be asked for proof of adequate finances for the duration of stay, usually 10,000 Baht per person (~£225). This can be in the form of cash, or a copy of your bank statement. They probably won’t accept cryptocurrency.

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Vietnam

Visa exempt for up to 15 days (inclusive of dates of entry and exit).

You can obtain an e-visa for a maximum stay of 30 days online. The fee for an e-visa is US$25 and it will be processed within 3 working days. I chose to do this recently and it was really straightforward!

If you want to make a second visit within 30 days of leaving Vietnam, you’ll need to get a visa or an e-visa to re-enter the country.

Cambodia

Visa upon arrival for 30 days from date of entry.

For US$30, you can get yourself a tourist visa on arrival at the Phnom Penh or Siem Reap international airports.

It is now standard practice for Cambodian immigration officials at airports to collect electronically scanned image of your fingerprints upon arrival, so don’t be alarmed when you are asked for your fingerprints! You will also need two passport sized photos.

Make sure your passport is stamped at the airport, and keep the departure form safe to avoid penalties on your departure.

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Laos

Visa upon arrival, available at official ports of entry, for up to 30 days.

You can get a visa on arrival for around US$35 or Thai Baht 1,500.00. When you enter Laos, make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport. Not having a legitimate entry stamp could lead to arrest or a large fine.

If you are in the region, you can also enquire about long-stay visas from the Laos Embassies in Bangkok (Thailand) or Hanoi (Vietnam). Alternatively, you can get a visa by contacting the Lao Embassy in London.

It is highly recommended to avoid entry to Laos by boat or ferry, it also illegal and dangerous to swim from Thailand to Laos (just in case anyone was crazy enough to consider it). On a serious note, make sure you enter and exit Laos from the official ports otherwise you will be at risk of fines and even imprisonment.

The Philippines

Visa exempt for up to 30 days.

Unlike our U.S. cousins, we have special privileges when it comes to visiting the Philippines, we can enter without a visa for up to 30 days.

You can also get a tourist visa for stays of up to 59 days from the Philippine Embassy before you travel.

Singapore

Visa exempt for up to 90 days.

A sovereign city-state and island country where you don’t need a visa to enter for stays of up to 90 days! This generous exemption applies to both tourism and business visits.

Malaysia

Visa exempt for 3 months.

Similar to Malaysia’s smaller neighbouring country of Singapore, you can be permitted to visit for up to 3 months visa free!

However, there are a few rules you’ll have to adhere to. If you enter or exit Sabah or Sarawak, you must have your passport with you, even when arriving on domestic flights within Malaysia.

Despite tolerant visa restrictions, immigration authorities will not tolerate foreigners who overstay their welcome. So, make sure you organise your exit plans ahead of time and stick to your plans to avoid any unwanted fines and detention.

Indonesia

Visa exempt for up to 30 days.

There’s no need to prepare a visa for visits to Indonesia of up to 30 days, inclusive of your dates of entry and exit. However, the visa exempt stamp does not allow extensions.

If you want to travel for more than 30 days, you should apply for a visa before you travel, or get one upon arrival for US$35. This type of visa is valid for 30 days, but can also be extended by a further 30 days by visiting an immigration office within Indonesia.

To make things easier, you can now apply for an e-visa online. Well worth it, if you consider spending longer than a month to explore some of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands!

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Brunei

Visa exempt for up to 90 days.

British nationals can enter Brunei for up to 90 days without a visa. Those who overstay can face strict penalties so make sure the entry stamp in your passport indicates the validity of your stay, and pay attention to it.

It is important to respect Brunei’s Islamic customs and social values before and during your stay. You will be subject to local laws and they can differ greatly from those in what we’re used to, so do your research beforehand!

Burma (Myanmar)

Visa required for up to 28 days.

A country in Southeast Asia bordered by India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, and China! You can acquire a visa by applying to the Government of Burma’s e-visa program. You’ll need to obtain an approval letter which will be valid for up to 90 days from the date of issue.

You will be required to display a valid visa at airports, train stations, and even hotels. Remember to keep your visa and your passport on you at all times as security checkpoints are common, especially outside of tourist areas.

British Visa Requirements for Southeast Asia

Are you tired of debating Brexit? Why not travel to Southeast Asia, where you can almost guarantee that no-one care.

I definitely wasn’t prepared when I started throwing myself around the region in worryingly speedy and often costing more than Uber tuk-tuks. It kinda helps to be informed, so I hope I have informed you well.

If you liked this blog post, you might like my Facebook Group.

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Dave Weatherall

Dave Weatherall

On the road since 2014. Living and working from 40+ countries, mostly in Asia. Blogging, building websites, and marketing management. My mission is to show other people, like me, the possibilities of an alternative lifestyle outside of the typical 9-5.

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