The Ministry of Immigration yesterday began accepting applications for single-entry business visas online, according to a senior official.
The e-visa for business applicants will be run concurrently with an existing business visa-on-arrival program, said deputy director of immigration and national registration department U Aung Thiha.
He said it would support the development of Myanmar’s economy by encouraging more businesspeople to visit the country.
Both business visa programs are open to nationals of 51 countries who enter via Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports, he said.
As with the existing system, applicants must have an invitation letter from a Myanmar company that must be registered with the government, and be prepared to show a photograph and proof of identity. Payment is by credit card.
The e-visa costs US$70, $20 more than the business visa-on-arrival.
“We will reply within an hour, but full acceptance will take three working days because we need to approve the required documents. The business e-visa will be valid for 70 days, but can be extended with the agreement of the relevant ministry,” he said.
Since the ministry allowed tourists to apply for e-visas last September, 111,734 have been issued, said U Aung Thiha.
“Now we allow citizens of 100 countries to apply for a tourist e-visa for $50. The service might be expanded depending on survey figures,” he said.
While the changes have been welcomed, the benefits for those using the e-visa are likely to be limited to not having to wait for a visa-on-arrival to be issued at the airport.
“In choosing a business e-visa, therefore, the business traveller will effectively be paying for convenience,” said Pedro Jose F Bernardo, a foreign consulting attorney at Kelvin Chia Yangon.
“Travellers will still need to visit a Myanmar embassy for the issuance of a multiple-entry business visa,” he said.
“Furthermore, how the issuance of a business e-visa will affect applicants of a stay permit will also need to be clarified.”
Under the existing policy, applicants for a stay permit need a multiple-entry business visa from a Myanmar embassy, and eligibility for this visa is conditioned upon the issuance of a number of single-entry business visas.
“We hope that business e-visa issued under this new method will be recognised as satisfying such requirement.”
Source: Myanmar Times