Nov 11, 2013

Myanmar Visa Exemption To Be Speeded

Myanmar’s government says it hopes to secure bilateral visa exemption agreements with all ASEAN member countries by the end of this year to enable citizens to enjoy visa-free travel for up to 14 days.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy chief administrator, U Sein Oo, was quoted by local media as saying agreements were needed to enable as many people as possible to attend the Southeast Asian Games that will be held mid-December.
However, with just four weeks to go it will be difficult to reach that goal. The Thai premier is expected to sign a bilateral agreement during her official visit linked to  the opening of the Games.
The country already has vias-free travel privileges with Vietnam.
“The government wants to have visa-free travel for all ASEAN nations in 2014, when Myanmar will chair the 10-nation group,” he said.
Yet some countries are still working on the terms, while Singapore and Brunei have not yet responded to proposals according to reliable sources in Yangon.
Agreements with Laos and Indonesia are already at the stage of signing and could be firmed up by the start of the Games. That would leave agreements with Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines and Cambodia still to negotiate.
The Union Myanmar Travel Association representative, U Naung Naung Han, said visa-free travel would present a substantial business opportunity for both inbound and outbound travel.
On 22 October, the Thai Cabinet approved a draft agreement on visa exemption but it still needs to be signed by the two premiers.
Once the bilateral accord is signed the visa exemption will apply to departures and arrivals at 23 airports in Thailand.
The airports are: Suvarnabhumi; Don Mueang; Chiang Mai; Chiang Rai; Hat Yai; Phuket; Nan; Phitsanulok; Mae Sot; Mae Hong Son; Khon Kaen; Nakhon Ratchasima; Udon Thani; Ubon Ratchathani; Krabi; Trang; Narathiwat; Ranong; Surat Thani; Hua Hin; Samui; Sukhothai; and U-tapao.
The agreement could also be suspended for security and public health reasons by informing the other country at least 15 days in advance. It can be annulled by either country through a notice presented through diplomatic channels at least 60 days in advance.
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