Myanmar is aiming at 500,000 visitors through international airports and Pre-arranged visa on arrival (PVOA) is the efforts of Ministry of Immigration, Home affairs and Tourism combined.
When an application arrived (normally at an authorized tour operator) all the details has to be re-typed into the Government Official Form and photos are attached. Then the company licence and official documents (sometimes tax papers) has to attached to each application together with a solemn vow stating all applicants has bought a tourpackage and the company take responsibility of all applicants that they are and will be free from Religious and Political involvement inside the country. This vow is signed by the owner or Managing Director of the company and submit to the authorities.
If any of the travel is caught breaking that vow, the company will be persecuted and maximum punishment will be the denial of Licence. The application was sent to authorities in Nay Pyi Daw, the new capital situated 400 km from all tour companies and Yangon International Airport, checked against the Black List (and the hunch of ) concerned authorities.
After 3 days at 3 different ministries, the decision to approve or disapprove is made and the list of all approved travelers are being typed again and a high-ranking official not lower than a Deputy Minister has to sign the approved list. Then the list is faxed (not email) back to the tourism companies. Tourism companies then contact the respective clients the good news that their “Prearranged Visa On Arrival” is approved attaching the Approved Original Letter (Mostly in Burmese).
Then the travelers can come to Myanmar without a visa stamp in their passport. Most Airlines that come to Myanmar are informed of the “Prearranged Visa On Arrival” and they will take the print out of Approved Original Letter as a token that the passenger has visa approved and let the passenger board the plane. All travelers with PVOA will be met and greeted by the company staff And guide through the arrival check-in process with the immigration. PVOA clients are given priority as their visa is already processed by the immigration.
Tour companies may charge a fee ranging from 75 to 135 US$ for their services depending on how difficult they have to do it. Experience shows that travelers who provide the tour companies their travel plans and accommodation which can be checked by their names in the passport are easiest to get the PVOA. Furthermore they should refrain from meeting opposition figures, making anti-government movements and involve in religious matters that can incite unrest.
In May, 2010
Notice are seen at some Myanmar Embassies abroad that Visa On Arrival is available for all traveler at Yangon and Mandalay Airport. With this message, Visa on Arrival counters are set up at the international airports and start processing of true Visa on Arrival. Myanmar Authority abruptly suspended Visa on Arrival at Yangon and Mandalay International Airports with effect from 1st September 2010 (Wednesday)… after 4 months of Visa on arrival.
The reason is that Authority will review outcomes of 4-month-tried-Visa-On-Arrival for Myanmar and then they will re-consider to issue real visa on arrival at Yangon Airport until further notice. Until now, no further information is available whether the true visa on arrival will be granted or not.