News report | | 05/01/2022 | ±2 minutes reading time

In a statement, the Myanmar government has announced that the border closure due to the coronavirus will be extended until 31 January 2022. No visa applications will be processed until that date.

Border closure has been extended

Like most other countries, Myanmar had also closed its borders after the global outbreak of Covid-19. Although many countries have since then reopened most of their borders, this is still not the case for Myanmar. On 1 January 2022, the Myanmar government announced that the border closure will be extended to 31 January. According to the Myanmar government, this is necessary to guarantee the safety and health of the population. Until 31 January, foreign travellers are not welcome in Myanmar. Only travellers with an urgent reason to travel to Myanmar can apply for an exemption.

Applying for a visa is possible

The Myanmar governmentʼs decision also means that Myanmar visas are not yet granted. An application can be made online as usual, but will then be put on hold. As soon as the borders open and Myanmar starts granting tourist visas again, the application will be processed automatically. The government has not yet announced any changes regarding the online tourist visa. This means that you can stay in the country for a maximum of 28 days with the Myanmar visa. The validity period of the visa is 90 days.

The reopening has been postponed

This is the second time that the date for the reopening of the borders has been postponed. The borders were supposed to open on 30 November 2021, but the date was changed to 31 December. It has now been moved back to 31 January. In early November 2021, the Myanmar government had announced its plans to reopen the country for tourism. Travel agreements with neighbouring countries were already in place and large-scale relaxations were made in the domestic Covid-19 policy. The visa system would also be reactivated, allowing tourists to apply for their visas online. The Myanmar government hopes to reopen the country to tourists in early 2022.

Internal problems

Whether the reopening of the borders will have a significant impact on tourism to the country is questionable. Myanmar is still dealing with widespread instability. Since the early 2021 coup, the military government has been engaged in a violent struggle with local groups demanding the restoration of democracy. In the past, Myanmarʼs border regions were particularly dangerous for tourists, but since the coup, other parts of Myanmar have also seen regular confrontations between the military and resistance groups.

Nevertheless, the Myanmar government hopes to attract tourists to the country with campaigns. Myanmar is a popular holiday destination, especially for travellers from China, and the Myanmar government hopes that this flow of tourists will be resumed as soon as possible. Myanmarʼs already weak economy has suffered greatly from the Covid-19 pandemic and the coup. The tourism sector, one of the most important parts of the economy, has practically stagnated.