Laos Announces Criteria for Honorary Citizenship to Foreign Nationals

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Hundreds of foreigners stranded in Laos

The government of Laos has issued the eligibility requirements for honorary citizenship and special privileges to foreign nationals.

A recent decree No.14 issued by the government states that foreign nationals who are granted honorary citizenship are exempt from visa requirements for exiting and entering Laos and can choose to reside in the country permanently.

They are also eligible to purchase land on a state-owned property for a specified period and lease both state and privately-owned land.

Foreign national applicants must meet several criteria to receive honorary Lao citizenship.

Applicants be at least 18 years old, abide by the Lao constitution and laws, have never been imprisoned for an intentional crime, and are in good health without any history of illegal drug use or conviction.

Prominent businessmen are eligible to apply if they have donated at least USD 500,000 towards the country’s socio-economic development as well as brought in USD 1 million in foreign investment to Laos before applying.

Professional qualifications or expertise equivalent to a doctorate or professor level, in addition to exceptional abilities, will also be preferred in applications for honorary citizenship which can be submitted for consideration to the Ministry of Justice through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a Lao representative mission in the applicant’s home country.

Honorary citizens would be prohibited from interfering and threatening government officials, breaking the law, bribing and receiving bribes, and participating in illegal political movements.

The Ministry of Justice is required to review the application within five business days and evaluate the application for 30 days before forwarding it to the government for further review.

This new policy has been introduced to recognize the outstanding contribution that foreigners have made to socio-economic development in Laos.