Outline of the system
The import licensing system in Lao PDR is maintained generally under Decree No. 180/PM of
7 July 2009 "On Import Licensing Procedures" (Decree No. 180/PM), within the general principles
set-out by Decree No. 114/GoL of 6 April 2011 "On Import and Export of Goods" (Decree
Both automatic and non-automatic import licensing systems operate in Lao PDR. The Ministry of
Industry and Commerce in close consultations with relevant ministries and state agencies defines
the list of goods subject to automatic and non-automatic import licensing systems. This
consultation mechanism is carried out based on general principles set-out by Decree No. 114/GoL.
Defining and supervising the implementation of the policy for import licensing for each type of
goods fall under the responsibility of the ministry supervising such goods. For example, the
Ministry of Health defines and supervises the implementation of the policy for import licensing of
medicines and food. In addition to supervising the implementation of the policy for import
licensing, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce serves as the focal point to inform the public of
the list of goods subject to import licensing requirements in order to facilitate international trade.
The rules and regulations for import licensing procedures are administered in a transparent, fair
and impartial manner.
The list of goods subject to non-automatic licenses mentioned in Annex B of the Notification No. 0076/MOIC.DIMEX, dated 13 January 2012 are the following:
1) gold bars;
2) explosives used in industry; and
3) guns and bullets for training and sports.
Nature of licensing
If Automatic, administrative purpose
If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime
The non-automatic licensing regime is not intended to restrict the quantity or value of imports. The purposes of utilizing non-automatic import licensing procedures are necessary for national security; protection of human, animal or plant life or health; or protection of environment.
Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
The non-automatic licensing regime is not intended to restrict the quantity or value of imports.
The purposes of utilizing non-automatic import licensing procedures are necessary for national
security; protection of human, animal or plant life or health; or protection of environment.
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
The system applies to products originating from which country?
The licensing regime applies to products originating in and coming from all countries.
Expected duration of licensing procedure
In case of non-automatic import licensing expected duration shall be within 30 days on the first-come, first-served basis or not longer than 60 days on the simultaneously basis.
Is the licensing statutorily required?
The licensing system is a statutory requirement of Decree No. 180/PM as implemented by
relevant authorities of the Lao PDR.
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
The legislation does not leave designation of products to be licensed to administrative discretion.
Is it possible for the government to abolish the system without legislative approval?
The licensing system may be abolished without legislative approval.
Eligibility of applicants
Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
All individuals, entities and organizations are eligible to apply for a licence as long as they meet
the specific requirements.
Is there a registration fee?
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
Contact point for information on eligibility
Department of Import and Export, Ministry of Industry and Commerce
Phonexay Road, Saysettha District, P.O. Box: 4107, Vientiane, Lao PDR.
Mr. Vangchai VANG
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
6. Guns and bullets for training and sportive purposes
Permanent Secretary office, Ministry of Public Security
Address: Chanthabouly District, Vientiane, Lao PDR.
Telephone: (+856-21-970089) Fax: (+856-21-970580)
7. For Explosive used in industries
Department of National Defense Industry, Ministry of National Defense
Address: Phonkheng Road, Saisettha District, P.O. Box:, Vientiane, Lao PDR.
Telephone: (+856-21-911035) Fax: (+856-21-710874)
8. For gold bars as internationally recognized as medium of payment
Department of Monetary Policy, Bank of Lao PDR
Address: Chanthabouly District, Vientiane, Lao PDR
Telephone: (+856-21-264590) Fax: (+856-21-263019)
What information is required in applications?
The application for a licence contains the general information regarding the applicant (name,
address, contact details) and product in question (quantity, value, country of origin, point of
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
The following documents have to be annexed to the application for a licence:
- Copy of valid enterprise registration certificate or concession certificate (for applicants
domiciled in Lao PDR);
- Copy of valid business registration certificate issued by the competent authority of the
relevant country (for applicants residing outside of Lao PDR); or
- Copy of Valid ID card or Passport.
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
The applications must be processed within 30 working days.
Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain
There are no limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence
and/or importation may be made.
Issuing the license
Can a licence be granted immediately on request?
Licence cannot be granted immediately on request.
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
Consideration of licence applications is effected by a single administration body.
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
There are no other conditions attached to the issue of a licence.
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
Please refer to Presidential Decree No.003/PPO of 26 December 2012 "On Fees and Service
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
No deposit or advance payment is required in connection with the issue of licenses.
Amount or rate?
Is it refundable?
What is the period of retention?
What is the purpose of this requirement?
Refusal of an application
Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?
Beyond the failure of an applicant to meet standard criteria, a request for import licence may
be refused by the relevant authority.
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
The reasons for refusal of issuing a licence are provided in writing to the applicant.
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
The applicants have the right to appeal against such a refusal in front of the higher authority and/or to seek recourse to the court of the Lao PDR in accordance with the Law No.7/NA of 9 November 2005 "On Handling Petition" to reverse such a refusal.
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
At the time of actual importation, the import licence must be presented to the customs at the
port where the entry takes place.
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
There are no other administrative procedures required prior to importation.
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
An import licence is valid for one year and can be extended not exceeding three months.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
There is no penalty for the non-utilization or a portion of a licence.
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
Import licence is not transferable.
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
Foreign exchange is provided for goods to be imported as agreed between commercial banks