Living in Burma
Advice for British people living in Burma, including information on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.
We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what the British Embassy in Burma can and cannot do for British nationals. This information supplements the travel advice for Burma.
You are strongly advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance before travelling to Burma. You will have to pay for health treatment that you receive in Burma. Medical fees can be expensive. We cannot pay for your medical treatment, but we can give you information about transferring money from friends or family in the UK. It is common for residents of Burma, both local and expat, to choose to go to Bangkok for medical treatment.
Entry and residence requirements
If you are a British citizen, you require a visa to enter Burma and should apply at the nearest Burmese Embassy or Consulate well in advance of travelling. For more information about entry requirements, contact the Burmese Embassy. You must ensure that your passport has at least six months validity on entering Burma.
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into Burma. However, ETDs are accepted for exit from Burma. British Nationals leaving Burma on an ETD should get an exit visa from the local Immigration Department at Pansodan Street in Rangoon. Long term visa enquiries can also be made at local Immigration Department at Pansodan Street in Rangoon.
Do not overstay beyond the limit of your visa. If you overstay you will automatically be fined for each day you remain in Burma beyond the date stamped in your passport.
Dual citizenship is not permitted in Burma.
Driving licences and vehicles
UK licences and International Driving Permits cannot be used in Burma. You must apply for a Burmese driving licence at the Department for Road Transport and Administration in Rangoon.
The contact details and link of the above department is:
U San Yu District Officer Department of Road Transport Administration (Myinthar ) Rangoon http://www.myanmarrtad.com
Overland travel can be hazardous, particularly in the rainy season (May to October). Roads can become impassable and bridges damaged. Travel by road between many areas outside the key destinations of Rangoon, Mandalay, Bago and Irrawaddy regions is restricted. Check with your tour operator or the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism before travelling.
Under Burmese law, the driver of a car involved in an accident with a pedestrian is always at fault. Many vehicles, including taxis, are in a poor mechanical state. Although Burma drives on the right, the majority of cars are right hand drive, which can make driving hazardous.
Many buses and taxis in Burma run on compressed natural gas. There have been reports of injuries to passengers caused by exploding gas cylinders.
There are no international banks in Burma. There are ATMs which will allow you to withdraw money in local currency by using foreign debit or credit cards with a fee (MMK 5000/- = US$ 5.00). Some hotels, travel agencies and restaurants accept payments by credit cards. Western Union operate for inward transfer of money via local banks. You will require US Dollars, in pristine condition, to fund your stay. There is an official exchange rate available through authorised money exchange counters to exchange US Dollars into Kyats. Because of concerns over counterfeit money, US Dollars with the letters AB and CB at the start of the serial number (top left-hand corner of the note) are not accepted. Notes with pen marks, folds or tears are also not accepted.
Social ethics and traditions
Respect religious customs when visiting Buddhist religious sites. Shorts and sleeveless tops will cause offence. You should remove shoes and socks before entering a pagoda or monastery.
Homosexuality and Burmese Law
Homosexuality is technically illegal in Burma, although these laws are rarely enforced in practice. In June 2007, a European national was sentenced to 7 years in prison for committing homosexual acts
Adopting a child
Foreigners are not allowed to adopt Burmese children under Burmese law.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.