Guidance

Living in Myanmar (Burma)

Advice for British people living in Myanmar, 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 Myanmar can and cannot do for British nationals. This information supplements the travel advice for Myanmar.

Health

Medical Care

You are strongly advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance before travelling to Myanmar. You will have to pay for health treatment that you receive in Myanmar. 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 Myanmar, 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 Myanmar and should apply at the nearest Myanmar Embassy or Consulate well in advance of travelling. For more information about entry requirements, contact the Myanmar Embassy. You must ensure that your passport has at least six months validity on entering Myanmar.

Foreigners residing in Myanmar for more than 90 days have to present their Foreigner’s Registration Card (FRC).

Rent of an apartment or home by someone in Myanmar on a tourist visa is illegal – tourists must stay in a registered hotel, guest house or resort.

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into Myanmar. However, ETDs are accepted for exit from Myanmar. British Nationals leaving Myanmar on an ETD should get an exit visa from the local Immigration Department at Pansodan Street in Yangon. Long term visa enquiries can also be made at local Immigration Department at Pansodan Street in Yangon.

Visa overstay

Do not overstay beyond the limit of your visa. If you overstay you will automatically be fined for each day you remain in Myanmar beyond the date stamped in your passport.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not permitted in Myanmar.

Driving licences and vehicles

You cannot use a UK licence or an International Driving Permit to drive in Myanmar. You must apply for a Myanmar Driving Licence at the Department for Road Transport and Administration in Yangon. To be issued with a local driver’s permit you must apply with evidence of your overseas documents and pay the fee.

It’s illegal to leave the scene of an accident. A driver involved in an accident with a pedestrian is always considered to be at fault, regardless of the circumstances, and is likely to be detained. Drivers involved in an accident with another vehicle are usually detained if there are injuries or casualties. Legal proceedings to resolve traffic matters can be lengthy, and can have implications for a person’s visa status. Financial settlements are often expected at the time of the accident. You could be personally responsible for paying damage, loss or costs associated with injuries to others or damaged vehicles. The Embassy can’t help you negotiate, but can provide a list of lawyers who can represent you.

Finance

There are no international banks in Myanmar. 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. These and other local customs are explained on this website run by the Myanmar government and Myanmar Tourist Federation.

Under Myanmar law, insulting religion is a prosecutable offence. Insulting religion is a broad term, and can include any disrespectful depiction or image (including tattoos) of Buddha or other religious representation, or wearing any tattoo of Buddha anywhere below the waist.

Penalties for drug trafficking range from a minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and can include the death penalty.

Sexual abuse against children is a serious crime. The UK and Myanmar authorities are committed to combating travelling child sex offenders. Those who commit sex offences against children abroad can also be prosecuted in the UK.

Myanmar is a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Over 800 species of animals and plants are banned from international trade and a further 30,000 are strictly controlled by CITES and EU legislation. You should consider the restrictions on the export of endangered species under CITES when deciding whether to buy exotic souvenirs, including those made from turtles.

Homosexuality and Myanmar law

Homosexuality is technically illegal in Myanmar, although these laws are rarely enforced in practice. These laws can carry punishments of up to life imprisonment and apply equally to men and women. There have been reports of police using threats of prosecution to extort bribes and allegations of arbitrary arrest and detention, although these have primarily been reported by Myanmar nationals.

LGBT people are rarely open about their sexuality or gender identity publicly, and LGBT communities are more likely tolerated than accepted within Myanmar society. There have nonetheless been small pride festivals that have taken place in recent years. Public displays of affection, whether heterosexual or LGBT are frowned upon in Myanmar’s conservative culture.

International organisations have reported high rates of HIV prevalence within the LGBT community in Myanmar. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Adopting a child

Foreigners are not allowed to adopt Myanmar children under Myanmar law.

http://tourism.gov.mm/publications/tourism-statistics/

http://www.myanmarvisa.com/

https://www.myanmar-responsiblebusiness.org/

Disclaimer

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.

Published 17 February 2014
Last updated 11 April 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated information for entry and residence requirements, driving licences and vehicles, homosexuality and Burmese Law and social ethics and traditions in Burma.
  2. First published.