Current law requires that all foreigners register at the address where they are staying once they’ve entered Myanmar. If you stay in a hotel, the hotel performs this task for you, but if you wish to stay on your own then this is something you will need to do yourself. You can get a Myanmar friend to help you register without actually going to the office yourself, but however it gets done, you should make sure you stay legal by registering.
In order to register you need to go to your local neighborhood (ya kwet) office. At this office you will need to fill out forms that state your address, who lives with you, how old you are and what your nationality is. You will also need to bring a copy of your rental contract that shows the amount you pay for your accommodation. You also need to get your landlord to sign the form stating that they understand that you are living there.
You will then be required to pay an amount of money that depends on where you live. Although this process should be free, each neighborhood imposes a different fee for foreigners staying there. Some don’t charge anything while others charge up to 50,000 Kyats! Make no mistake about it – this is corruption, but it’s something very difficult to avoid if you really want to live in a specific area. Most neighborhoods will require you to reregister every time you leave the country and return. In other neighborhoods you will be required to register monthly or even weekly.
Registering frequently can create a lot of hassles, so we recommend that you stay in an area that is used to having foreign guests. If you stay in an area where you are the only foreigner, the local neighborhood immigration office may not know how to deal with you.
After you register at your neighborhood office, you will be required to register at the Immigration Office for your Township (which is one step above the neighborhood level). In order to do this you will need to bring the forms that you have filled out at the neighborhood office as well as your rental contract. After you get approved by the Township Immigration Office, the final step is to go to the Yangon Main Immigration Office. The whole process usually takes about three weeks. It can be done on your own if you have some experience in the country, or you can get a member of your staff to take care of the process for you.
Since the new government has taken power, we’ve heard rumors that the registration system will be changed to make it easier for foreigners to stay in Myanmar. While we would wholeheartedly welcome these changes, they have yet to materialize.