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6 things you need to know before moving to Myanmar

Myanmar economy is booming. If you decide to work in Myanmar, here are some things you need to know about culture, lifestyle and the people in Myanmar.

1. Education in Myanmar

If you have a long-term plan in Myanmar, education is may be one of the most important factors in your concern. The educational system in Myanmar is largely based on the British system. English is taught as a second language since kindergarten and throughout primary and secondary education. When your children complet the compulsory 5 years of primary school, they may go to middle school, and also can specialize in science or arts during high school.

Besides, after graduated from high school, students can decide to go to Universities in Myanmar or continue with their higher education abroad. Here are some popular Universities in Myanmar: University of Computer Studies, Technological University and Yangon University.

2. Preparing business visa

Business visa - the first thing to prepare before working in Myanmar

Applying for a business visa before entering the country will allow you to work in Myanmar up to 70 days, at your company's rented apartment, and you can also easily open a bank account. In case you want to apply for a multiple entry business visa, you need to prove that you have been in Myanmar on 3 separate business visas previously. This will allow you to stay in the country for up to six months and to apply for a long stay permit in the future.  

3. Find an accommodation in Myanmar

Are you looking for a job in Myanmar? Beside some required documents such as business visa or work permit, you will also have to look for an accommodation. Here are 2 things to consider before making a decision.

RENTAL FEE
Housing options in Myanmar are various with a wide range of rental prices that will suit any expat’s budgetary requirements. You can find a 1 bedroom apartment from $230 to $ 1,030 per month, and a 3 bedroom can cost around $500 to $2,400 per month. Moreover, prices will depend on the location, proximity to the city center and the amenities available nearby.

LIVE IN YANGON OR OTHER CITIES?
The former capital Yangon attracts many international travellers and expats. There are also embassies, diplomatic organizations as well as international schools located in Yangon. On the other hand, the current capital, Naypyidaw is the opposite of Yangon. Government buildings from the old capital were rebuilt here and more infrastructures are in progress.

Meanwhile, the second largest city, Mandalay, remains to be the commercial center of upper Myanmar. It is a diversified culture city with expat populations from China, Thailand, Laos.

There is also one thing you need to focus on. As most signs will be in the local language, you will find it a little difficult to navigate through the city streets. But don't worry because most Burmese can speak English and are very friendly. 

4. Religious custom

Fundamental religious custom you need to know in Myanmar

Living abroad in general is not just about working, it is about exploring. If you want to explore Myanmar, you will need to learn more about the local customs first.

Most Burmese are Buddhists, and while they will not impose their beliefs on expats, they will expect you to pay due respect to their traditional custom. Wear appropriate clothes when visiting religious sites as well as take off your shoes and socks before entering a temple are proofs of respect. Hats and umbrellas also should be removed.

In addition, when talking to a monk, try to have your head lower than his. If a monk is sitting down, you should also be sitting down. Women should not touch a monk or give objects directly to him. In this case, you can place the object on a table or some other surface near the monk instead. 

5. Expat banking in Myanmar

In Myanmar, almost anyone can open a bank account. There are some required documents including a valid passport and business visa with at least 70 days duration, together with a letter from your employer confirming that you are working for them that you need to have. In case you want to open a foreign-currency account, some banks also require two passport photos. If you have all the necessary documents, the process can be done in one hour.

Myanmar kyat and US dollars are the most common currencies but some banks also offer accounts in Euros or Singapore dollars. The advantage with kyat is accessibility, you can make withdrawals or deposits in person, as well as use ATMs. However, foreign currency accounts have more limitations, they cannot be accessed with an ATM card, withdrawals have to be in person. Moreover, not all branches are allowed to handle foreign currencies either. 

6. Apply for driving license in Myanmar

Expats living in Myanmar are advised to hire a driver for the duration of their stay. In case you want to drive by yourself, you may apply for a Myanmar Driving License at the Department of Road Transport and Administration, now based in Naypyidaw.

It takes about one month for the process and only those who possess a long term visa like a business visa can apply for it. Besides, you need to prepare some required document including an application form of concerned embassy, your passport, ID card and if you already had a domestic driving license in your country, you can also bring it together.

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