How to Get a Vietnam Tourist Visa
So you’ve done it. You have finally booked your tour to one of the most incredible, diverse and stunningly beautiful countries on the planet. Before you start salivating about Vietnamese coffee or googling ‘how do you say thank you in Vietnamese’, you’ll need to get the Vietnam tourist visa. Don’t worry, it’s easy!
Almost everyone requires a visa to enter Vietnam with a few exceptions. Ensure that you check before you start applying. Most foreign visitors can apply for a 1-month single entry or 3-month, 6-month or 12-month multiple entry Tourist Visa. There is also the option to extend your visa once you’re in Vietnam.
We’ve outlined 4 ways to get your Vietnam tourist visa.
1. New Vietnam E-Visa
Vietnam is catching up with the latest technologies and conveniences in the travel world. Their latest and brand-spanking-new conquest is the E-Visa! Starting February 1, 2017, citizens from 40 countries can apply for the e-visa.
Who qualifies for the E-Visa:
Nationals of the following countries are eligible to apply for an eVisa Vietnam: Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Belarus, Brunei, Chile, China (Chinese e-passport holders are not eligible for this scheme), Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea (South), Luxembourg, Myanmar, Mongolia, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Timor-Leste, Uruguay, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America & Venezuela.
Validity: It’s only valid for 30 days and for single-entry use only.
Cost: You will pay only $25USD.
Arrival points: Foreigners who have applied for the E-Visa online can arrive at any of Vietnam’s 8 airports and can also arrive via land at 13 international border crossings. And if you’re cruising, you can enter via 7 ports across Vietnam’s stunning coastline.
How to apply: Go to the Vietnam government immigration website to start the process. (NOTE: the website does not seem to be accepting foreign credit cards, which makes applying online difficult. If you’re on one of our BEFORE Travel Experiences, we handle the entire visa process for you including the fee.
What you need for submission:
- Digital copy of your passport photo
- Digital copy of your passport biographical page
- Processing fee – contact us for visa service pricing
Then you’re done! When you arrive in Vietnam, go straight to the immigration officer with your passport and digital code email and get stamped in. No huge lines, no physical passport photos, no cash payments and best of all, no Vietnam visa that takes up a full page in your passport. Your digital code email serves as your visa.
2. Visa on Arrival
Visa on arrival should be used if you’re not a citizen of one of the 40 countries eligible for the e-visa, and/or you want to apply for more than a 30-day single entry visa. It’s easy, but it’s a multi-step process and you will need to wait in line at the airport to get visa stamping into your passport. If this is for you, here are 4 easy steps to getting your Vietnam Visa on Arrival.
You can only apply for this Visa if you intend to fly into Vietnam. Before you receive your Visa On Arrival (VOA), you must complete an application for a Letter of Approval. This is simply a letter of pre-approval that is required to then gain your visa at the airport. This is not your visa, it’s simply a letter that approves your entrance into Vietnam.
The process of the online application can be started up to six months before your departure date to Vietnam. Ensure that your passport has more than six months validity, from your departure date from Vietnam. Remember: You can only use this option if you are arriving via a major international airport – Hanoi, Danang, Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang.
– Get your visa approval letter online
Grab a cup of coffee. OK that’s not step one, but I guarantee this process will be over in the time it takes you to drink it!
There are a number of agencies that provide you with visa approval letters in advance of your trip. (If you’re on one of our BEFORE Travel Experiences, we’ll handle this for you as part of the package. We handle the registration and the fees.)
Fill in all of your personal details, including your passport information. Make sure that the details you enter and your passport information matches exactly. And also remember that the Vietnamese follow the DD/MM/YYYY format when entering birth dates.
– Pay the visa processing fee
You will be prompted to pay the Visa processing fee. The cost runs approximately $17-25 USD depending on the agency.
– Print your letter of approval (aka invitation letter)
In 3-5 business days, you will receive a Vietnam Visa Letter Of Approval in your nominated email account, as a full colour PDF. You also have the option of receiving via fax (Fax? Seriously? Do people still have them?) Print this off and have it ready to enter Vietnam.
If you’re in a rush (story of my life), the Vietnamese government also provide an express service for the approval letter, at a cost.
Please remember that the approval letter can not be updated or changed if you make a mistake. You need to re-apply from the start. So cross those T’s and dot those I’s.
Last sip of coffee eh? I bet it’s not as good as Vietnamese coffee, but you can make your own mind up very soon!
– Prepare your documents
You need to prepare your airport arrival documents. When you touch down in Vietnam, you still need to get your visa approved (remember that the online application is simply the pre- approval. The letter you printed off is essential, so make sure you have it). You will also need to bring two passport photos that were taken in the last 6 months. These will be used for your Vietnam Visa on arrival. If you forget, you can pay a small fee to get your photo taken at the airport.
You will also need $50 USD for the visa processing fee, also called a stamping fee. This fee will be more if you intend to stay in Vietnam for longer that 6 months. You must pay this in cash and it must be USD, no credit cards will be accepted. You can expect this process to take about 15 minutes.
3. Traditional visa from your local Vietnamese Embassy
If you obtain your Visa from an embassy or consulate, you can enter the country in every mode of transport and via any port. This process takes a little longer than the first two (about 5 business days), however its failsafe and if you’ve got the time, then it’s a great option.
Do some research first, and find out where your local embassy is. You will need to print off a PDF file as your application.
The cost of your visa will vary according to nationality. The biggest advantage of this method is that you don’t need to wait in line for your visa to be approved – you can walk on through immigration like the rock star that you are.
4. Visa Free Entry
According to new visa laws in Vietnam, citizens of the following countries can enter Vietnam without a visa for a stay of up to 15 days:
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
Passports must be valid for at least 6 months and return flight tickets are required and must be presented at arrival.
Now you’re ready. Let’s start packing those bags and dreaming about Vietnam’s tropical beaches, diverse culture, fresh and delectable food and genuine people.
You don’t have to thank us but in case you’re wondering, it’s ‘cảm ơn’ (gauhm uhhn).
Author: Michelle Hyde