Getting a visa to be able to travel to Vietnam is a must. With a few exceptions from some citizens of some countries, you might be denied entry without a visa. In fact, most airlines will not allow you to board on a plane without a prearranged visa or approval letter.
The most common way you can get a visa for spending holidays in Vietnam is to apply for a Visa on Arrival from a third-party agency. Take note that this is different from an e-Visa which is issued by a private company. Take note that the Visa on Arrival is only applicable if your point of entry for your Vietnam travel is from the three major international airports namely: Saigon, Hanoi, or Da Nang. If you are going overland from a neighboring country, secure a travel visa from a Vietnamese embassy. Here now are the steps for getting a Visa on Arrival:
1. Apply online
Travel agencies will usually charge around $20 for the online application of your Visa on Arrival. The process usually takes 2-3 days although you can expedite it for a minimal fee. If your stay is longer than 30 days, the visa processing is 7 – 10 working days. On rare occasions, you may be asked to submit a scanned copy of your passport. So give enough for the processing of your visa well ahead of your flight date. You can apply for a visa here.
2. Print your approval letter
Upon approval of your letter, the travel agency will email you an image file of the scanned approval letter which you need to print clearly and legibly. Print two copies just to be on the safe side. Don’t be surprised to see other names on the letter. It’s just normal to see your name on the list.
3. Book your flight
If you have not yet booked your flight for Vietnam tours, do so upon receipt of your visa approval letter. Although the proof of visa is not required when booking flights, you need to show a Vietnamese visa on your passport or the printed approval letter prior to boarding the plane.
4. Get your visa
Upon arriving, proceed to the visa on arrival window to get a visa application form. They will ask for your passport, Visa Approval Letter, and passport photos. Indicate your passport number, date of issue and expiration before giving it to the clerk. Wait for your name to be called and then you will be issued a one-page Vietnam visa sticker insider your passport.
The fee for applying for a Visa on Arrival is now $45 (the new fee took effect in 2013) for the 30-day single entry visa. This is separate from the $20 already paid for the approval letter. Now that you have a visa, you can start enjoying your Vietnam holidays.
Countries with Visa Exemptions
- 30 Days for Free: Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia
- 21 Days for Free: The Philippines
- 15 Days for Free: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Japan, South Korea
- 14 Days for Free: Brunei