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Complete Vietnam visa guide

This is a complete Vietnam visa guide that provides the most relevant information to apply for a Vietnam visa, if applicable.

Do I need a visa for Vietnam?
Most travellers to Vietnam are required to apply for an entry visa before arriving in the country. However, there are a few exceptions to this visa rule.

Citizens from certain ASEAN countries are granted short-term entry to Vietnam without applying for the appropriate visa, and several other countries also have a similar arrangement.

Citizens from Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand may visit and stay in Vietnam visa-free for a period of up to 30-days.

A 21-day visa-free stay is possible for citizens of the Philippines, a 15-day visa-free stay is granted to Sweden, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Japan, Finland and Denmark. Also, citizens of Brunei are permitted a stay of up to 14-days without having to obtain Vietnam visa.

Any travellers that are not a citizen of the listed countries such as Australia, Canada and United States must apply for the appropriate Vietnam visa using one of the approved methods.

Also, to benefit from the exemption status it is necessary for travellers to hold a return ticket out of the country, and the passport must have at least 6 months validity remaining and 2 empty pages.


Transit
If you are planning to pass through Vietnam using one of the international airports (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang), you do not need to hold a visa on the understanding you aren’t leaving the international zone of the airport and will be staying in the country less than 24 hours.

E-Visa or Electronic visa for Vietnam
The E-Visa is the latest option to organise a tourist visa for Vietnam and was only introduced in February 2017. This type of visa is practical for single entry only and has a validity period of 30 days. The E-Visa is available via official government websites or trustworthy visa agencies in Vietnam.

This visa is available to up to 40 countries, including: Belarus, United States, Italy, Russia, Philippines, Germany, Korean Republic, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Myanmar, Finland, France, Colombia, China, Denmark, East Timor, Bulgaria, Armenia, Romania, Chile, Spain, Uruguay, Cuba, Ireland, United Kingdom, Japan, Panama, Hungary, Peru, Slovakia, Brunei, Poland, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Greece, Venezuela, and Norway.

Visa on Arrival (VOA)
The Vietnam visa on arrival is a quick, low-cost and convenient option to apply for the travel visa. It is necessary to first organize a “letter of approval” via a local based travel agent or tour operator. Once this is received by email, it is printed out and taken on the flight to Vietnam and used to get the official visa stamp on one of the country’s international airports.

Note: this type of visa is only relevant for tourists planning to enter the country via air, and not land border crossings or sea ports. If it isn’t the intention to arrive in the country at one of the main airports (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang), you are advised to organised a visa in advance via a local embassy.

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Embassy
A standard practice to apply for the visa in advance is to get in contact with a local Vietnamese embassy or consulate. Most embassies give the option to apply for the visa by post to avoid visiting in person.

Documents necessary
The documents necessary to apply for a visa will depend on the particular type of visa (tourist, business, student, etc.) you are looking to arrange. But, the most basic requirements are likely to relate to:

Forming filling: In the process of applying for a Vietnam visa, it is necessary to complete the appropriate forms which are available to download via the different consulates, embassies, or travel agencies

Passport: A valid passport is essential for any travel to Vietnam and should have at least 6 months remaining beyond the validity of the standard or urgent visa to Vietnam.

Letter of invitation: An official letter of invitation is a standard requirement for visas except for the tourist visas. The specific requirements for this letter will vary with the type of visa so it is worth checking the latest rules and regulations to ensure you comply with particular needs. 

Plane ticket: For tourist visas that have a validity of three months or more, you will need to show on arrival in the country that you hold a return ticket out of Vietnam.

online vietnam visa


How long does it take?
In most cased, the Vietnam visa takes in the region of 3 business days to organise once the application form and valid documentation is received. However, there are instances where the visa can take up to 5 business days to arrive.

For the traveller that has left things until the last minute, there is the option to apply for an express service at an extra cost which can shorten the processing time to 1-2 business days.

How much does it cost?
The cost of the standard or urgent Vietnam visa will depend on the particular type and duration.

An idea of the costs: the E-Visa is typically $25, the Visa on arrival has a $6-$15 processing fee charge by the local Vietnam travel agency or tour operator for organising the letter of approval plus a further $25/$50 at the destination airport in Vietnam to complete the visa stamp.

Also, the costs for the visa organised via the embassy can vary significantly with the specific location/country. It is best to get in touch with your local Vietnamese embassy to get the latest costs.

Can I get a visa extension?
The option to extend the tourist visa isn’t always an option and it may be necessary to first leave the country in order to be in a position to organise a new visa. However, the process of extended the business visa is typically more straightforward and involves having your sponsoring company provide an official letter to justify the visa extension.

What happens if my visa expires?
For travellers on the tourist visa that remain in the country beyond the time-frame of the visa, there is the risk of receiving a fine for the extended stay. However, this can also lead to deportation and even banned from re-entering Vietnam for a number of years.

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