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What to Know Before Choosing the Vietnam Embassy Visa

Before you start your fascinating trip to Vietnam to see its stunning landscape, friendly people, wonderful culture, and popular tourist attractions like the limestone cliffs of Halong Bay, you will need to organise the appropriate entry visa.

Let's first take a look to see who does and who doesn't need to organise a Vietnam visa.

What to Know Before Choosing the Vietnam Embassy Visa

Do you need a visa for Vietnam?
Citizens from a short list of countries are permitted to enter Vietnam for a limited period, which ranges from 14-30 days. Any stays longer than the exemption period, though, and travellers will need to arrange a full Vietnam visa like any other visitor. 

The exact requirements for visa entry can vary by country and the rules often change so using our Vietnam visa guide and checking the latest guidelines is a useful step. If you are a citizen of the United States, Canada or Australia you will need to arrange a visa.

See the list below before starting the process of applying for a Vietnam embassy visa

•    Brunei and Myanmar get a visa-free stay of up to 14 days
•    Belarus, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France, Russia, Germany, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Japan, Sweden and United Kingdom get a visa-free stay of up to 15 days
•    Philippines get a visa-free stay of up to 21 days
•    Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand get a visa-free stay of up to 30 days

So, do you need to organise a visa for your trip to Vietnam?

How to get a Vietnam visa?
For tourists planning to visit Vietnam there is a choice of using one of three application methods to obtain a Vietnam visa. Firstly, there is the traditional method of applying for a visa at a local Vietnamese embassy in your home country. Additionally, there are the online options which include the Vietnam visa on arrival method or the recently introduced Vietnam e-visa.

Let's take a closer look at organising the Vietnam visa via an embassy or consulate:

Vietnam embassy visa
For any travellers with a local Vietnamese embassy or consulate you can easily organise a visa beforehand. Also, it doesn't matter if you visit an embassy or consulate because both are able to issue the full visa in advance.

The majority of Vietnamese embassies make it possible to complete the visa application by post or in person. You will need to put together the necessary documentation which typically includes the downloaded application form, the original passport, and 2 passport sized photos. The processing time is likely to be in the region of 5-7 days.

Also, it may be necessary to include a prepaid, pre-addressed envelope for the paperwork to be returned with the visa once approved.

The process of applying for this visa in advance is pretty much the same whether you plan to apply by post or in person. The application form can be completed online and printed out to send or deliver by hand, or alternatively, print out a PDF version and complete by hand. This type of visa application cannot be submitted online.

Any of the information requested on the application form should be easy to complete, but it can help to have the passport nearby to help with completing certain sections of the form.

The type of information requested is split between personal information (name, date of birth, nationality, address, etc.), passport information (passport number, type, date of issue/expiry, etc.), and visa information (entry date, visa validity, exit date, etc.)

•    You are able to travel in the knowledge that everything is organised beforehand
•    You avoid the need to queue at the visa on arrival counter when you get to the airport

•    You will certainly pay more for this visa compared to the Vietnam visa on arrival
•    You have to send off your original passport in the post which has the risk of getting lost
•    You have less flexibility in payment options with not all embassies accepting credit cards

Who benefits from applying for this visa?
The Vietnam visa via a local Vietnamese embassy is a good option for those travellers that are still in their home country, and still have a decent amount of time left before the start date of the trip. Even though the cost of this visa is a little bit more than the alternatives it does give that extra piece of mind in knowing that everything is organised and you are fully set before leaving for the trip to Vietnam.

What is the cost?
The cost of the Vietnam visa when applying through an embassy will vary with the type of visa and the country location of the embassy. The cost will vary based on things like applying for a single-entry visa or a multi-entry visa, and whether it is for a one month or three month stay.

It is practical to get in touch with the relevant Vietnamese embassy that you plan to visit to get a good idea of the likely costs. The fees often change so most embassies will ask that you call directly to find out the latest fees.

How long does it take?
The processing time for this type of visa will vary with the different embassies and consulates, but in most cases it will be less than 7 days.

If planning to apply for the visa to Vietnam via a local embassy you want to make sure to start the application process at least two weeks before travelling in case there are any unexpected delays. It is possible to apply for the visa in advance up to 6 months prior to your intended arrival date in Vietnam.

While it isn't a standard service offered by every embassy, there are some that offer an expedited processing service for next-day or same-day delivery. Also, the faster the application process the more expensive it will be to arrange the visa.

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