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Vietnam Visa exemption

A Vietnam visa is a must-do requirement for all nationalities travelling to Vietnam except for the short list of citizens eligible for a limited period of visa-free travel. For any traveller that gets to benefit from the Vietnam visa exemption status, it is possible to enter the country with just a return ticket and passport.

However, for travellers that plan to stay in the country beyond the short stay offered by the visa exemption it would be necessary to organise a visa online using the visa on arrival or e-visa method, or the traditional option to get a visa in advance via a local Vietnamese embassy or consulate.


What countries get visa exemption status?
Vietnam offers visa waiver polices to a short list of country's to let their citizens visit and enjoy the delights of Vietnam without needing to get a visa beforehand. Here is the list of countries that presently benefit from the visa exemption policy:

The citizens of Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos get to enjoy a visa-free stay in Vietnam for a period of up to 30 days.

The citizens of the Philippines can visit Vietnam for a period of up to 21 days without needing to organise a visa to Vietnam.

The citizens of the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, South Korea and Japan can benefit from a visa-free period of up to 15 days.

The citizens of Myanmar and Brunei can visit Vietnam for the short stay visa-free for a period of up to 14 days.

The visa exempt period is intended for the single-entry travel only. If planning the Indochina tour with the intention to visit neighbouring countries like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar it would be necessary to apply for the full visa to match the travel itinerary.

Any travellers that are not given the short-term exemption status, such as those from the United States, Canada and Australia, it is a requirement to obtain Vietnam visa using one of the three accepted methods.

Also, the visa exemption policy is updated often with the time-frame of the visa-free travel renewed on an annual basis. For instance, European countries like the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany and Italy have visa-free status until 30 June 2018. So, it is practical to check the latest information before travelling to make sure the visa exemption policy is fully in force at the time you intend to travel.

Staying longer than the visa-free period

Any citizen granted the short-term visa-free travel, but plans to stay longer than the agreed 14-30 days permitted will need to apply for a full visa.

Here are the most appropriate visa options:

The e-visa is easily organised online and practical for tourists travelling for a period of up to 30 days with a tour itinerary limited to single-entry travel. The cost of the Vietnam e-visa is $25 per person and payable using one of the approved methods noted on the website. This payment must be paid at the time of submitting the application form and is non-refundable even in the event of the visa being rejected. Beyond the application form to complete it is also necessary to upload a copy of the passport and a photograph. The processing time for this visa is in the region of 3-5 days and is sent by email which needs to be printed out and taken when you travel.

Visa on arrival
The Vietnam visa on arrival is fast and cost-effective method to apply for the visa and is intended for visitors planning to enter the country via one of the major international airports - Nha Trang, Hanoi, Danang, or Ho Chi Minh City. This type of visa is organised online via a third-party travel agent or tour operator based in the local country. The cost of the visa on arrival varies with the different travel agencies, but the likely cost is in the region of $8-$15 per person. The application process is simply completing an online application form and paying the service fee. After a wait of 2-3 days a letter of approval is received by email which is printed out and taken to Vietnam where is used to get the official visa stamp upon landing.

Embassy visa
The traditional method of applying for a visa at a local Vietnamese embassy or consulate is practical for the traveller with easy access to an embassy, or simply prefers to have everything organised before travelling. This is likely to be the most expensive option to apply for the Vietnam visa and the cost will vary from embassy to embassy. It is best to get in touch with a local Vietnamese embassy before applying to get full details. The embassy visa can take 5-7 days to organise and is arranged in person or by post. Also, a fast-track service is offered by some embassies, but this isn't a standard feature offered by all.

The visa on arrival and embassy visa are the only option for travellers planning to travel in Vietnam for a period of 30 days or more. Also, the multi-entry visa is necessary for travellers that want the flexibility to leave and enter Vietnam as they wish for the period of the visa.

A standard require for all travellers to Vietnam, including those with the visa exempt status is that a valid passport must be held with at least six months remaining from the date arriving in the country. Also, the official visa sticker can take up a full page in the passport, so it is useful to ensure that there is at least one page empty prior to travelling. If either of these conditions is not met, it would be appropriate to apply for a new passport before travelling.

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