Vietnam Visa: the Essential Guide for Travelers to Viet Nam

Posted By Maeve Nolan / Get Your Visa, Halong Bay, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam / No Comments


We’re so glad you’re planning a trip to Vietnam! We highly recommend visiting this amazing country. But because Vietnam has only 24 visa-exempt countries, most visitors require a Vietnam Visa to enter the country. 

We’ll help you understand all the required formalities here.

Traveling to Vietnam

Vietnam—a beautiful country with more than 3,000 kilometers of coastline, jagged limestone islands, lush rice fields and a resilient people—has undergone massive economic and political reform in the past 30 years.

Since 1986, the country has rebounded from a war-torn past under the reform policies known as “Doi Moi.”

Today, Vietnam has a thriving economy and welcomes visitors with open arms. The country also offers a wide selection of world-class hotels, restaurants, beach destinations and attractions.

Meet locals with your Vietnam Visa and bike in the rice fields

A great way to begin planning your Vietnam trip is to check out our Best Time to Visit Vietnam blog post. Or, for a great travel itinerary that combines all of Vietnam’s highlights with total comfort is our Luxury Vietnam Unveiled tour.

However, before any trip, you should familiarize yourself with Vietnam’s visa policies. The country gives only 24 countries a “visa-exempt” status. If you are national of one of these countries, you do not to acquire a visa ahead of time to enter the country for short-term stays.

Here’s a complete list of visa-free countries and the max duration of stay for each.

Please note that this list is subject to administrative changes. To get the latest updated information, please contact our Travel Specialists
Belarus – 15 daysBrunei – 14 daysCambodia  – 30 daysDenmark  – 15 days
Finland – 15 daysFrance  – 15 daysGermany  – 15 daysIndonesia  – 30 days
Italy  – 15 daysJapan  – 15 daysKazakhstan  – 30 daysSouth Korea  – 15 days
Kyrgystan  – 30 daysLaos  – 30 daysMalaysia  – 30 daysMyanmar  – 14 days
Norway  – 15 daysPhilippines  – 21 daysRussia  – 15 daysSingapore  – 30 days
Spain  – 15 daysSweden  – 15 daysThailand  – 30 daysUnited Kingdom  – 15 days

Vietnam visa: a Traveler looks at the sea bay. Vietnam

All other nationals will have to apply for a Vietnam visa before they enter the country. To learn how, read on!

Types and issuance of Vietnam visas

Vietnam’s visa types are based on length of stay, rather than purpose of travel.

So if you’re planning a short-term stay, whether you’re on business or holiday you’ll apply for a 1- or 3-month visa.

These can be obtained in person at Vietnamese embassies or consulates. Some embassies or consulates offer mail-in options. The process is straightforward and hassle-free if you plan well enough in advance!

If you are traveling to Vietnam by air, another option is the Vietnam “pre-arranged” visa. Although this is also known as a “visa on arrival”, it’s a bit more complicated and requires that you make visa arrangements prior to your arrival.

Here’s how works the “pre-arranged” visa

Complete the Vietnam visa application form online and pay a service fee to the agent who is arranging your paperwork.

In 2 or 3 working days, you’ll receive a letter of approval from the Vietnam Immigration Department saying that you are allowed to get your passport stamped with a visa on arrival at one of these 4 international airports: Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, or Nha Trang.

At the airport, give the immigration officer 1) your letter of approval, 2) two passport photos, 3) an entry and exit form that will be emailed to you, and 4) a stamping fee ($45 for a single entry 1-month visa; $65 for a 1-month multiple entry visa; and $95 for a 3-month multiple entry visa).

There’s no doubt this option is more expensive, and it requires a third-party agent to make arrangements.

Although this might be more convenient for some, we highly recommend going through official embassy channels, as it is cheaper and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your visa is already right there in your passport.

Tourist visa application

If you’re planning to go to Vietnam for tourism, you can apply for a single or multiple entry visa that is good for 1 month or 3 months. All visa applications require a passport that is good for at least 6 months, along with a passport photo, a completed application form and the visa fee.

Here’s an insider’s tip.

For backpackers and those who are concerned about budget, we recommend applying for your visa at a Vietnamese embassy or consulate abroad rather than in your home country. Visa fees vary widely depending on the location of the embassy. The cost of a visa at the consulate in Bangkok, for example, is $25—much cheaper than $45 or $65 in Perth, Australia!

Electronic Visa Application

Starting on February 1, 2017, 40 foreign tourists can apply for 30-day single-entry e-visa online and pay for them via bank transfer. The great thing about this is its convenience—no letter of invitation is necessary!

You can apply for a e-visa online through the electronic portal of the immigration services which  are: www.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn (in Vietnamese) or www.immigration.gov.vn (in English) instead of coming to the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate abroad.

These above 2 websites may not be accessible occasionally due to system glitch. In such case, please proceed via https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn

The applicant for the electronic visas need to access to the mentioned website, open the information form, then upload the photo and passport ID page.

To receive the electronic code and proceed to the payment. Fees will be 25 USD/person and will be paid directly to the specified account.

Within 3 working days after receiving sufficient information and fees, the Immigration service will consider and respond to the request.

The applicant should use the electronic code to access and check the result. If the visa is accepted, the applicant should print the document (form No 2) and show it when arriving in Vietnam.

As below is the list of the 40 selected countries which can apply the electronic visas:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Ireland
  • Poland
  • Belarus
  • Bulgaria
  • Bruney
  • South Korea
  • Germany
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Cuba
  • Denmark
  • Timor Leste
  • USA
  • Hungary
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Kazakhstan
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • Luxembourg
  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Mongolia
  • Japan
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Finland
  • France
  • Philippines
  • Romania
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • China
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Norway
  • Slovakia

*Note: Australia, New Zealand and Canada have been left of this list

How to apply for a Vietnam visa from Bangkok, Thailand

If you goes by Bangkok during your travel, you can apply for a Vietnam visa in person at the Vietnamese consulate.

Vietnamese Embassy: get your vietnam visa in Bangkok

Requirements

You must have at least one blank page in your passport. Your passport should also be good for at least another 6 months.

Documents

A visa application form, a copy of your passport and two passport photos.

Fees

US$25 for a single entry visa (paid in cash in Thai baht) or $50 for a multiple-entry visa.
Validity: The validity of your visa begins on the date of arrival stated on your visa application form, not on the day of application or issue.

Period of stay

30 days or 90 days

Extension of stay

If your current visa is good for 1 month, you can extend your stay for a further 1 month. If your visa is good for 3 months, you may be able to extend your stay for a further 3 months. You will have to visit an Immigration Office in Vietnam several days before your visa expires. We recommend going a week in advance.

Insider’s Tips

  • Arrive early in the morning. Tourist visa application submissions are only accepted from the hours of 9:00-11:30 and 14:00-16:00. However, because lines can be long, it’s good to arrive even before doors open at 9:00.
  • Dress appropriately. Try not to show too much bare skin. Consulate officers are more likely to be helpful if you look respectful and responsible.
  • Do not trust intermediaries. It’s a fairly simple process, and it’s best to apply for the visa yourself. Third-party intermediaries may charge you much more for their service.

Location of the Vietnam Embassy and Consulate in Bangkok

We recommend most travelers get a visa in their home country.

How to apply for a Vietnam Visa from the USA

Vietnam has passed a new law that pertains to US nationals: a 1-year multiple-entry visa has replaced all other types of visas. Now US passport holders will receive a 1-year visa, regardless of the length of their stay.

You can apply for a visa to Vietnam in person or by mail at any Vietnamese consulate or embassy in the US, or you can apply for a “visa on arrival” (VOA).

For a VOA, you’ll need a “Visa on Arrival Pre-Approval Letter” from Vietnam’s Immigration Department, and your passport will be stamped at the point of entry. This new visa costs US$135, which must be paid in cash (in US dollars) to the immigration official who stamps you in.

Requirements

A passport valid for at least 1 month after the visa exit date with at least one blank page. To apply for a “Visa on Arrival Pre-Approval Letter,” contact a third-party visa agent.

Documents

A completed visa application form and a passport photo. Fill out the application form online and print it to bring or mail to the embassy. The embassy requests that you only used the download form when the online form is malfunctioning.

Fees

US$135 for the visa on arrival option, or various fees depending on the location of the embassy or consulate at which you apply. Please contact your closest consulate for fee information.

Validity

The validity of your visa begins on the date of arrival stated on your visa application form, not on the day of application or issue. You will have to exit and enter the country every 90 days.

Period of stay

1 year

Extension of stay

Currently, you cannot extend a 1-year visa. You will have to exit the country and get a new visa. But visa laws often change in Vietnam, so keep checking for updates.

There are 3 Vietnam consulates and 1 embassy in the US:

  • Houston: 5251 Westheimer Rd #1100, Houston, TX 77056
  • New York: 866 United Nations Plaza #428, New York, NY 10017
  • San Francisco: 1700 California St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
  • Washington, D.C.: 1233 20th St NW #400, Washington, DC 20036, USA (Embassy)

How to apply for a Vietnam visa from Australia

As an Australian national, you are visa-exempt. You don’t need to apply for a visa for a single-entry stay shorter than 30 days. But if you’d like to stay longer, or if you want multiple entries, you must apply for a visa.

Requirements

A passport valid for at least another 6 months with at least one blank page.

Documents

A completed visa application form, your itinerary, and one passport photo.

Fees

US$45 for a single-entry visa, $65 for 1-month multiple-entry visa, and $95 for a 3-month multiple-entry visa.

Validity

The validity of your visa begins on the date of arrival stated on your visa application form, not on the day of application or issue.

Period of stay

30 days or 90 days

Extension of stay

If your current visa is good for 1 month, you can extend your stay for a further 1 month. If your visa is good for 3 months, you may be able to extend your stay for a further 3 months. You will have to visit an Immigration Office in Vietnam several days before your visa expires. We recommend going a week in advance.

There is one Vietnam embassy and two consulates in Australia:

  • Edgecliff: 205/203-233 New South Head Rd, Edgecliff NSW 2027
  • O’Malley: 6 Timbarra Crescent, O’Malley, ACT, 2606 (Embassy)
  • Perth: 8/16 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000

How to apply for a Vietnam visa from the UK

If you are a UK national, we have some good news: Until 30 June 2017, you are visa-exempt for single-entry stays of 15 days or shorter.

This is subject to change, however, after 30 June 2017, so keep a close eye on announcements on the embassy website. If you’d like to stay in Vietnam for longer than 15 days, or if you’d like multiple entries, you must apply for a visa.

Requirements

A passport valid for at least another 6 months with at least one blank page. You must arrive to drop off or pick up your passport during the consular services hours of 9:30–12:30.

The embassy encourages using the mail-in option to avoid long queues. For mail in, be sure to send your documents and a self-addressed envelope via Royal Mail Special Delivery/Registered post to postal address:

Embassy of Viet Nam (Consular Section)
12-14 Victoria Road, London W8 5RD

Documents

A completed visa application form and a passport photo. Fill out the application form online and print it to bring or mail to the embassy. The embassy requests that you only used the download form when the online form is malfunctioning.

Fees and payment

Because fees vary according to your length of stay, you’ll have to email the embassy at [email protected] for fee information. To get a quick answer, write “Vietnam Visa fee enquiry – Your surname” in the email subject line. Include your length of stay and number of entries in your email.

You can make payments by postal order or cheque, made out to “Embassy of Viet Nam”. Fees must be paid only in British pounds sterling.

Your full name, passport number and telephone number must be written on the back of the payment.

Validity

The validity of your visa begins on the date of arrival stated on your visa application form, not on the day of application or issue.

Period of stay

30 days or 90 days

Extension of stay

If your current visa is good for 1 month, you can extend your stay for a further 1 month. If your visa is good for 3 months, you may be able to extend your stay for a further 3 months. You will have to visit an Immigration Office in Vietnam several days before your visa expires. We recommend going a week in advance.

There is one Vietnam embassy and no consulates in the UK:

Vietnamese Embassy, 12-14 Victoria Rd, Kensington, London W8 5RD, UK

How to apply for a Vietnam Visa from Canada

Canadian nationals do not enjoy visa-free status in Vietnam. You must apply for a visa before your visit.

Requirements

You can apply for your visa through email, in person, or through the mail. For email, you’ll need to scan an image of your passport that’s valid for at least another 6 months with at least one blank page.

Documents

A completed visa application form and a passport photo. Fill out the application form online and print it to bring or mail to the embassy. If you cannot complete the online form, you must pay an additional US$10 fee to fill out the download form.

Fees

Visa fees vary according to the length of stay and on the visa type. Contact a visa officer for more information on fees. All fees must be paid in US$ cash, US$ money order, or US$ bank draft made out to “The Embassy of Vietnam.”

Validity

The validity of your visa begins on the date of arrival stated on your visa application form, not on the day of application or issue.

Period of stay

30 days or 90 days

Extension of stay

If your current visa is good for 1 month, you can extend your stay for a further 1 month. If your visa is good for 3 months, you may be able to extend your stay for a further 3 months. You will have to visit an Immigration Office in Vietnam several days before your visa expires. We recommend going a week in advance.

Vietnam has one embassy and one consulate in Canada:

  • Ottawa: Vietnamese Embassy, 55 MacKay St, Ottawa, ON K1M 2B2
  • Vancouver: Vietnamese Consulate-General, 800-605 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC V6B5J3

If you’ve had experience applying for a Vietnam visa and you have some tips to share, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your input!

WE CAN HELP YOU VISIT VIETNAM

Our locally based Travel Specialists will be happy to give you more information on a tour around Vietnam. If you’re ready to start planning your holiday in Vietnam, contact us and we’ll help you build the perfect itinerary.

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