Update: As of February 2017, Vietnam has just initiated a new eVisa program for citizens of 40 countries. Unfortunately, that list does not include Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians or Brits. To compare the eVisa with the usual Visa on Arrival process, CLICK HERE.
Even if you do qualify I urge you to read on below anyway.
Who Needs One?
Vietnam has a bilateral visa exemption agreement with 60 countries and a unilateral agreement with several more which means citizens of these countries can travel to Ho Chi Minh City and the rest of the country without a Vietnam Tourist Visa. Click Here to see which countries are included in these agreements.
Otherwise all tourists require a passport (valid for at least six months) and a tourist visa in order to visit Vietnam. This includes Australians, New Zealanders, Brits, Canadians, Americans and many BUT NOT all Europeans.
Where to get One?
You can obtain the visa yourself by applying to a Vietnamese Embassy/Consulate in your country. Click Here and go to the link on the left hand menu to find the closest one to you.
Another alternative would be to obtain one through a Visa Agency like Visa HQ (see ad below). Just be aware that almost all of these agencies are specific to their own country and don’t process passports from other countries. If they do you are likely to incur rather hefty postage and handling charges. Most travel agents use Visa processing Agencies to process visas for their clients. Depending on where you live this is a convenient but rather expensive way to go. They should, however, be aware of all the Vietnam Tourist Visa Requirements and should be able to assist.
A visa may also be obtained in neighboring countries like Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. All have Vietnamese Embassy’s and most travel agents in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Vientiane and Luang Prabang can arrange it for you in a couple of days for a small fee or even faster if you pay an express fee.
Starting February 2017, there is now a new eVISA available for citizens of 40 countries. eVisas are only available for 1-month tourist visas BUT can be issued at many more border crossings than the Visa on Arrival (See Below). This new visa is very new and there have been reported teething problems.
You can see a comparison of the normal Visa On Arrival and eVisa process HERE.
If you are flying into Vietnam via HCMC, Danang or Hanoi , THE MOST CONVENIENT WAY to obtain your Vietnam Tourist Visa is still On Arrival. See below
Visa on Arrival Process. (VOA)
Most Vietnamese travel agencies can assist with the Vietnam Visa on Arrival process and there are several online agencies that specialize in arranging the required documentation. I have included a link below. Apply at least 10 days before you are arriving or you may have to pay an express fee. Most promise to have it within 2 working days and that has been our experience to date. Still you don’t want to take chances. Note that this option is not available to those arriving via a land border or by sea. The eVisa is however.
The process has 4 steps:
- Fill in an online form with your personal and travel details (you will need to know your arrival details prior to starting this step)
- Confirm the details and pay the service fee
- Obtain your Visa Approval letter via email and print it out. This normally takes about 2 days although Express services are normally available for an extra fee.
- On arrival at the Vietnamese airport, proceed to the Visa on Arrival Counter. Fill out a form and present your Visa Approval Letter, your passport, and two passport photos. On receipt of your passport you will be required to pay the relevant stamping fee in USD. A 1-3 month, single entry Vietnam tourist visa costs $25 at the moment. A 1-3 month multi-entry Tourist Visa costs $50.
This Agency also has a Fast Track Immigration service for $25 so you don’t have to wait in the queue at the airport which can sometimes be quite long.
Insider Tip: Fill out this form-on-arrival-2 before you land in Vietnam. You will need two copies (Only sometimes, but best to be sure). Keep them with your Visa approval letter, your stamping fee and two passport photos and put them somewhere you can access easily when you land.
NB. I enquired and the “Family Members” table is for an emergency contact so put a member of your family who is Not travelling with you.
When you disembark, make a dash for the left-hand line at the VOA office ASAP. Hand everything EXCEPT your money in at the window and then sit down to wait til they call your name (could be your first, second or family name!). Approach the Right-hand window and you’ll be asked to pay your stamping fee (in USD ONLY) and will receive your passport back with the Visa attached. Check the details carefully, e.g.- number of entries, duration of stay, passport number, name etc before you leave the window. Best to sort any problems at that point than try and do it later. You’ll be at least one step ahead of those who have to get the form first, fill it out and then rejoin the line.
For more information on how to get your Vietnam tourist visa Click this link or the advertisement below.
Note: I do not receive any payment for this post (or any others on the site for that matter!). I do receive a small amount of money by allowing advertisements on the site and any purchases made through those links.