So you were thinking of visiting Vietnam for a long time and you finally decided to explore this stunning country? There’s one hassle before going there – a visa process and administration.
Yeah, we know, it sounds very boring, but you can’t avoid it!
Luckily for us, travelers, entering Vietnam is a very easy and straightforward process as they have an e-visa program that works quite well for travelers all over the world.
It’s good to know that the process itself is very cheap and it won’t take you much time to get the proper supporting papers for your visa.
In this article, we’re going to provide you with all the information on getting Vietnam tourist visa before flying to country, extending, renewing and doing an infamous visa run!
Types of Visa You Can Get For Vietnam
Depending on the purpose of your trip, there are few options when it comes to visa. Usually, people get a tourist visa and the information in this article is mainly focused on a tourist visa.
What if you plan to work in Vietnam? You definitely need to grant a business visa and obtain a work permit.
For travelers who’re traveling to another country through Vietnam, the best way to spend some quality time in the country is by getting a transit visa.
We’re going to cover all types of visa you can get and the options to extend your time in the country if you really like your time here!
A Few Things About Vietnam Tourist Visa
A tourist visa is the most issued visa in Vietnam and the numbers of visa issued are climbing up on a fast pace!
The process of getting a tourist visa is very straightforward, fast and it won’t cost you a fortune.
Before we dig into the details, we should mention lucky countries that are eligible for a visa exemption. By the laws, upon arriving all the visitors must provide a valid passport, proper invitation letter and the flight ticket (you can travel to Vietnam with a one-way ticket).
Anyway, some countries have a mutual agreement with the Vietnamese government when it comes to visa exemption. Precisely, the passport holders from 22 countries around the world can enter Vietnam without an invitation letter for a visa.
If you’re holding one of these passports, you will be able to visit Vietnam for 15 – 90 days without a visa:
14 days: Brunei, Myanmar
15 days: UK, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Belarus, Japan, South Korea
21 days: Philippines
30 days: Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Laos
90 days: Chile
What’s the process if you’re a passport holder from the countries on the list, but you decide to stay longer than 15 days?
Well, there are a few possible options that will cost you money and time.
The first option is visa renewal that can be done in the main Immigration Department in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Saigon. The best way is to go on their official website and check the process for doing a visa renewal.
Always be sure that you check the updated information on visa exemptions since you don’t want to get to the immigration and find out you need a visa for Vietnam.
If you want to avoid the huge costs of visa renewal, the best option would be to grant an invitation letter for a Vietnam visa that can be easily obtained through many agencies for $25 (3-month single-entry visa).
With that option, you can save yourself a lot of time and money, even if you won’t stay in Vietnam for that long.
So What’s the Process for Travelers Who’re Not in the List Above?
If you’re not born under the lucky star and you’re not a passport holder from the countries above, don’t worry, as getting and staying in Vietnam is relatively easy to process.
You can get your approval letter from the Vietnamese embassy in your country or simply by arranging a travel agency that is specialized for visa-on-arrival.
The main options for a tourist visa are a 1-month and 3-month visa that can be a single or multiple entries. If you’re not sure about your traveling plans and you might get out of the country before the stamped date, then investing a little bit more money to get a multiple-entry visa is what you should think about!
Once you’ve figured out the type of visa you’d like to get, then it’s time to get your hands on the invitation letter.
a) Going to a Vietnamese Embassy in Your Country
Going to the embassy is a great option, but it takes a lot of time, especially when you compare it with online visa application. If you decide to go that way, then you need to book an appointment to the Vietnamese embassy in your country and bring a passport and two passport sized pictures.
You will get a form which you fill with your information and that’s it. In a few days, your letter will be in your post and email. It usually takes up to a week to get a letter that way.
b) Applying Through Online Travel Agencies
We prefer this option since you really don’t spend much time doing it. You need a picture of your passport and the personal pictures. There is an online form where you fill in your details and after 2 days you get the invitation letter that you just need to print out and show to the immigration officer at the airport.
Check out this website for updated information on visa requirements.
How to Get a Visa on Arrival?
This process is mainly used by travelers around the world as it saves tons of money and time. You don’t need to go anywhere, and you just need to apply online with your information. After a few working days (depending on the company) your invitation letter is ready and you can fly to Vietnam.
Visa on arrival is the type of the document that enables a holder to get a visa issued. Every letter needs to be approved by Vietnam Immigration Office. Once it’s approved, you get the stamp on the letter and show it to the immigration officer on the airport and you will get a visa sticker for days that are stated in the letter.
The Procedure of Getting a Visa on Arrival
As we already mentioned, the process of getting visa on arrival is pretty easy and it doesn’t require much hassle.
There you go:
- Go to the official Vietnam Immigration website and navigate to visa on arrival section. You will get all the information needed to obtain the invitation letter. Another option is to find a reliable travel agency that can provide you with the invitation letter. It’s usually a faster process, but it a bit more costly as these agencies work on a commission basis.
- Fill the form with the information. You will need your passport and personal photos of you.
- You pay for issuing the letter. It usually costs around $25 (three-month single entry tourist visa), but it depends on the type of your visa.
- After the processing period is done, you will get an invitation letter on your email with the further information. You need to print out the letter and bring it out with you. When you arrive at a department airport, you need to show the letter on the check-in counter or otherwise, they won’t let you through.
- When you land to Vietnam, go to ‘visa on arrival’ counter and prepare your letter, passport, pictures, and cash for a visa sticker fee. A fee for a single-entry visa is $25 and $50 for a multiple-entry.
- Once you get a visa sticker and a stamp, please check out the dates to be sure that everything is fine. If everything is fine, then head over to passport control.
- Holla! You’re officially in Vietnam! Don’t forget to pick up your luggage.
Getting a visa on arrival is the most popular option for tourists getting in the country because it’s very fast, safe and it won’t hit your wallet so hard.
But wait, it’s not the end of the options when it comes to getting visa!
Electronic visa became popular in recent years and many countries implemented that process to get in the country for 30 days.
In Vietnam, passport holders from some countries can get an e-visa that is basically an electronic document checked and signed by Vietnamese government and it allows travelers to stay up to 30 days.
The only problem is that if you decide to stay longer in the country, you need to do a visa renewal which is very costly and in the end, it will cost you much more money than getting a visa on arrival.
Here, you can check out countries that are eligible for getting an e-visa for Vietnam.
I Want to Stay Longer in Vietnam! What Are the Options?
Many travelers want to extend their stay in Vietnam after having a stunning experience in the country. It happened to us a few times already!
At first, I came to Vietnam with a business visa for three months and then I did a visa run twice. My brother overstayed for a few days in Vietnam (we will talk about it too and what’s the process and cost of overstaying in the country).
There are three different options when it comes to extending your stay in Vietnam:
- Visa extension
- Visa renewal
- Visa run
We’re going to provide you with the information on each option, so it’s up to you to choose the most suitable one for you and your current situation.
Visa extension is the way to prolong your stay in Vietnam without leaving the country. It’s never cheap to do it without leaving a country, so this option can be very expensive. Basically, visa extension means that the Vietnamese government grants you more time in the country.
You can do visa extension in three main immigration offices around Vietnam including Hanoi, Da Nang, and Saigon. The process itself isn’t so complicated as you only need to go to the immigration and fill the forms with basic information. You can extend your visa by another one or three months, depending on your current visa type.
More details: Learn everything about doing visa renewal and extension!
For instance, if you’d like to extend your visa for another month, then you need to have at least a one-month visa in your passport. The price for doing that varies from $50 – $160, depending on your nationality.
If you’re planning to extend for another three months, then you need to have a three-month visa in your passport. It costs from $170 – $320, again depending on your nationality.
Another option for travelers who entered the country on the visa exemption is doing a visa renewal. By doing it, you’ll get a new sticker and a stamp and the whole process is very similar to visa extension, but a bit more costly.
You can renew your visa for the maximum three months and also, you can upgrade your current visa from 1 to 3 months and from single to multiple entries.
The cost is fixed and it will cost you $200 for 1-month single entry, $330 for 3 months single and $350 for 3 months multiple entries.
The whole process is going through the Vietnam Immigration Office in major cities.
The most popular option when it comes to extending your stay in Vietnam is by far a ‘visa run’. Some nationalities can’t do a visa renewal or extension, so they are forced to leave the country and obtain a new valid visa to prolong their stay.
This process is the cheapest one and it allows you to get a new visa for up to three months. Many travelers who decided to stay in Vietnam for a long time usually do visa runs every three months.
The process is very similar to getting the visa on arrival. You need to apply for getting an invitation letter through a travel agency or immigration office. Once you get the invitation letter, you must go to the international border (if you’re traveling by land) in Laos or Cambodia. You need to have a valid passport, letter and photos to obtain the new visa.
Doing a visa run from Da Nang? Check out all details to do a visa run from Da Nang to popular international border called Lao Bao. The route is scenic and historic since Quang Tri suffered a lot during the war.
The whole process is pretty straightforward and it won’t take you more than an hour. Just be sure that you have all documents checked as you don’t want to overstay in Vietnam.
Also, you can travel by plane to another country, spend some time there and return to Vietnam. That’s a bit more costly, but it’s still cheaper than doing a renewal or extension.
Travelers who’re just passing through Vietnam to reach their final destination don’t need a transit visa. It’s a very convenient way to explore country during your layover as there is almost not any documentation needed to get a transit visa.
The only problem with Vietnamese transit visa is that you can’t leave airport, but you can pass a passport control in case you want to sleep at the airport. It’s not the most comfortable place to sleep, so booking a hostel or hotel would make much more sense.
More information: Learn all details when it comes to transit visa!
The best way to organize your layover in Vietnam is to make a tourist visa for a month and just get out of airport to explore the city you’re in.
If you don’t have time or energy to do it and you want to get a transit visa, the process is very straightforward. You need to present the immigration with the valid passport, a flight ticket to the third country and a valid visa for the destination country. That’s all the hustle you need to go through!
Avoiding a Visa Hustle and Travel Without a Visa in Vietnam
Some people are luckier than others when it comes to visa exemption so they can travel to Vietnam for a certain amount of time without a visa.
If you’re planning to visit Vietnam just to have a perfect vacation and relax a bit, then there is one option where you can get to Vietnam without acquiring a visa.
Phu Quoc is the island in Vietnam territory that is classified as a ‘special economic zone’ which means all travelers get a visa exemption for 30 days while traveling to this exotic island.
Getting a visa exemption is a relatively easy process, but you must be sure to meet the following criteria when applying for the exemption:
- You need to have a valid passport that is not expiring in the next 6 months
- You must have a round trip flight ticket with the final destination that is not Vietnam
- You can only stay in Phu Quoc for 30 days
- You don’t have deportation stamp on your passport or any offenses in Vietnam
- You must not be on the Interpol list
Believe us or not, that is all you need to get a visa exemption!
Be sure that you have all the documents and that you’re passing all the criteria before visiting the island. Also, please do the further research about visa exemption to Phu Quoc by visiting this site.
Now you have all the information when it comes to applying for a tourist visa in Vietnam. There are many options and it’s up to you to choose the one that suits your traveling plans.
Please check the latest updates and policies before visiting the country, since the visa requirements change all the time for some country.
The best way to be sure is to call the Vietnamese embassy in your country before applying for any visa to make sure you have all the documents needed for Vietnamese visa.
Wish you a safe trip filled with amazing experiences!