How to Apply for a Vietnam Visa - Updated 2020.3.20

How to Apply for a Vietnam Visa - Updated 2020.3.20

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated May. 14, 2021

A valid visa is required for citizens of most countries to visit Vietnam. There are some exceptions, which are mentioned in the quick facts below. For tourism purposes, we suggest you to consider the recently launched 30 days e-visa as it is most convenient and money-saving.

Quick Facts

  • Passport-holders from most Southeast Asian countries do not need a visa for visiting Vietnam for up to 30 days. This includes people from Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar, Brunei, and Laos.
  • Passport-holders from Belarus, Demark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom do not need a visa for visiting Vietnam for up to 15 days.
  • Phu Quoc Island is the only place in Vietnam that does not require a visa.
  • For tourists, getting an e-visa is the cheapest and most convenient option with 28 available entrance points.

 

Coronavirus in Vietnam (Updated 2020.03.20)

As of March 20th, there have been 76 (vs 39 on March 12th) confirmed cases of coronavirus (officially called COVID-19) in Vietnam. Among them, 16 have recovered. So far, no deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in Vietnam.

In order to halt the spread of the coronavirus, the Vietnamese government has implemented the following policies. These policies may affect your March travel plans.

Visa:

Vietnam has decided to suspend entry for any visitor coming from the EU and UK, or who has traveled in those countries during the last 14 days, effective 15 March 2020 for 30 days. 

All passengers coming from the EU, UK, and the USA will have an emergency 24-hour quarantine in place for COVID-19 Test. Only after 24 hours can they be allowed to enter Vietnam if they test negative. If test positive, they will be held in medical quarantine for 2 weeks.

Travel activities:

Some popular attractions, theaters, and events have been closed or canceled to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For example, Halong Bay will be closed from March 12th. This closure is expected to last for 2 weeks or longer and won’t reopen until further notice. We’ll keep checking and provide you with updated information on closures after receiving your trip inquiry.

For more Asia travel tips during the coronavirus period, you can click here.

Three Ways of Obtaining a Visa for Vietnam

Most people need a visa in order to enter Vietnam, unless they are coming from one of the visa-exempt countries. There are three ways of obtaining such a visa:

  • Apply in person or by post through your nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate.
  • Apply for an e-visa online
  • Apply for a Visa on Arrival (VOA) online

While there are advantages and disadvantages associated with each of these, we recommend the e-visa as the best option for tourists considering a trip to Vietnam.

Option 1: Via Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate

Key Features:

  • Traditional approach to getting a visa
  • Can be done in person or by post
  • Can be used to apply for any type of visa
  • The fee is uncertain as it depends on the consulate/ embassy
  • Can be used for any entrance point, whether by land, air, or sea
  • Takes about 5 working days to process, but can be sped up to 1- 2 days for urgent service.
  • Visa is stamped before departure.

You can apply for a visa through the local Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate either in person or by mail. To do this, you need to fill out and sign an application form, sending it along with your passport and a passport photo.

The advantage of applying this way is that you already have the visa stamped in your passport before leaving for Vietnam, which means you do not need to queue on arrival for your passport to get stamped.

The application process is not the most convenient, however, especially for people who do not live near a Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate. Moreover, the fees vary depending on the Embassy or Consulate, and the processing time is longer.

Option 2: E-Visa

Key Features:

  • Launched on 1 February 2017
  • Convenient, as it can be done by completing an online application form
  • Only costs USD 25, which is non-refundable if the visa is declined.
  • May be used for 28 entrance points, whether by land, air, or sea, including 8 international airports, 13 international border gates, and 7 seaports.
  • Only for 1 month single-entry.
  • Takes about 3 working days to process, and you’ll know quickly whether the application was accepted or not.
  • The visa does not need to be stamped on your passport, hence there is no stamping fee and no need to queue for your passport to be stamped on arrival.
  • Only available to citizens of 46 countries (including the UK and the USA).

Applying for an e-visa is our recommended option for tourists as it is most convenient and cost-effective. However, please note that this visa is only for visitors visiting for less than 30 days. Longer-term visitors will need to consider the other two options.

Please Note that the arrival port must be the same on the documents issued by Immigration Department. If you are to change the arrival port after receiving your E-visa, you should contact them to amend the information on the documents to avoid any issue on the ground. Check the 28 available entrance points to make sure you can enter Vietnam with your E-visa.

As this kind of visa is very new, we suggest that visitors contact with Vietnamese Immigration Department via electronic system if having any queries or take a look at the E-visa Frequently Asked Questions.

Option 3: Visa on Arrival

Key Features:

  • Convenient, as it can be done by completing an online application form
  • Can be used to apply for any type of visa (1-, 3-, or 6-month, or 1-year single or multiple-entry visa)
  • You will need to pay two fees: 1. Service fee, 2. Stamping fee.
  • The service fee is paid online to the service provider. The amount depends on the visa type (number of months and number of entries) and service provider.
  • The stamping fee is paid at the arrival airport when the visa is stamped. The fee starts at USD 25 (higher fees apply for longer-term or multiple-entry visas). The stamping fee must be paid in cash (USD or VND).
  • Can only be obtained at 3 international airports in Vietnam (Hanoi, Danang, or Ho Chi Minh Airport). Hence it is only an option for air passengers.
  • Takes about 2 working days to process. Can be sped up to 1 day or 4 hours for an extra charge.

Visa on Arrival is a viable option with various advantages. With Visa on Arrival, you can apply for longer-term and multiple-entry visas, and you do not need to go in person to the Embassy, or apply by post. You just need to submit an online application and get a pre-approval letter.

We do not, however, recommend it to short-term tourists, for two reasons.

Firstly, it is more costly, as you need to pay a service fee to the service provider (the amount varies according to the type of visa and the service provider), as well a stamping fee upon arrival in Vietnam (which costs at least USD 25).

Secondly, upon arrival you need to queue for your passport to be stamped with the visa.

Examples of Service Fees (govietnamvisa.com)

Type of Visa Service Fee (US dollars): Tourist/Business Visa Stamping Fee (US dollars)
1-month single-entry 18/100 25
3-month single-entry 30/160 25
1-month multiple-entry 25/105 50
3-month multiple-entry 65/180 50
6-month multiple-entry 350/400 95
1-year multiple-entry 560/ 600 135

*Please note that this pricing table is only a sample from one service provider; the service fee varies from provider to provider.

Our Recommendation

Based on the information, we recommend the e-visa as the most suitable and cost-effective for tourists.

  Option 1: Through Embassy or Consulate Option 2: E-Visa Option 3: Visa on Arrival
Mode of transport Travel to Vietnam by any means of transport. Travel to Vietnam by any means of transport for up to 28 entrance points; only citizens of 40 countries. Travel to Vietnam by air only.
Type 1-month single/multiple-entry
3-month single/multiple-entry
6-month multiple-entry
1-year multiple-entry
1-month single-entry 1-month single/multiple-entry
3-month single/multiple-entry
6-month multiple entry
1-year multiple-entry
Cost Depends on the Embassy/ Consulate USD 25, non-refundable Depends on visa type and service provider Upon arrival have to pay stamping-fee of at least USD 25
Application Process Completed application form with signature and photo, plus passport Online application form Online application form
Waiting Time Upon Arrival Don’t need to have your visa stamped upon arrival. Don’t need to have your visa stamped upon arrival. Need to wait in line at the arrival airport to get your visa stamped.

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