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Vietnam Tourist Visa Policy

Are you getting confused with overloaded information about Visa to Vietnam? The good news is that it is now much easier than before and still improving (they have been talking about this recently to make it more and more simple to attract more visitors) This article is to help you with revealing all the current complexity and find the most convenient way for your case. Let’s find out below.

Vietnam Visa policy

With some recent improvement, Vietnam visa situation is now more convenient for most of the western countries.

There are several ways for you to get the visa to Vietnam, divided in 4 main categories: Visa on arrival (VOA), Visa via an embassy or consulate, e-visas, and Visa free or Visa exemption.

In general, the citizens of 85 countries can apply for e-Visa (online visa), 100 countries can apply for visa on arrival, 24 countries can have visa free on arrival (Visa exemption). 

If you are from the western country: Australia, USA, Canada, or all European countries can easily apply for e-Visa or Visa on arrival; vice versa, most of the citizens from Africa, some from middle east Asia, or some from central America need to apply for visa in advance via the embassies abroad before boarding the flight to Vietnam.

Check the map below for the quick idea of Vietnam visa policy (click the image to see the larger one):

Below is the detail information about the 4 types of Vietnam visa to help you with finding the most suitable way for your case.

Vietnam E-Visa or Online Visa

A pilot e-visa program introduced in early 2017 allows visitors to apply for visas online through the Vietnam Immigration Department.

The new online process simplifies the procedures to enter Vietnam by allowing travelers to apply directly online for a visa. Hence, there is no more need to apply for an “approval letter”, which require to queue, process and pay an additional stamp for “visa on arrival” once arrived in Vietnam.

What's Vietnam e-Visa?

The e-Visa is an electronic travel authorization from the Vietnam Government for up to 30 consecutive days, SINGLE ENTRY, issued in PDF format. It is the equivalent to a visa, but no stamp or label is placed in the passport. The e-Visa is an entry requirement to travel to and within Vietnam for any of the following reasons:

  • Tourism
  • Business
  • Visiting relatives/friends
  • Investment
  • Journalism
  • Official Visit
  • Labor, Employment
  • Office, Organization of Economy, Culture, Technology, Non-Government
  • Study
  • Summit
  • Others

The tourist e-Visa fee is $25/visa/time.

Below is the sample of Vietnam e-visa for your reference

More about Vietnam e-Visa

The e-Visa is a single-entry visa.

The e-Visa is valid for 30 days, from the proposed date of entry indicated during the application.

e-Visa holders may remain in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for a maximum of 30 consecutive days after the initial entry date.

Once the first 30 days have passed, and renewal be needed, e-Visa holders in Vietnam may be considered to grant new visa if being invited/guaranteed by authority/organisation/individual in Vietnam in accordance with Law on foreigners' entry into, exit from, transit through, residence in Vietnam.

The applicant’s passport must be valid for at least 01 month after arrival to Vietnam and it must have at least two blank pages for the immigration and border control officer.

Minors with their own passport must complete a full e-Visa application. Minors aged 14 and under included on their parent’s passport will have to be included on their parents e-Visa application.

Applicants are required to carry a copy of their e-Visa at all times during their stay.

Ports of Entry

e-Visas will be accepted at all of international airports in Vietnam, including the major hubs of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Can Tho City, and Phu Quoc Island. Here is a complete list of 33 eligible ports of entry for Vietnam e-Visa:

8 International Airports 16 International border checkpoints 9 Border seaports
  1. Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)
  2. Noi Bai International Airport (Ha Noi)
  3. Da Nang International Airport
  4. Cam Ranh International Airport (Khanh Hoa)
  5. Can Tho International Airport
  6. Phu Bai International Airport
  7. Phu Quoc International Airport
  8. Cat Bi International Airport (Hai Phong)
  1. Nam Can Landport
  2. Song Tien Landport
  3. Tinh Bien Landport
  4. Xa Mat Landport
  5. Mong Cai Landport
  6. Moc Bai Landport
  7. Lao Bao Landport
  8. Ha Tien Landport
  9. Huu Nghi Landport
  10. Cau Treo Landport
  11. Cha Lo Landport
  12. Bo Y Landport
  13. Lao Cai Landport
  14. La Lay Landport
  15. Na Meo Landport
  16. Tay Trang Landport
  1. Ho Chi Minh City Seaport
  2. Quy Nhon Seaport
  3. Nha Trang Seaport
  4. Hai Phong Seaport
  5. Hon Gai Seaport
  6. Da Nang Seaport
  7. Vung Tau Seaport
  8. Chan May Seaport
  9. Duong Dong Seaport

 

Here are all the ports of entry for Vietnam e-Visa holders on Google Maps for your reference:

 

Entry Requirements

  • Outside Vietnam foreigners
  • Hold a valid passport
  • Not falling into the cases of suspension from entry prescribed in Article 21 of Law on foreigners' entry into, exit from, transit through, residence in Vietnam.
  • A scanned color copy of the of the biographical page of the applicant’s current passport

Eligible Countries

Citizens from the following countries are eligible to apply online for an e-Visa.

Andorra Croatia Italy Myanmar San Marino
Antarctica Cuba Japan Nauru Serbia
Argentina Cyprus Kazakhstan Netherlands Slovakia
Armenia Czech Republic Latvia New Zealand Slovenia
Australia Denmark Liechtenstein Norway Solomon Islands
Austria Estonia Lithuania Palau South Korea
Azerbaijan Fiji Luxembourg Panama Spain
Belarus Finland Macau Papua New Guinea Sweden
Belgium France Macedonia Peru Switzerland
Bosnia and Herzegovina Georgia Malta Philippines Timor-Leste
Brazil Germany Marshall Islands Poland United Arab Emirates
Brunei Greece Mexico Portugal United Kingdom
Bulgaria Hong Kong Micronesia Qatar United States of America
Canada Hungary Moldova Romania Uruguay
Chile Iceland Monaco Russia Vanuatu
China (*) India Mongolia Saint Barthelemy Venezuela
Colombia Ireland Montenegro Samoa Virgin Islands, U.S

(*) Citizens from China must apply with a traditional passport. Chinese e-Passports cannot be used to apply for e-Visa.

How to Apply?

Notes : If there is any missing or incorrect/unidentified information, your application will not be accepted, and the visa fee of $25/person will not be refunded

Vietnam visa on arrival

If not eligible for Vietnam e-Visa, Visa on Arrival (VOA) is the preferred method for most travelers arriving by air, since it is cheaper, faster and you do not have to part with your passport by posting it to an embassy. The VOA is available for many nationalities, including American, British, Canadian and Australian passport holders.

3 steps to apply for your Vietnam Visa on Arrival

  • Step 1: Apply online through a visa agent for an approval letter, which may take 3-5 working days for standard processing and 8 working hours for urgent processing.
  • Step 2: Receive the approval letter by email and print a hard copy. Prepare 2 passport sized photos, your passport and stamping fee of US $25 (for single entry visa) and US $50 (for multiple entry visa) in cash.
  • Step 3: Present all above mentioned documents to get your visa stamp upon arrival at an international airport in Vietnam. That is it!

Below is the sample of Vietnam Visa on arrival sticked to your passport:

How much do you pay for your Vietnam Visa on arrival

TYPE OF VISA SERVICE FEES STAMPING FEE
Single entry - 1 month 18 USD 25 USD
Multiple entry - 1 month 23 USD 50 USD
Single entry - 3 month 28 USD 25 USD
Multiple entry - 3 month 43 USD 50 USD
Multiple entry - 12 month (US passports) 60 USD 135 USD

*The stamping fee is payable by cash at Vietnam airport in Vietnamese Dongs and US dollars (credit cards are not accepted).

*The service fee is based on 3 working days, and may differ from different suppliers

Required documents to apply:

  • Passport with at least 6 months of validity.
  • Answer simple personal questions.
  • Credit/debit card or Paypal account.

You will need to have the following documents with you when entering Vietnam:

  • Entry permit form (Vietnam Pre-Approval Letter - printed)
  • Two photos
  • Original passport
  • Additional visa fee for Vietnam Visa on Arrival (payable to airport immigration). The stamping fee is 25 USD for single entry visa (both 1 month and 3 month type) and 50 USD for multiple entry visa (both 1 month and 3 month type).

Important notices:

  • Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your indicated arrival date.
  • Passport photos are required at Vietnam airports in order to obtain an entry visa. Some report said that you can have your photos done at the airport, but it is quite troublesome and not reliable. There is no hurt to bring some more photos with you, do not hesitate to do it.
  • Visa on Arrival is only valid for air travelers. At your arrival, you will be required to fill some documents to get the visa stamp in your passport.
  • Visa on Arrival works at any of Vietnam’s five international airports: Tan Son Nhat (Ho Chi Minh City); Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi); Danang Airport (Da Nang); Cat Bi Airport (Hai Phong); or Cam Ranh Airport (Nha Trang). There will be no problems going between these five airports.
  • Travelers are required to pay a stamping fee on arrival. The stamping fee is 25 USD for single entry visa (both 1 month and 3 month type) and 50 USD for multiple entry visa (both 1 month and 3 month type).
  • The arrival date you provide should be the earliest you plan to arrive, but you can arrive after that date. The departure date you provide will be the last day you are permitted to be in the country unless you get a visa extension.

Below is the maps of 8 International Airports accepting Visa on arrival to Vietnam

Who can apply for Visa on arrival to Vietnam

You can find the list of countries who can apply for Visa on arrival to Vietnam as below detail. The list may not be complete or amended. Please CONTACT US for the most updated one.

Albania

Denmark

Lithuania

Puerto Rico

Andorra

Dominica

Luxembourg

Romania

Antigua and Barbuda

Dominican Republic

Macedonia

Russia

Argentina

Ecuador

Malaysia

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Australia

El Salvador

Malta

Saint Lucia

Austria

Estonia

Marshall Islands

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Bahamas

Finland

Mexico

San Marino

Barbados

France

Micronesia, Federated States of

Serbia

Belarus

French Polynesia

Moldova

Singapore

Belgium

Georgia

Monaco

Slovakia

Belize

Germany

Montenegro

Slovenia

Bolivia

Gibraltar

Nauru

Solomon Islands

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Greece

Netherlands

Spain

Brazil

Greenland

Netherlands Antilles

Suriname

Brunei

Grenada

New Caledonia

Sweden

Bulgaria

Honduras

New Zealand

Switzerland

Burma (Myanmar)

Hungary

Nicaragua

Thailand

Cambodia

Iceland

Norway

Tuvalu

Canada

Indonesia

Palau

Ukraine

Chile

Ireland

Panama

United Kingdom

Colombia

Italy

Paraguay

United States

Costa Rica

Japan

Peru

Uruguay

Croatia

Laos

Philippines

Vanuatu

Cuba

Latvia

Poland

Vatican City

Czech Republic

Liechtenstein

Portugal

Venezuela

Where to apply for the Visa approval letter?

If you book a tour package from us, we are please to help you process this Visa approval letter without any further service charge.

Otherwise, you can apply via these two below companies:

  • Vietnam Visa Choice (www.vietnamvisachoice.com): Online support from native English-speakers. This agency also guarantees your visa will be issued within the time specified.
  • Vietnam Visa Center (www.vietnamvisacenter.org): Competent all-rounder with helpful staff well briefed on the latest visa situation. Offers a two-hour express service for last-minute trips.

More about Visa approval letter

To get more details about the Legitimate Approval Letter, please refer to document explanation below:

Number 1: Your Visa reference number in this list of Vietnam Immigration Department. This number and all information provided by you will be transmitted to secure system of Customs Clearance at Vietnam Airports.

Number 2: Name of agent doing all paper work for you to submit your Visa Application to Vietnam Immigration Department for processing your Visa Approval letter.

Number 3: Type of Visa (Single/Multiple) and time that you are permitted to stay in Vietnam (1 month or 3 months).

Number 4: Your information provided when filling in the online application form on the website.

Number 5: A copy of this document will be sent to Immigration Checking – Point for your Customs Clearance when you arrive Vietnam Airports.

Number 6: Official Stamp of Vietnam Government and signature of Person in Charge from Vietnam Immigration Department for your Visa Confirmation.

How long does it take to get the visa stamp at the airport?

From our customers experience:

  • 40% of the customers: Waited less than 15 minutes.
  • 40% of the customers: Waited for 15-30 minutes.
  • 15% of the customers: Waited 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • 5% of the customers: Waited >1 hour. (Update 2019: Some of our clients had to wait for 2 hours due to a large number of arrivals on the Christmas Day, 24-December. If you travel with children, please contact us for help or fast track in this case)

Our tips for you are:

  • Prepare all documents before you arrive.
  • Prepare the exact amount for the stamping fee.
  • Prepare the stamping fee in cash either in Vietnamese Dong or US dollars.
  • Rush out the airplane as soon as possible to be the first come first serve. 
  • If you are travelling with children or elderly people, ask the officers for priority.

Should I use "fast track" service to avoid the queue?
No,  we do not offer fast-track service and we do not recommend you to purchase it as we believe that it is NOT a "FAIR" service. If you travel with children or are in emergency cases, you can ask the officers or other applicants for priority.

Vietnam visa exemption

At this time, citizens of the following 24 countries do not need to apply in advance for a Vietnamese visa (when arriving by either air or land) for certain lengths of stay. Always double-check visa requirements before you travel as policies change regularly. As for now, here is the visa exempted nationalities list:

Countries Passport Required MAXIMUM STAY
Chile Yes less than 90 days
Cambodia Yes less than 30 days
Indonesia Yes less than 30 days
Kyrgyzstan Yes less than 30 days
Laos Yes less than 30 days
Malaysia Yes less than 30 days
Singapore Yes less than 30 days
Thailand Yes less than 30 days
Philippines Yes less than 21 days
Brunei Yes less than 14 days
Myanmar Yes less than 14 days
Belarus* Yes less than 15 days
Denmark* Yes less than 15 days
Finland* Yes less than 15 days
France* Yes less than 15 days
Germany* Yes less than 15 days
Italy* Yes less than 15 days
Japan* Yes less than 15 days
Norway* Yes less than 15 days
Russia* Yes less than 15 days
South Korea* Yes less than 15 days
Spain* Yes less than 15 days
Sweden* Yes less than 15 days
United Kingdom*(1) Yes less than 15 days

NOTE

* - A gap of at least 30 days between two visa-free visits is required. Must have a print-out of onward ticket.

1 - for British citizens only.

Holders of Certificates of Visa Exemption do not require a visa regardless of nationality. A Certificate of Visa Exemption is valid for up to 5 years or up to 6 months before the passport expiration date (whichever is shorter). This is available for Vietnamese residing abroad or spouses or children of Vietnamese citizens or Vietnamese residing abroad.

The exemption is valid for up to 90 consecutive days of stay. There is no limit placed on the number of entries or exits during the stay or minimum waiting time needed in between each 90 days of stay.

In May 2018, Vietnam announced it would extend the visa free validity period for five European nationalities (the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) through to 13 June 2021.

Citizens of China, Cuba and North Korea holding passports for public affairs or normal passports endorsed "for public affairs" do not require a visa for Vietnam.

Special case of Phu Quoc

The district of Phu Quoc is classified as a special economic zone and has adopted a 30-day visa exemption for all nationalities. There is no application needed and it is completely free. In order to be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Your stay on Phu Quoc island should be less than 30 days.
  • You have not been previously extradited from Vietnam.
  • You must have a round trip ticket to and from Phu Quoc. The onward destination can be any country except Vietnam.

Transit

Passengers of any nationality may transit through Vietnam by air without a visa for less than 24 hours providing that they do not intend to leave the sterile transit area. Staying overnight in the transit lounge is permitted

Vietnam Visa via an embassy or consulate abroad

You can also obtain visas through Vietnamese embassies and consulates around the world, but fees are normally higher than using a visa agent and the process can be slow. Usually issued in 2 to 3 working days in Asia and around a week in Europe and North America. 

Below are some details you might want to know when applying for a visa via embassy or consulate according to your citizenship. For further detail including contact detail, do not hesitate to check within the website address below or consult directly with the embassies or consulates.

United States of America (USA)

You can apply for visa either in person, by mail, online or by email. The standard processing time is 3 business days (after all required documents are submitted) while the expedite service is 24-hour (additional fee is required). This does not include the mail delivery time.

  • Apply in person or by mail at the Embassy of Vietnam (walk-in, no prior appointment is required). Receive your visa by mail. More info HERE
  • Apply online and receive loose-leaf visa by mail (payment by Paypal). More info HERE
  • Apply by email and receive loose-leaf visa by mail (payment by debit/credit card). More info HERE

United Kingdom (UK)

British citizens can apply for tourist visa at the embassy of Vietnam in UK either in person, by post or by email. The processing time is between 3 to 7 working days depending on how you apply. In any case you need to fill in the following application form

  • Apply in person: No appointment is needed. Applicable fees can be paid either in  cash or by cheque. Applications can be returned by post
  • Apply by post: Cheque or Postal Order payable to the ‘’Embassy of Vietnam’’ in British pounds sterling only. More than one visa application may be submitted in the same envelope.
  • Apply by email: Scanned copy of the photo page of valid passport. Proof of fee payment by bank transfer. Receive by post or collect in person.

Australia 

Tourist entry visas to Vietnam can be applied online, by post or in person. For Australian and New Zealand passport holders only. Processing time of 2 working days after submission of all supporting documents. More info about the process HERE

  • Apply online at www.vietnamembassyvisa.org.au. Transfer payment to the embassy's bank account. Receive loose-leaf visa by post to your address.
  • Apply by post : Fill in application form available HERE. Fee in AUS $, money order or bank cheque payable to the embassy of Vietnam.
  • Apply in person: Fill in and bring the above application form. Fee payable in cash, money order or bank cheque. 

Canada

Vietnamese visas can be applied for at the embassy by email, by mail, online or in person. The standard processing time is 3 business days since the receipt of a complete application. For more detailed info, please visit the embassy website

  • Apply online at https://vietnamembassy.ca/visa-application-online/ . Fill in the form and upload a copy of your passport.
  • Apply by email: Fill in application form HERE. For the payment in US funds, fill in credit card form. Once approved, your visa will be returned to you by mail.
  • Apply by post: Fill in same application form as above. Visa payable in either US $ money order, US $ bank draft or by filling in credit card form. Visa delivered by mail.
  • Apply in person by filling in the same application form and bringing your original passport as well as recent ID picture.

Multiple-entry visa

It is possible to enter Cambodia or Laos from Vietnam and then re-enter Vietnam without having to apply for another visa. However, you must hold a multiple-entry visa before you leave Vietnam.

Single-entry visas can no longer be changed to multiple-entry visas inside Vietnam.

Note: this is applicable if you apply for Visa on arrival or Visa at the embassy only. For Visa online (e-Visa), there is only one option of SINGLE ENTRY

Here is the sample of Multiple-entry Vietnam Visa

Visa Extension

Once issued, your visa will be valid from the date of entry provided on your application and printed on the visa. You may enter ON or AFTER the date of entry given on the visa and is expected to leave before the end of the expiration date.

Tourist visa extensions officially cost as little as US $10 and have to be organized via agents. The procedure takes 7 to 10 days and you can only extend the visa for 30 (US $40) or 60 (US $60) days depending on the visa you hold.

You can extend your visa in big cities, but if it is done in a different city from the one you arrived in (oh the joys of Vietnamese bureaucracy!), it will cost you US $50 to US $70. In practice, extensions work most smoothly in HCMC, Hanoi, Danang and Hue.

It is possible but not at all practical for travelers using a visa exemption to extend their stay at the end of the visa-exemption (around US $35). But this can take up to 10 working days and you need to give up your passport during this time, so it is not a convenient option at all.

Quick info. on Customs and regulations

If you enter Vietnam by air, the procedure usually takes a few minutes. If entering by land, expect to attract a bit more interest, particularly at remote borders.

Duty limits:

  • 400 cigarettes
  • 1.5 litres of spirit
  • Large sums of foreign currency (US$5000 and greater) must be declared.

Passport: Your passport with at least 3 blank pages must be valid for six months upon arrival in Vietnam. Many nationalities need to arrange a visa in advance.

Conclusion & reminders

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to get your visa for Vietnam, and there are many factors to consider such as citizenship, duration of stay, due date, border crossing, single or multi-entry, processing fees, etc.

In any case, upon receiving your visa, it is essential to double check all printed personal information. In case of inaccurate personal information, please contact the corresponding service for correction or adjustments. 

Also remember that your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay, and you must have at least one blank visa page.

Even if it seems rather obvious, do respect your visa validity carefully. Overstaying your Vietnamese visa without authority is a serious matter and you may be delayed from travel until a fine is paid. 

If you wish to get more details about visa to Vietnam or are in a specific situation not detailed above, we invite you to CONTACT US. We will do our best to give you an answer as soon as possible.

NOT READY YET?

We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Vietnam, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

PLACES TO VISIT IN Vietnam
Hanoi
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Ha Long Bay
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Sapa
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Hoi An
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Hue
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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
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Vietnam PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
Must-see
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Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury
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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Honeymoon
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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Wellness & Leisure
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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Cruise
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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Family Vacation
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The combination of fun and educational activities

Unseen
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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Cycling
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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Trek & Hike
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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Vietnam PLANS BY TIME FRAME
white-icon About 1 week
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white-icon About 3 weeks
yellow-icon About 3 weeks
white-icon About 4 weeks
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SPECIAL Vietnam TIPS & TOURS

Search for your nationality below to see our special Vietnam travel tips & advice for your country. CONTACT US if you cannot find yours.

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