If you have decided to travel to Vietnam you will need to make sure you have your visa in order. It is not a difficult process for most passport holders, as 79 countries can obtain visa on arrival, 45 countries may obtain an e-visa, and 24 countries do not even need a visa. Our guide will help you understand whether or not you need a visa, if you can obtain an evisa/visa on arrival, or if you need to visit an embassy, and the process for all of these options.
Countries that may enter Vietnam visa free
There are 4 variations of visa free entry to Vietnam regarding maximum stay visa free. These are less than 90 days, less than 30 days, less than 21 days, less than 15 days and less than 14 days. The only country that may stay for less than 90 days visa free is Chile. There are 7 passport holders who are able to stay less than 21 days: Cambodia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. For those allowed to stay less than 15 days it is passport holders of the countries: UK, Sweden, Spain, South Korea, Russia, Norway, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Finland, Denmark, and Belarus. Finally there are 2 countries which are allowed visa free entry for less than 14 days, and that is Brunei and Myanmar. If any nationals of these countries would like to stay in the country longer, they will need to apply for a visa extension.
Additionally, those who are of Vietnamese origin, but of American nationality, or foreigners married to Vietnamese citizens may apply for a 5-Year Visa Exemption. This allows entry up to 90 days without a visa.
Countries that may obtain a visa on arrival
There are 150 countries who are eligible for visa on arrival: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Uzbekistan.
Information for visa on arrival
This is available for air travel only, you may not utilize a visa on arrival if you enter by land or boat. If you plan to enter in any way besides a plane you must obtain a full visa before you arrive. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months upon entry, and any child you are traveling with will need the same visa as an adult. Visa fees may only be paid in USD, credit cards are not accepted. Visa on arrival fees vary based on length of time the visa will be valid, as well as how many times you may enter the country on that visa. For both 1 and 3 month single entry visas, the cost will be $25 USD. For both 1 and 3 month multiple entry visas, the cost will be $50 USD. Finally for those that hold a passport from the United States, there is the option for a 12 month tourist visa, with multiple entries, for $135 USD.
Steps required to apply for a Vietnam visa on arrival:
1. Apply online for an approval letter. This can take anywhere from 3-5 business days. If you urgently need your visa you can do rush processing, which will take only 8 hours.
2. Next you will receive your approval letter by mail. Make sure to print a hard copy. Then you will need to prepare a few things: 2 passport sized pictures, a passport that is valid longer than 6 months at time of entry, and either $25 or $50 USD. This will be your stamping fee.
3. Finally gather all of these documents and be ready to present them to have your visa stamped into your passport when you arrive at any international airport in Vietnam.
There are 45 countries in which the citizens may obtain an e-visa to travel for up to 30 days in Vietnam. This is issued electronically and must be obtained at least 2 days before traveling. Use the official e-visa site to apply. You will need 1 passport photo, a passport with 6 months of validity, and $25 USD paid online. You may not enter the country any earlier than is stated on the e-visa, so make sure to plan accordingly.
You may enter at any of the following 28 ports: Cat Bi Int Airport (Hai Phong), Cam Ranh Int Airport (Khanh Hoa), Can Tho International Airport, Da Nang International Airport, Noi Bai Int Airport (Ha Noi), Phu Bai Int Airport, Phu Quoc International Airport, Tan Son Nhat Int Airport (Ho Chi Minh City), Bo Y Landport, Cha Lo Landport, Cau Treo Landport, Huu Nghi Landport, Ha Tien Landport, Lao Bao Landport, Lao Cai Landport, Moc Bai Landport, Mong Cai Landport, Nam Can Landport, Song Tien Landport, Tinh Bien Landport, Xa Mat Landport, Da Nang Seaport, Hon Gai Seaport, Hai Phong Seaport, Nha Trang Seaport, Quy Nhon Seaport, Ho Chi Minh City Seaport, and Vung Tau Seaport.
Countries that may obtain an E-Visa
Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China (Not applicable to Chinese e-passport holders), Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Timor Leste, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Applying for a visa at a Vietnamese Embassy
If your home country is either not specified as visa free, e-visa or visa on arrival eligible, then you will need to obtain a visa before attempting to enter Vietnam. This can be done at any Vietnamese embassy either in your home country, or in another country containing a Vietnamese embassy. In addition, even if you do qualify for one of these visas, you may want to have your visa ready ahead of time.
Steps required to apply for a visa at a Vietnamese Embassy
After looking up your closest Vietnamese embassy, definitely make sure you have all the required documents. You will need your passport with at least 6 months of validity beyond your planned stay, 2 passport size photos taken within the last year, your visa fee in USD or in some cases a money order, certified check, or Cashier's check payable to the processing mission. You will also need a prepaid, self-addressed return envelope, and your visa application forms. These application forms will be the NA2 visa application at an embassy form as well as an entry/exit form for visa on arrival. The application form can be downloaded here. The cost of these visas are dependent on which country you hold citizenship, and where you are applying from so please call your local embassy before applying.
Extending your Vietnamese tourist visa
If you have decided you would like to stay a bit longer you may apply for a visa extension. This means if you have had either a 1 month or 3 month visa, you will be allowed to extend for a maximum of 3 more months. After you pay the fee, you will receive a stamp indicating the date you must leave the country. This extension may be done 2 times, but only if you stay is less than a total of 6 months.
To apply for an extension you will need to download and fill out the NA5 form. There may be a fee, which you should check ahead of time with the office you plan to apply at. There are a few immigration offices in which you can apply for your extension: in Hanoi it is located at 44-46 Tran Phu, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. In Da Nang it is located at 7 Tran Quy Cap, Da Nang, and the immigration office in Ho Chi Minh city is located at 196 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh city. The hours should be Monday through Friday from 7am-1130am and 130pm-5pm. Saturday they will be open from 7am-1130am. Do not leave this extension to the last minute. It may take 5-7 working days for a 1 month extension, and up to 10 working days for a 3 month visa extension.
Renewing your Vietnamese tourist visa
It is possible to renew your Vietnamese visa but getting a new visa while in Vietnam. This can be done for both single and multiple entries, and you will receive a new full page sticker in your passport. This means you need to make sure you have at least 2 free pages available. You should be able to renew your visa at the same offices that you can apply for an extension (mentioned above).
Strict overstay visa/visa free entry policies
It is very important to be aware that overstaying your visa or visa free access will cost you. If you have entered Vietnam with visa free access you may not enter visa free again for another 30 days since your exit. Additionally if you overstay, you will be charged anywhere from $30-60 USD per day when attempting to leave the country. In a few words, do not overstay the length of time you may legally stay in Vietnam, if you need to apply for an extension or renewal do so with enough time before your visa or allowed time period expires.