Types of Vietnam visas

Are you planning to organize travel to a SE Asian country like Vietnam for leisure or business purposes? Vietnam is a fascinating country with plenty of wonderful attractions, such as the historical Cu Chi tunnels, the rolling green hills of Sapa and the scenic limestone cliffs of Halong Bay.

However, before it is possible to enter Vietnam, you will need to first organise an entry visa. There are several types of Vietnam visa and the intended purpose of the trip will help to establish the particular type of visa required.

vietnam visa types

Do You Need a Visa?
Most travellers to Vietnam will need to obtain Vietnam visa in advance or visa on arrival before getting permission to enter the country. Citizens from certain countries are granted short-term exemption so able to travel visa-free for a period of 14-30 days. It is worth checking with a local Vietnamese embassy or government site to see the most up-to-date visa requirement rules before travelling. Once the key requirements are known, the actual process of organising a Vietnam visa is relatively straightforward.

Vietnam visa types
This list of Vietnam visas will outline the main purpose of the different types of visa that are available to enter Vietnam:

Tourist visa
The most common type of visa is the tourist visa which is relatively easy to obtain for most nationalities. This cheap Vietnam visa is available in two types: single entry and multiple entry. Also, the duration of the visa can easily match the short or long stay in Vietnam with the option to apply for a 1 or 3 month single-entry or 1 or 3 month multiple entry. This is more than enough time to fully explore and appreciated the fascinating culture, landscape, architecture and cuisine throughout the country.

Single entry vs. multiple entry
The single entry visa is the most practical option for travellers that plan to visit and stay within the borders of Vietnam for the full duration of their holiday. However, if you are looking to enter and exit Vietnam on several occasions during the validity period of the visa, your best option is to apply for a multiple entry visa.

If you do leave Vietnam on the single entry visa you won’t be able to re-enter the country again until you complete the entire Vietnam visa online process again. However, the multiple entry visa gives the option to complete the Indochina tour and visit neighbouring SE Asian countries like Cambodia and Laos, as well as other nearby countries.

Tourist visa extension
The tourist visa may be extended on a single occasion for a period of 30 days. This is a practical option for tourists wishing to extend their stay in the country and continue to explore the bigger cities or the more peaceful countryside. However, the process of organising the visa extension can be quite a hassle if you attempt to self complete the application. For this reason, it is more practical to rely on a tour agency to process the necessary paperwork. Any trustworthy agency in a big city like Hanoi, Hue, Danang or Ho Chi Minh City should be able to assist with the extension.  

Re-entry visa
If you initially organise the single entry visa to travel in Vietnam, but later decide to explore a neighbouring country for a short period before returning to Vietnam, you will need to apply for a re-entry visa. This type of visa must be arranged before leaving the country, otherwise it would be necessary to start the visa application process from the start before being granted permission to re-enter Vietnam. The re-entry visa is easily organised through a local travel agent while in the country who will help complete the relevant paperwork. It is usually completed in 1-2 days to avoid causing delays to your travel plans.

Business visa
The business visa is issued to travellers that plan to enter the country for business related activities. They are mostly issued for a short duration with typical validity periods of three, six, or twelve months. Similar to the tourist visa, the business visa is relatively easy to organise, but does involve more work such as obtaining an invitation letter or sponsorship from a Vietnam based business; also the visa fees are more expensive. However, if you are looking to get a business visa, you will find it worthwhile to consult your travel agent or visit your local Vietnamese embassy to make sure you have the most up-to-date information beforehand.

Student visa
Travellers to Vietnam are in a position to request a student visa after receiving proof of admission to a Vietnam based school. This type of Vietnam visa is organised once the student has arrived in the country. You first enter Vietnam using a tourist visa, and sign-up for the appropriate study program, then the status of the visa can be adjusted via immigration to show you updated information. It is typically best to use a local travel agent to help complete the application process.

Transit visa
The transit visa is intended to give a maximum duration stay of five days. This type of visa is issued by the Department of Immigration for tours that are travelling with or accompanied by a local tour guide. The travel party must have a set itinerary in place and also have the assurance from the tour agency used that this is a proper organised tour.