For those interested in traveling to Vietnam, do not let the visa application discourage you making your trip. The good news is that the internet has facilitated the visa process significantly. Therefore, getting a Vietnam visa is getting easier. However, there are three ways to get the visa, and it could be easily mistaken for one another. In this guide, we aim to give you some distinguishment between those regular Vietnam visas and Vietnam visa on arrival.
The Three Ways to Obtain a Vietnam Visa
- The first is the traditional way, visit or mail your forms to a Vietnam embassy or Consulate in your home country.
- The second way is to fill an online application form and receive an electronic visa (e-visa).
- And last, delegating the process to a third party, an agency to get a Vietnam visa on arrival. These are all issued to foreigners by Vietnamese Immigration Department.
The visa you get by handing in the application directly to the Vietnam embassy or consulates will be stamped onto your passport before your departure to Vietnam. With the e-visa, you also receive the approval announcement and a self-printed version of the visa prior to your visit. But if you opt for a Vietnam visa on arrival, you will need to have a letter of approval before leaving and only when you reach Vietnam airport will you get the visa stamped.
Differences between the Three Types of Vietnam Visa Application
Vietnam e-visa process is quite similar to Vietnam visa on arrival, but they are different. People often mistake them, so the below table will provide details about their similarities and differences.
|Item||Vietnam Embassy/Consulate||Vietnam E-visa||Vietnam Visa on Arrival|
|Validity||Any types of entry and time of staying||30 days and single entry only||Depend on the agencies’ service, but typically|
+30 days, single/multiple entry(s)
+3 months, single/multiple entry(s)
+6 months, multiple entries
+1 year, multiple entries
|Extendability||Yes||No||Yes (apply at least 7 working days before the expiration)|
|Application process||This is done via agencies. See the general procedures explained in the following part.|
|Processing time||On average, 5 working days to process||On average, 3 working days|
|Ports of entry||At any international ports of entry|
33 ports, including
Click here for more details
|5 international airports, including|
+Tan Son Nhat
|Notes for immigration procedures|
You will get your visa stamped at the Vietnam Landing Visa Counter
When to Apply for Vietnam Visa on Arrival
- If you are not traveling to Phu Quoc (currently the only visa-free destination in Vietnam)
- If you are not in the visa exemption list
- If you are not in the list of countries eligible to apply for the e-visa
- If you don’t want to apply for a visa at the Vietnam embassy or consulates in your country
If you have decided to apply for Visa on Arrival, see the next part for the detailed procedure.
Vietnam Visa on Arrival Procedure
Step 1: Fill out the declaration form
This form is submitted to the visa agency, consists of important information, including full name, date of birth, nationality, passport number, date of arrival, and type of visa. Your personal information must be the same with information in your passport. Please be careful at this step because any changes afterward will be charged. After that, you need to pay the service fee.
Step 2: Get approval letter via email
You will receive the visa approval letter via email (attached with a Vietnamese visa application form). Then you need to:
- Print out the letter and the application form,
- Fill out the Vietnamese visa application form,
- Prepare 2 4×6 cm photos and cash for stamping fee,
- Put all above mentioned things along with your passport in a bag
Step 3: Get the visa stamped upon arrival
Upon landing, head to the Landing Visa (Visa on Arrival) Counter, present the following documents to the immigration officers to get the visa stamped onto your passport:
- Your passport, visa approval letter
- 2 4×6 cm photos, taken within six months from the date of travel
- Vietnamese visa application form
- Stamping fee
Step 4: Get immigration stamp at the immigration line
This is the last step. Whether you apply for a visa at the embassy, consulate, using e-visa, or visa on arrival, you still have to line up at the immigration line.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Vietnam Visa on Arrival
See why many travelers often prefer Vietnam visa on arrival to other methods:
- The fee for agencies’ service may be cheaper than the total fees that you pay to the embassy or consulates
- The visa policies are often changed, so the agencies are more up-to-date with this information and it will save your time
- It is faster (often within 48 hours or as little as 2 hours)
- The amount of English information on the Vietnam government’s official sites is not enough while agencies have invested more time and money on this
- Only a few countries and cases get visa exemption for a limited number of days (approximately from 15 days to 30 days), and only a few countries can apply for e-visa
But there are some problems with the Vietnam visa on arrival as well. To use a Vietnam visa on arrival, you have to:
- Do a lot of research to find credible visa agencies and reasonable pricing
- Pay an extra fee for the service besides the stamping fee. And if you want to have your visa faster, service fee gets even higher
- Do a lot of paper works at the airport
- Wait in a long line at the Visa Landing (Visa on Arrival) Counter
- Arrive at one of the five international airports only. With such limited ports of entry, it is a challenge for those who plan to come to Vietnam by crossing the border on land or going on a cruise
Summary on How to Get a Vietnam VOA – Visa on Arrival
With the facilitation of the internet, the Vietnam visa application procedure has become much easier than before. We hope that the information in this guide will help you have a clear overview and have a good preparation before applying.
If you have successfully nailed the visa and are ready to travel to Vietnam, check out more information to prepare for your travel with our other guides to Tan Son Nhat Airport Guide, Vietnam SIM cards and transportation in Vietnam, which are very useful information when you first landed in Vietnam.
Moreover, Vietnam is a beautiful country with healthy and delicious cuisine; you could do a little more research on attractions and foods to add to your list. Also, don’t forget to check out our food tours as well as sightseeing tours in Ho Chi Minh City, which aims to give you the most original memories while you are here.
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