3 Steps to Check Which Visa You Need in Vietnam
Want to know in a minute which Visa you need for Vietnam?
With this Visa guide, you will find out the type of visa you need in Vietnam by answering three easy quick questions. We also compare the best and cheapest websites to apply for your Visa.
It has become a very hard job to find trustworthy pages when searching for Visa information online and there are a lot of scams out there. They misuse immigration, embassy, and government in their domain name to let them appear official, but they are not!
There is only one official Visa website managed by the Vietnamese government:
You can find a lot of information on this website, but this website is slow and it takes a long time to find out which Visa you exactly need. That’s why I recommend answering the questions below:
1. Which Visa do you need?
Ask yourself these three questions to determine which visa you need:
1.1 Visa Exempted?
There are a total of 22 countries with Visa exemption when visiting Vietnam. If you are a passport holder of one of these countries, you can enter Vietnam for a certain number of days without applying for Vietnam Visa.
If you are re-entering Vietnam with Visa exemption, your entry date must be at least 30 days from your previous exit.
See here the Visa-exempted countries in Vietnam:
|Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore
|Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan,
Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
Also, all foreign passport holders don’t need Visa when visiting only Phu Quoc, the largest island in Vietnam. This visa exemption applies for a maximum of 30 days and is valid for transit through other international border gates of Vietnam.
Check the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism page for the complete list of Visa-exempted countries.
1.2 Staying for less than 30 days?
Are you staying for less than 30 days in Vietnam and your country is not Visa-exempted? Then, you need to apply for an e-Visa.
The e-Visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days with single entry through 33 international airports, land ports, and seaports in Vietnam.
Check the official e-Visa website to find out if your nationality is eligible for e-Visa.
- If your country is eligible for an e-Visa, jump to 2.1 e-Visa Application Process.
- If your country is not eligible for e-Visa, refer to question 1.3 below.
1.3 Staying for more than 30 days or wanting a multi-entry visa?
If you want to stay over 30 days or want to apply for a multiple-entry visa, you have to apply for a Letter of Approval. This letter is also required if your passport is not eligible for an e-Visa.
The Letter of Approval allows you to get your Visa stamp upon arrival in Vietnam. You will be denied boarding if you’re unable to present this letter.
Unlike the e-Visa that is accepted at airports, land ports and seaports, the Letter of Approval is accepted only at international airports in Vietnam. Only Ho Chi Minh, Ha Noi, Da Nang, Phu Quoc, Cam Ranh, and Cat Bi airports have Visa on arrival counters.
To apply for this letter, you have three options:
- Apply for a Letter of Approval that allows you to get your Visa upon arrival at Vietnam airport
- Get your Visa at the Vietnamese Embassy in your own country
- Have an agency arrange your Visa
2. How to apply for your Visa
2.1 e-Visa Application Process
The 30-day e-Visa costs $25 or around 590,000 VND and the application process takes about 3 business days.
You can apply for your e-Visa and check the status of your application on the official e-Visa website.
The e-Visa will be sent to you via e-mail. Print this document and bring it with you when you arrive at your chosen port of entry. At the airport, you can immediately head to the immigration counter with your e-Visa.
Official e-Visa website
- Upload your portrait photo (4x6cm) with white background and your passport data page.
- Fill out personal details.
- Provide information about your stay, such as length, arrival, and departure.
- Confirm the information filled out.
- Pay the $25 fee online through any of the payment methods. International cards like Visa, Mastercard, and JCB are usually accepted.
If you want to stay longer, you can apply for an extension after you enter Vietnam. However, if you already know that you will stay longer than 30 days, it is cheaper to apply for a 90-day Visa on arrival.
- Don’t forget to check if your country is included in the list of visa-exempted countries before applying. Your payment will not be refunded if you are not eligible for an e-Visa.
- Upload a clear portrait photo (4x6cm) for your application. Look into the camera and don’t wear glasses.
- You can test your photo on this official government page, but note that the website often fails to finish the test.
- For the intended temporary residential address in Vietnam, book a stay for your first day and use this address.
- For the intended length of stay in Vietnam (number of days), use the maximum number of days allowed (30 days) if you are unsure when you will exit Vietnam.
- For the exit through the checkpoint, if you do not have a flight ticket out of the country, fill out the city from which you expect to exit instead.
2.2 Letter of Approval (Visa on Arrival) Application Process
You need to apply for a Letter of Approval if you are not eligible for an e-Visa, want to stay over 30 days in Vietnam, or want to apply for a multi-entry visa.
Note that this letter of approval is not your Visa yet, but you will need to present this document to get your Visa stamp at the airport. Be sure to keep the letter with you, not stored in your luggage, as you will go through immigration prior to picking up your bags.
When entering Vietnam by air travel, present the Letter of Approval to the officer at the Visa on Arrival counter. You also need to pay the stamp fee of $25 (single entry) or $50 (multiple entry). Note that you need to pay in cash (either USD or Vietnamese dong), as cards are not accepted.
With your Visa stamp on your passport, you are allowed to stay in Vietnam for a maximum of 30 days.
The lowest price I could find to get this Letter of Approval is $13 from cheapvietnamvisa.net. I have to admit that the website looks a bit dodgy, but it worked really well for me and I also found good reviews for this website.
With CheapVietnamVisa, a 30-day Visa will cost you $38 in total: $13 for the Letter of Approval and $25 for the stamp fee. We also compiled here the cheapest fees for the Visas you can apply for:
|Type of entry
|300,000 VND ($13)
|590,000 VND ($25)
|590,000 VND ($25)
|470,000 VND ($20)
|1,000,000 VND ($43)
|1,180,000 VND ($50)
Price table of cheapvietnamvisa
If you don’t trust this website, you can also use Vietnam Visa Choice (recommended by Lonely Planet). However, fees are more expensive for the same service. The simplest option (30 days, single entry) starts from $20.
- Besides your Letter of Approval, you will need 2 portrait photos to get your visa stamp.
- Bring cash (USD or VND) to pay the stamp fee. It’s not possible to use an ATM before immigration.
- The Vietnamese government requires to have at least 10 names on the list of approved. This means your name will be visible to other people on this list as well. If you want more privacy, you can pay an additional 140,000 ($6) to 235,000 ($10) to get a private letter.
- With a Letter of Approval, you can officially only enter Vietnam at an airport. However, in some cases, you can also enter through a land border. Always double-check with the organisation that issued your Letter of Approval.
2.3 Visa on Arrival from Embassy or Agency
It is also possible to get your visa at the Embassy or through an agency but only for these two reasons:
- You are entering Vietnam through a land border.
- You are arriving at another airport other than Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang, Phu Quo, Cam Ranh, and Cat Bi.
If one of the two situations applies to you, you can double-check if the issuing company for your Letter of Approval allows this. Otherwise, you should apply for your visa at the Embassy in your country or at an agency.
Note: With this option, you don’t need to get the airport stamp anymore when you arrive in Vietnam. However, applying for a Visa at an agency or Embassy will always be more expensive. Also, you will either have to visit the Embassy or agency or send them your passport.
For more details, check out the website of the Vietnam Embassy or a local agency in your country.
3. Frequently Asked Questions
Is a return ticket required?
An outbound flight or bus ticket from Vietnam is required, but in most cases, they won’t ask you. However, if you don’t have this ticket, officials can refuse you from boarding the flight to Vietnam or deny your entry upon arrival at a Vietnam Airport. As a backup, you can always book a bus ticket outward of Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh (Cambodia) on Baolau for 850,000 VND ($36).
How long should my passport be valid?
Vietnam law requires the Visa expiration date to be at least 30 days before the passport expiry date. Keep in mind that airlines require your passport to be valid for at least another 6 months.
Can I enter Vietnam after the starting date or before the exit date of the Visa?
Yes, you can enter or exit Vietnam on any date within the validity period of your Visa.
What are the fees you have to pay for overstaying?
The fee for overstaying depends on how many days you overstayed in Vietnam. Vietnam doesn’t officially report these fees, but fines start from 590,000 VND ($25). You can prevent paying these fees by extending your Visa in Vietnam, but this process can take 5 or more days so you’ll want to apply in advance. Visit a local agency or the eVietnamVisa to extend your Visa while in Vietnam.
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Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.