Getting into Vietnam can be complicated. Resources online all say different things. So for your traveling needs, we’ve assembled all the resources you need to get a visa to Vietnam.

The easiest way to get a visa into Vietnam is to apply for the e-visa for citizens of 40 countries. More details below. Vietnam does have a visa on arrival but it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours waiting in line to get the visa on arrival. Too many tourists don’t realize they need a visa until too late, so they end up waiting in crowds right in front of customs. The best rule of thumb is to get all of your paperwork done beforehand.

Overseas Vietnamese can easily apply for a 5-year-visa at any Vietnamese embassy or consulate*. As of May 2016, this visa has changed from the original restriction of 3 months to 6 months. If you received a 5-year visa before May 2016, your 3-month visa is automatically converted into a 6-month visa. For all the overseas Vietnamese out there, make sure to take advantage of this visa before arrival. It’s not available on arrival. Finally, remember that the minimum stay you can have for a normal visa is one month and the longest one is 6 months. We’ve got a rundown below that outlines all the prices.

*this visa will ask you to leave the country every 180 days. you can also get it stamped every 180 days for a fee of up to $30, but why not have an excuse to get out of the country once in awhile.

vietnam visa

Table of Contents

Short-term VisasFive-year VisaLinks to every Vietnamese EmbassyNitty Gritty FAQ

Short-term Visas

As of February 2017, Vietnam introduced an online e-visa system for citizens of 40 countries, including America. You apply online and in three days, you’ll receive notice of your status. To apply, go to the dual-language Vietnam E-Visa Web Portal.

For Asian travelers from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, you can stay fewer than 15-30 days without needing to get a visa in advance. Europeans from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom can enjoy a free visa exemption for visits less than 15 days.

For those from anywhere else, including America, this section of the article is most important to you. The application may be submitted online, in-person, via mail or email.

Stamping or online visa fee:

  • Single entry: $25
  • Multiple entries (1-3 months): $50
  • Multiple entries (3-6 months): $95
  • Multiple entries (6-12 months): $135
  • Multiple entries (1-2 years): $145
  • Multiple entries (2-5 years): $155

Visa approval document fee for tourist visas (prices depends on each visa agency or embassy). You can avoid this fee entirely now if you apply using the e-visa.

  • 1 month single entry: $13 (as of August 29th 2016, there is no longer a $25 single-entry option for Americans)
  • 1 month multiple entry: $14.5
  • 3 month single entry: $19.5
  • 3 month multiple entry: $49
  • Five-year Visa

vietnam visa

Five-year Visa

If you or your parents have Vietnamese origins, you can apply for the five year visa. It’s basically a five year visa which requires you to leave Vietnam every six months (you could actually just cross the border in Cambodia and turn right back around). Most people will take this as an opportunity to visit another country in Southeast Asia.

In order to get this visa, you usually don’t need much. Although the official website lists many different items, some of us at Vietcetera have actually just walked into our local embassy with just our passports and walked out 20 minutes later with a 5-year visa. All we needed was $100 (an extra $20 for a quick completion). The fee varies, one of us got lucky at the consulate in San Francisco and was rung up for only $50. Keep in mind, the fee might go up, so make sure to bring extra money just in case.

For the sake of being careful, we’ve listed the necessary paperwork at the bottom of this article in the FAQ section.

UK: http://www.vietnamembassy.org.uk/
Australia: http://vietnamembassy.org.au/
South Africa: http://www.vietnam.co.za/
Canada: http://vietem-ca.com/
Ireland: http://vietnamembassy.ie/

Find your Vietnamese embassy: http://www.vietnameseembassy.org/

FAQ

How do I get a visa at the nearest Vietnam Embassy/Consulate:

General information

The application can be submitted in-person, via mail or email.

The normal processing time is five business days since the receipt of complete application. Express service is available upon request (additional processing fee required).
Since March 14th 2014, all the application forms must be completed online and be printed in black and white with high quality printer. Click here for online form or visit: http://visa.mofa.gov.vn

How to apply:

Via Online (the easiest, fastest, and cheapest option):

As of February 2017, Vietnam introduced an online e-visa system for citizens of 40 countries, including America. You apply online and in three days, you’ll receive notice of your status. To apply, go to the dual-language Vietnam E-Visa Web Portal.

Via Email
You need to contact the nearest Vietnam Embassy to ask for the visa fee and payment method. You then scan and send your full application to the email address of the Vietnam Embassy of your country.

A full application includes:

  • Scan copy of your passport picture page
  • Visa application form (completed online, saved as PDF file and attached to the email)
  • One color picture taken within twelve months of the date of applying
  • Evidence of payment (transfer receipt, bank statement, screenshot)
  • Visa approval document issued by the Immigration Department (Ministry of Public Security) or the Consular Department, the
  • Department of External Relations of the Ho Chi Minh city (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Visa collection: you may need to collect visa by visiting the nearest Embassy or have your visa mailed to your address.

Via Mail

You need to contact the nearest Vietnam Embassy to ask for the visa fee and payment method. You then send your application via mail to the Embassy.

  • A full application includes:
  • Original valid passport
  • Visa application form (completed online, saved as PDF file and attached to the email)
  • One (1) colour picture taken within twelve (12) months of the date of applying
  • Evidence of payment (transfer receipt, bank statement, screenshot) or cash
  • Visa approval document issued by the Immigration Department (Ministry of Public Security) or the Consular Department, the
  • Department of External Relations of the Ho Chi Minh city (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Your mailing address

Visa collection: you will have your passport with stamped visa mailed to your address

In person

Arrive at the Embassy during working hours with your materials in-hand.

A full application includes:

  • Original valid passport
  • Visa application form (completed online, saved as PDF file and attached to the email)
  • One (1) colour picture taken within twelve (12) months of the date of applying
  • Visa application fee in cash
  • Visa approval document issued by the Immigration Department (Ministry of Public Security) or the Consular Department, the
  • Department of External Relations of the Ho Chi Minh city (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Visa collection: you’ll receive a receipt, which states the date your visa is ready for collection

2. How do I get a Visa on Arrival (VOA)

General information

This is an alternative way to get a visa for your trip to Vietnam. This visa is the same as a visa obtained before arrival. You can get a visa stamp when arriving at either Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Danang International Airport.

You can check before applying whether your country is eligible for VOA or not here.

How to apply for a VOA:

In order to get your VOA, you must obtain an official Letter of Approval for picking up visa at the border checkpoint issued by the Immigration Department, the Consular Department or the Department of External Affairs of Ho Chi Minh city. There are many Vietnamese agents offer the service of issuing Letter of Approval. The fee charged from those agents ranged from $10, depending on the type of visa.

Information required by VOA agents:

Your full name (as shown on your passport)

  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Date of Birth
  • Passport Number
  • Passport Expiry Date
  • Type of Visa and the validity
  • Date of Arrival
  • Airport of Arrival

Reputable Visa Agents

http://www.vietnamvisago.com/
http://polviet.com/index.php?page=visaen
http://www.vietnamvoa.com/
http://www.myvietnamvisa.com/
http://vietnamvisapro.com/
https://vietnamvisa.govt.vn/

After filling all required information, you will be ask to make a payment online. Remember that the money you pay for the agent is just a processing fee for the Letter of Approval. It’s separate from the government-issued fee. You will need to pay the Stamping Fee at the airport.

It usually takes the agent two or three business days after the payment made to email you the Letter of Approval. The letter will have your name on it (most of the times, you will see other people’s names as well because the agent makes bulk applications). The agent will also send you an “Application for a Vietnamese Visa” (N1 Form), which is a two page document (this form is available upon arrival but you will usually have to queue to obtain it).

A Letter of Approval looks like this:

Vietnam Visa

Procedure after receiving Letter of Approval

  • Make sure all information is correct: Your name, nationality, entry/exit date, validity (single or multiple)
  • Print out the entire Letter of Approval as you will need it to board the plane and to obtain visa when you arrive at the airport.
  • Download and fill the Application for a Vietnamese Visa in advance
  • After landing, go to the VISA ON ARRIVAL/LANDING VISA counter to submit your documents (your passport, completed N1 Form, the entire Letter of Approval and ONE passport size photo). Your name will be called when your visa is ready. You then need to pay visa stamping fee in cash (check the fee below) to take your passport back.

3. How do I get a 5-year visa exemption?

5-year visa exemption certificate:

5-year visa exemption certificate:

Who can apply:

  • Vietnamese residing overseas and foreigners who are spouses, children of Vietnamese people residing overseas or of Vietnamese citizens.
  • Agencies, organizations and individuals involved.

Some conditions:

  • The visa exemption certificate is valid for up to 5 years and expires at least 6 months before the expiration of the holder’s passport or international travel document
  • Those entering with visa exemption certificates shall have a temporary residence certificate valid for 6 months, issued by the immigration control units, for each entry. If the remaining validity of the visa exemption certificate is less than 6 months, the duration of the temporary residence certificate shall be granted by the remaining validity of the visa exemption certificate.

Fees for issuance of visa exemption certificates

We’ve heard mixed news about the fees, though one recent data point tells us that a $50 fee was charged to process an expedited visa exemption at the Consulate of Vietnam in San Francisco. I would budget at least $100.

How to apply

A full application includes:

  • The Visa Exemption Application form, you can download it here.
  • U.S. Passport (valid for at least 6 months) and one black and white photocopy of your passport name and photo page.
  • 2 color photos of yourself (4 x 6 cm)
  • Vouching form (Giay Bao Lanh). This is a form from a Vietnamese citizen that would vouch for you. Unfortunately, the form is in Vietnamese. But if your friend or family member is Vietnamese, they should be able to read it fine.