Traveling anywhere, whether local or abroad, can leave any traveler with questions about their trip. Where will you stay? What are your plans upon arrival? And more importantly, for those who are traveling outside of the country, you may be asking, “What about a visa?”
Visas are commonly used for those who are wishing to travel to other countries, whether that’s from New York to London or a vacation to India. The steps required to obtain a visa vary from country to country, but today we’re going to be answering questions directly related to a required visa for visiting Vietnam.
1. What is Visa on Arrival? Vietnam
Visa on Arrival ( VOA ) is a legal document approved by the Department of Immigration. Some of the benefits outlined in a VOA are as follows:
- Legitimate: VOA is granted and approved by the Vietnam Department of Immigration.
- Convenient: Involves an easy online application and doesn’t require you to send a passport or photos. It often doesn’t require waiting or have delays in the process.
- Cheap: Is often the lowest fee and best service afforded.
- Fast: A Visa on Arrival application can be completed within two business days. Often if there is an emergency, a Vietnam visa may be given within two to three hours.
2. Is the “Visa on Arrival” legitimate?
Yes, it is! Vietnam Visa on Arrival is another way you are able to receive an authorized visa to visit Vietnam. Known for being a convenient way to obtain a visa in a short amount of time, a VOA has been mentioned in various news outlets, some of which include The New York Times, USA Today, Trip Advisor, and CNN. The New York Times stated that while a visa to visit Vietnam is required of Americans, an entry visa may start out as low as 17 dollars, depending on your length of stay or entries. VOAs are granted by the Vietnam Department of Immigration, which arranges for documents to be picked up upon arrival at one of Vietnam’s international airports.
3. What is the Approval Letter?
The Visa Approval Letter is a letter issued by the Immigration Department of Vietnam allowing you to enter and exit Vietnam for a given period of time. With your Approval Letter, you can pick up your Visa on Arrival at one of three international airports in Vietnam. These international airports include:
- Da Nang
- Ho Chi Minh City
- Nha Trang
At the airport, the entry authority will verify the details of the Approval Letter based on your passport and travel documents. As long as you have entered the correct information on your visa application, you should have no problems being granted entry into Vietnam with your Approval Letter.
4. How long does it take to get the Approval Letter?
The Approval Letter is processed and emailed to you within two (2) business days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and national or international holidays). In some cases, you may be able to receive an Approval Letter within the following:
- Processed within 4 to 8 hours: +$20/applicant
- Processed within 1 business day: +$10/applicant
- For urgent processing on national or international holidays, please call us or contact us via email for details and assistance
Please take note that the above urgent processing times do not apply for Friday afternoons after 12 pm until Monday morning. Also, please consider the time difference between Vietnam and your application location. The visa counters at Vietnam’s international airports are open 24/7. As long as you have your Approval Letter, you will still be able to get your Vietnam visa on the weekend.
5. How do I receive my visa Approval Letter?
Receiving your Approval Letter is easy and convenient: a scanned file of your Approval Letter will be sent to you via email, so please be sure you have provided us with your correct email address. You will need the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to open the file.
6. Are there any exceptions for entry with this type of visa?
Visa on Arrival is only valid for air travelers. Travelers entering Vietnam by land or by sea must visit a Vietnam Embassy to get their visa stamp. Your Approval Letter will be accepted at all Vietnam international airports:
- Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)
- Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)
- Danang Airport (Da Nang)
- Cam Ranh Airport (Nha Trang)
There is a 15-day free visa exemption that has been extended to June 2020 for passport holders from the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany. Travelers from these countries are allowed to travel to Vietnam without a visa for 15 days. There are also other countries that are exempt from visas for 14-90 day stays such as Japan, South Korea, Philippines, and Chile. Longer term Vietnam visas will need to be obtained through Visa on Arrival or at the local embassy.
7. Do you require a scan of my passport?
A scan of your passport is not required for an online visa application.
8. Do I need a photo? If so, what size photo do I need?
Yes; a photo ID is required upon arrival in Vietnam’s airports, so please remember to bring at least two standard photos of passport size (4cm x 6cm).
Please note that if you do not have time to prepare these photos before your departure, you can have them taken at a Vietnam airport for $2 USD or less per photo.
9. What if my passport has expired?
To apply for a visa to visit Vietnam, your passport must be valid for at least six months following your application. Therefore, if your passport is about to expire, please renew it before applying for a visa to Vietnam in order to avoid unwanted issues at the airport.
10. Should I provide you with the exact date of my arrival?
The arrival date you provide should be the earliest you plan to arrive, but you can arrive after that date. The departure date you provide will be the last day you are permitted to be in the country unless you get a visa extension.
For example, if you apply for a one-month visa and submit your arrival date as Jan. 1, 2016, your Approval Letter will be valid from Jan. 1—Feb. 1, 2016. That means you are able to enter the country during that month, but must leave on February 1st.
11. What is the Stamping Fee?
The Stamping Fee is the fee you are required to pay at a Vietnam airport in order to get the official Vietnam visa stamped in your passport. The fee is $25 USD for a single-entry visa (1-3 months), and $50 USD for a multiple-entry visa (1-3 months).
Remember: The Stamping Fee must be paid in cash (Vietnam dong or U.S. dollars). No credit cards are accepted.
12. Can I travel without an Approval Letter and still get a visa when I arrive?
No, you cannot! In order to board the plane, you must show your Approval Letter to the airline. We strongly recommend that you apply for your Vietnam visa before you leave for Vietnam in order to avoid a delay or change in your flight.
13. What if I change my flight and arrive at another airport in Vietnam?
Visa on Arrival works at any of Vietnam’s four international airports: Tan Son Nhat (Ho Chi Minh City), Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi), Danang Airport (Da Nang) and Cam Ranh Airport (Nha Trang). If you change your flight to another one of these airports you shouldn’t expect any problems along the way.