Applying for Vietnam visa is absolutely not difficult at all, but you are advised to read all the regulations and rules before going ahead. Mistakes do happen, and it can be costly to correct while on holiday.
Always double check the rules for your country meaning the passport that you hold. Some countries whose citizens are exempted from Vietnam visa for 30 days; some countries have 15 days visa exemption and the others are limited from getting Vietnam visa on arrival.
Decide how long you want to stay for. If it is 15 days or less you can possibly receive a 15 days days visa free exemption, you can just turn up with your passport. The 15 days start from the day you enter and that day is day 1. You must leave on or before day 15. For instance, if you arrive on March 2nd, you must leave before midnight on March 16th, remembering to count March 2nd as day 1. For overstaying 1 – 2 days, you can pay the fine fee at the airport when you leave the country.
The countries whose citizens can take advantage of 15 – 30 day visa free are:
1. Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Laos passport holders for visits of 30 days at the maximum.
2. Philippines passport holders for visits of 21 days at the maximum.
3. Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia and Finland passport holders for visits of 15 days at the maximum and recent added countries including: Belarus, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom with 15 days visa free as well.
4. Brunei passport holders for visits of 14 days at the maximum.
Decide if you want to re-enter the country, for instance (and the most popular) you fly into Vietnam first then visit Cambodia and return to Vietnam for the flight to your home. In this case you will need a 30 day multiple entry visa, which does cost slightly more. If you return to Vietnam from Cambodia (or any other country) then you must get a multiple entry visa.
Decide if you want to purchase a VOA (Visa on arrival) or a Visa from your embassy (more expensive) or from 1 February 2017 an e-visa online. Here is further details on the three options:
VOA visa on arrival: This is done in two stages. Firstly go online in your own country at www.visumvietnamonline.com, you can apply for a VOA and you will be sent a letter of approval issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department which you will show with your passport on arrival in Vietnam. The advantage of this is it is cheap, the disadvantage is you do have to queue on arrival with all the others arriving applying for VOA. You must get your letter and passport checked, pay the stamping fee and a stamp is then added to your passport. It is usual to take about 30 to 40 minutes; it can take less, but it can take more.
A common mistake is to think you can turn up in Vietnam and think you can arrange VOA by yourself directly at arrival airport. No, you can’t! You must follow the two stage VOA procedure. It is pretty unlikely you would even get on to a flight if you turned up without a visa stamp or a visa VOA letter.
Vietnam Embassy visa: You will have to locate the Vietnam Embassy in the country that you are applying from. You can send or take your passport to the Vietnam Embassy to get your visa stamped. This is quite a lot more expensive, but you do not have to queue on arrival. In UK in normal conditions, it takes about 6 to 8 days sent by registered post.
Both the above options you can apply for a 30/90/180 day single entry or 30/90/180 day multiple entry or even 1 year single or multiple entry.
E-visa from 1 February 2017: Citizens from 40 countries will be eligible to apply for the e-visas starting on 1 February 2017:
9. South Korea
13. Czech Republic
16. Timor Leste
17. United States of America
23. United Kingdom
32. The Philippines
36. China (not applicable to Chinese e-passport holders)
Nationals of eligible countries will be able to apply for a 30-day single entry e-visa.
How to apply for e-visa for Vietnam from 2017:
- The foreigners go online at https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn and fill in the form with required information;
- After filling the form, they will receive a registration code and be redirected to the payment page;
- Once the payment complete, the foreigners will receive e-visa within 3 working days (if approved)
If you are not in the list or you want to stay in Vietnam more than 30 days, multiple entry you can select VOA or Vietnam Embassy visa application instead.