How to get a Vietnam Visa On Arrival

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Need a tourist visa for Vietnam? We’ll show you the options and which one is the cheapest and fastest way to get a Vietnam visa.

Vietnam Visa Passport in Hanoi Street

The Vietnam visa process has changed several times in the last two years. We have tried to keep this article as up-to-date as possible. As always, you need to get a visa (or documentation for a visa on arrival) before you arrive in Vietnam. 

Update 2/16/2017: You can now obtain an e-visa through the Vietnamese government if you are a passport holder from one of 40 countries (yes, USA and UK are on the list). You’re able to get a 30-day, single entry visa for $25 USD by applying through the Vietnam e-visa page.

It’s supposedly a 2-year pilot period, so the process may change again in the future. If your country is not on the list or you are looking to get a mulitple entry visa or one for longer than 30 days, continue reading below.

You’ve decided to travel to Vietnam. Great choice! There’s so much to experience throughout this vast country, you’ll never be bored! We even have a month-long backpacking itinerary for Vietnam filled with all the great things you can do, so you’re planning is all done! 

There’s one problem though… Getting in. The Vietnam visa process is one of the most complicated (and kind of screwy) diplomatic systems we’ve ever experienced abroad. In fact, we met many people who avoided Vietnam altogether solely because they thought obtaining visa was too difficult. 

But it doesn’t have to be that hard. There are basically three ways to get a Vietnam visa: 1) within your home country’s Vietnam Embassy, 2) at a foreign country’s Vietnam Embassy, or 3) online with a Vietnam visa on arrival.  

One of these processes is far cheaper and more convenient than the other two. Keep reading to find the best Vietnam visa process for you.

Did you know Vietnam is a great place to teach English? Find out how to get certified to teach English abroad.

1. Mail your passport to your home country Vietnam Embassy 

You’re a smart traveler and you like to plan ahead for everything before you leave home. You follow the instructions on the Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and send your passport with the application in the mail to the closest Vietnam Embassy.

They’ll process it, place the visa sticker in your passport and then a few days later they’ll send it back to you. Seems simple enough, right? Well it is, but you end up paying double or even triple the amount a normal Vietnam visa costs.

For example, a single entry, one-month visa will cost $100 USD. The price for a single entry, three-month visa will set you back $140 USD! This is far more money than the other two methods. Additionally, you’ll have to part with your passport while they process it. 

2. Travel to a foreign country’s Vietnam Embassy

This process is only for travelers who will be in a neighboring country prior to entering Vietnam (aka Cambodia, Laos or China).

Let’s say you’ve already started traveling in Cambodia or Laos and your plans are to travel by land to Vietnam. To get a visa, you must travel to the capital city of the country you’re in, taxi to the Vietnamese embassy, fill out the forms, leave you passport for one to three days, then come back for the embassy and pick up your passport with the visa attached. 

You can choose how fast you want the process to take, but you’ll pay more for a quicker processing time. For example, here are the costs for a 1-month single entry tourist visa:

  • Standard 3-Day processing time: $40 USD

  • Expedited Same Day processing time: $50 USD

It may seem like a reasonable price to pay, but you have to factor in traveling to the capital city, taxis to and from embassy and the invaluable price of parting with your passport for a few days in a foreign country. So in total you could tack on at least an additional $20-$40 USD in extra expenses.

Green Rice Fields Vietnam Visa On Arrival

3. Purchase your Vietnam Visa Online (Visa on Arrival)

Getting a Vietnam visa online is the most popular of the 3 options, because it’s the most convenient and the cheapest. Doing the Vietnam visa process online means that you will get your tourist visa on arrival (VOA).

Basically, you’ll get your visa placed in your passport when you land at the airport during immigration. For this option, you must fly into Vietnam. You cannot arrive by land or boat (But if you Google the horror stories of traveling to Vietnam by bus, you might just choose to fly!).

It may seem strange, but in order to get a Vietnam Visa on Arrival, you must have a travel agency “sponsor” your time in Vietnam by writing an invitation letter of sorts. In reality, you have no connection with the tour agency except for them assisting you in obtaining this visa.

Once you pay a service fee online, you’ll receive an email a few days later with an attached visa approval letter.

When you land at the airport in Vietnam, go to the immigration counter with your PRINTED visa approval letter, passport, and the exact amount of money (in cash) for the visa stamping fee. Once the officials stamp the visa in your passport, you’re free to explore Vietnam!

Warning: There are many sleazy individuals who saw an opportunity to take advantage of naive travelers and have created fake online visa services. Even the U.S. Department of State has sent out warnings about these thieves.

Psst! Planning a trip to Vietnam? You’ll want to check out this rundown of the best Vietnamese street food to try before you get there!

How to Choose an Online Vietnam Visa Agency

Truthfully, it’s hard to tell the difference between real companies and the fake ones. That’s why we created this post and want to share a real and reliable site we trust and recommend: Vietnam-Visa.com

Green Valley Vietnam Visa On Arrival

How much does the Vietnam Visa On Arrival (VOA) cost?

No matter what online company you go with, there are two fees associated with a Vietnam Visa On Arrival: 1. Stamping fee and 2. Service fee.

1. The stamping fee is the same no matter which company you go with. It is $25 USD for a single entry visa or $50 USD for a multiple entry visa. This amount is paid at the Immigration counter at the airport in CASH (preferably with crisp bills).

2. The service fees are what vary between the online companies. Vietnam-Visa.com has reasonable service fees shown below:

  • 1-month, single entry visa: $21 USD

  • 1-month, multiple entry visa: $26 USD

  • 3-month, single entry visa: $34 USD

  • 3-month, multiple entry visa: $55 USD

There are some tourist agencies that charge more for this service, and others that charge less. The thing is that when going through a process like this, you want to be sure you’re going through a reputable company who’ll get your papers to you in a reasonable time and filled out correctly.

We heard stories of other travelers who never got their approval letter, or who had to wait longer than the time they had agreed upon. We always choose to go with trustworthy companies, even if it is a few dollars more. And we only recommend companies we truly trust. 

Vietnam-visa.com has a standard processing time of only two days (while many companies are three to four, or even longer). If you need your approval letter rushed in one working day it will cost $10 USD more. If you’re really in a rush, you can even get your approval letter within 4 working hours for an extra $25 USD. Feel free to check them out and make sure to take a look at their testimonials of real travelers.

Note: Be sure when you apply to request your information be sent privately. We recently found out, due to the high volumes of visas applicants, immigration typically groups applicants together on the same approval letter (up to ten different names). If you want to keep you information private (i.e. passport number) you can ask Vietnam-Visa.com to send your approval letter seperate.

Once you’re ready to apply, simply follow the directions below:

  1. Fill out your information on Vietnam-Visa.com, pay the service fee and submit your application. Make sure to include arrival airport, processing time, and length of stay (1 month or 3 months).

  2. Once your application is processed, check your email, verify all the information is correct on the approval letter and PRINT out your approval letter.

  3. Fly to Vietnam

  4. Go to the Immigration Counter with your passport, approval letter and stamping fee ($25 USD cash for a single entry visa or $50 USD cash for a multiple entry visa).

  5. Wait for immigration to call your name, receive your passport with visa stamped inside, and welcome to Vietnam!

Now you’re ready to explore Vietnam! Be sure to check out our Complete One-Month Vietnam Travel Itinerary, which you can use as your guide. 

*Disclaimer: There are some affiliate links on this page, which means when you click we might get a small percentage of the purchase, at no extra cost to you! This allows us to keep sharing great travel tips, so feel free to click away!

Southeast Asia Packing List | Two Wandering Soles

Are you planning a trip to Vietnam?

We have TONS of resources on travel in Vietnam and destinations throughout the country. Check out our Ultimate Vietnam Travel Guide for all the answers to your most burning questions, or read some of our favorite articles below.

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Vietnam Visa On Arrival
Vietnam Visa On Arrival

We want to hear from you!

Have you been to Vietnam? How did you obtain your tourist visa? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Comments (22) on “How to get a Vietnam Visa On Arrival

  1. d.hall45@yahoo.com says:

    Thanks for your visa info. I lost my question as I’m reading conflicting info online. In January 2019 I’m visiting Vietnam for 12 days, so do I initially need to apply or pay for any visa at all, as I’m flying in, traveling solo from the UK, as a tourist for the first time?

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      As far as I know, UK citizens citizens are visa exempt (do not need a visa) up to 14 days in Vietnam. But please check with your local government to be sure.

  2. Vanjenny88@gmail.com says:

    Where is the 3th picture that is above? I love hikes that lead to excellent views and this is a view worth seeing. Any chance you could tell me where this is and how to get there?

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Hey Jenny. The third picture is of the Hai Van Pass road that is just north of Hoi An. For this, we actually took day trip on a motorbike up here. It’s one of the most fun motobike rides we have ever taken.

  3. abroadimmigration98@gmail.com says:

    Nice Blog!!! Thanks for sharing the helpful information about how to get a student visa. Your Share information about study visa is too helpful the students, who want to wish to get study in abroad. I hope student liked your post very much.
    Thanks Again!!!

  4. lethiphuonganh@yahoo.com says:

    This information may helpful for some of you. From 1 July 2015 to end of 30 June 2018, citizens of the United Kingdom, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Spain and the Italian Republic holding different kinds of passports are exempt from visa requirements and are allowed to stay for not more than 15 days.

    For more information on Vietnam visa please visit http://vietnamtourism.com/en/index.php/useful/items/2282

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Thank you Anh for the additional information for European citizens visiting Vietnam. I have double checked your information and you’re correct. Citizens from the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy can visit Vietnam for less than 15 days visa free (as long as you have 6 months validity left in your passport). If you need/want more time in Vietnam, you must obtain a visa through one of the methods we describe in the article.

      Because the immigration laws seem to continuously change in Vietnam (and I unfortunately cannot keep up with all the changes for every country), I would encourage every traveler to double and triple check your country’s immigration and visa rules for visiting Vietnam.

  5. bwzweber@gmail.com says:

    UPDATE as of 2/16/2017: You can now obtain an e-visa through the Vietnamese government if you are a passport holder from one of 40 countries (yes, USA and UK are on the list). You’re able to get a 30-day, single entry visa for $25 USD by applying through the Vietnam e-visa page (link is at the top of the article. It supposedly is 2-year pilot period, so the process may change again in the future. If your country is not on the list or you are looking to get a mulitple entry visa or one for longer than 30 days, continue reading the article for how to get a visa on arrival.

  6. Manel.EverythingZany@gmail.com says:

    Hi. Is this still the prevailing rule, or has it been changed? Some posts indicate that citizens of some countries can enter without a visa(?) Anyway, our first experience was not a very good one — stretched our patience and wallets to the limit getting a visa (https://everythingzany.com/vietnam-visa-scam-using-british-passport/), but my mum wants to go visit, and so we’re returning before Christmas. Keeping our fingers crossed that this company will help us get a visa without a hitch this time.

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Hi Manelsy, you always need a visa to travel in Vietnam, and you have obtain the visa before your travels or have documentation that you will receive it when you land (visa on arrival). I am so sorry to hear about your bad experience. I have personally only had positive experiences with this company I recommended. I do want to point out that I have updated this article because the Vietnamese Government started issuing e-visa for 40 different nationalities. I put the link at the top of the article. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers!

  7. awaagner@gmail.com says:

    I used this company on your recommendation, and I just received my letter via email…that was apparently mailed to 10+ other people along with my full name, birthdate, and passport number which are all included in the letter! Was this your experience? I’m extremely concerned about my personal information being shared with other travelers using this company, and don’t feel that that was properly disclosed at the beginning of the process.

    • twowanderingsoles@gmail.com says:

      Hi Alaina, Thank you for reaching out. We had a wonderful experience with this company, and that is why we have recommended them, but your experience is very concerning to us. We are contacting them right away to dig a little deeper into this situation. Could you please send us an email at twowanderingsoles@gmail.com so we make sure we fully understand the situation? Thank you in advance.

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Hey Katie, whether you are going to Vietnam for a day or for three months, you need a visa. You can get this either before you leave your home country, or you can get a Visa on Arrival by getting it online and then getting stamped when you arrive in Vietnam. Check out the links in the article for more information.

  8. beckyjofashion@gmail.com says:

    Even from the EU, the same conditions apply for a visa. I want to go there, but I don’t really have the time go care for the paperwork right now. I don’t know if the visa on arrival applies to EU nationals. Another thing to check out…

    For such an interesting country, it’s quite hard to get in. 🙂

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      It is quite hard to get into, actually one of the more complicated processes we’ve experienced. I would say check out the Vietnam Visa site in the post. It’s really quick and simple. I’m pretty sure the same conditions apply for EU nationals as they do for Americans.

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey Becky Jo! You’re right, Vietnam is such an interesting country! It is a little tricky figuring out the visa process, but we laid it out pretty detailed in this article, so hopefully that helps you get started. We actually found the paperwork not that bad (compared to a few other countries, like India, for example). It’s just kind of a process, but oh SO worth it because it means you get to explore this incredible country! Best of luck!

  9. steiner.soph@gmail.com says:

    Just went to Vietnam, and they actually just changed the rules recently for US citizens. US citizens can only get a 1-year multi-entry visa now, which costs $135 per person on arrival. That was a huge surprise to us when we got there, so just wanted to make everyone aware of that!

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey Sophie, Thanks for the new information. We have updated the article. Bummer about those increased fees! We hope you enjoyed your time in Vietnam!

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      UPDATE: As of December 15th 2016, US citizens can get the same visas (1-month single/multiple entry and 3-months single/multiple entry) as other nationalities. There were too many complaints about only being able to get the 1-year visa, so the government changed the visas back to how they were before. Hooray!!

Comments are closed.