Vietnam finally opened their borders to international tourists on mid-2022! Holders of most passports now simply need to apply for an online visa, or eVisa, before entering. Moreover, 25 nationalities can enter Vietnam visa-free!
Now that we’ve already covered the different types of visas in Vietnam, it’s time to answer: what is the best way to apply for your visa to Vietnam?
I will walk you through the different ways to obtain your Vietnamese visa and how to use it properly. I’ve also got a US-specific article on how to apply for a Vietnam visa as a US citizen and a guide to extending your Vietnam visa, should you decide to stay longer.
If you are lucky enough to be holding a passport from one of these 25 countries, you won’t need a visa to enter Vietnam. The number of days you can enter Vietnam without a visa is indicated on the left. This is also called visa exemption.
All you have to do is buy your flight, show up, and you are good to go!
|30||Cambodia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand|
|15||Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (not application to British Nationals Overseas)|
Note: Please note that these nationalities should have 30 days gap between two visa-free visits. Also, you must show an onward ticket. If you don’t have one, a Dummy Ticket also works.
Countries Eligible for E-visa
The below countries are eligible for the Vietnam E-Visa. You can see the most current list of 80 countries here, as it sometimes changes.
|Armenia||Colombia||Japan||Micronesia||New Zealand||Philippines||South Korea||Vanuatu|
|Azerbaijan||Fiji||Liechtenstein||Monaco||Norway||Russia||Timor-Leste||All EU countries|
|Belarus||Georgia||Macau||Mongolia||Palau||Samoa||United Arab Emirates|
|Brunei||Hong Kong||Malta||Montenegro||Panama||San Marino||United Kingdom|
|Canada||Iceland||Marshall Islands||Myanmar||Papua New Guinea||Serbia||United States|
*not applicable for e-passport holders
It is recommended to apply for your eVisa at least a week in advance. It takes 3-5 business days to process the E-visa. Travelers often report forgetting to do this on time, then they face a tricky situation of whether they should get on the plane or not when they don’t have the visa yet!
To apply for your e-visa, you’ll need to submit a jpg photo of your passport’s main page, a jpg passport photo (official size and image requirements), an email address, credit card number for paying the fee, address of your first stay in Vietnam, and entry/exit dates.
It’s important to note that E-visas can NOT be extended. If you enter on an e-Visa, and you want to stay longer, you’ll need to leave Vietnam and then re-enter.
Getting a Visa through an Embassy
An old but usually reliable way to get your visa to Vietnam is definitely through a Vietnam embassy in your home country or your current base.
The only downside of this option is the speed of the processing. Some embassies take only a few days, while others take a week or more.
Another hassle is the requirements. Some embassies are stricter. They might ask you for more documents. On the plus side, you are sure that you are in safe hands and no scam will happen, plus the fees can be cheaper than other options.
Some visas, like permanent visas, working visas, student visas, or others can only be processed by the Vietnam embassies or consulates.
Things to check before you submit a visa application through the embassy or consulate:
- Check the nearest embassy or consulate – this list might help.
- Find out if they process the visa that you specifically need.
- Check the length of the processing.
- Compare the fees to online options.
- Inspect the requirements.
- If in doubt, send an email or make a phone call to address your concerns.
RELATED POST: What you need to know about teaching English in Vietnam
Getting a Visa through an Agency
Yet another option is to get your Vietnam visa from a travel agency. Getting your visa through an agency has its advantage for sure, like the speed of the process and the convenience.
However, a potential but serious downside to this option is that sometimes it’s hard to know if the agency is legit or not. Do your research and read their reviews online first. Reach out to their customer service if you have questions.
Things to remember to ask and check with your travel agency:
- How long will it take to process the visa?
- Can they process the visa you specifically need?
- What are the fees compared to your other options?
- Do they have good (or any?) reviews online?
Getting a Vietnam Visa in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
You can easily arrange a Vietnam visa in Cambodia. If you are in Phnom Penh, you can go to numerous travel agencies and compare their prices. They are generally pretty fast and fairly priced. Still, watch out for bogus agencies. Try to go with one that seems reputable or is recommended online/by other travelers.
Personally, I went to Lucky! Lucky! Moto Shop and Visa. In front of their office is a motorbike repair shop. Go through it and you will see the door, or simply ask anyone on the shop. I managed to get a 3-month tourist visa with multiple entries and paid $85 US. It took about 2 days to process.
If you come early in the day the process might be faster. Normally it’s 3-4 business days depending on the type. Simply check on GoogleMaps for location. It’s not far from the main backpackers’ area.
You can also do it through the Vietnamese Embassy (see section above), but the process is longer because they can be very busy.
Please note that if you were given an invitation letter from an agency in Vietnam for getting a new Vietnam visa once you leave and re-enter, this cannot be used at land borders.
Also see my guide to traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.
Getting a Vietnam Visa in Luang Prabang, Laos
If you are crossing the border from Laos to Vietnam, you can get a Vietnam visa in Luang Prabang through the Vietnamese Consulate. Just like I described above, you can do this at travel agencies in the city’s backpackers’ area.
Like I mentioned above, an invitation cannot be used visa land border unless the letter specified the border point and you have the original copy of the invitation letter (not printed off from your email).
You can also apply at the Vietnamese Consulate there by following these steps:
- Head to their office in 417-418 That Boset Village, Luang Prabang which is 15-20 minute walk from the market centre
- Their office is only between 8-11:30am and 1:30-5pm Monday to Friday
- Go as early as you can as it can be busy throughout the day. I found out that it’s less busy in the middle of the week than on Mondays or Fridays
- Bring your passport (should be valid for the next 6 months and have at least one empty page ), passport ID with white background, US Dollars
- Once you get to the consulate, fill out a form, which can be found on the table right next on the glass windows
- Attach you passport ID (there should be a glue around the table)
- Submit your form together with your passport
- You will be called for payment and a piece of paper will be given back to you showing the time and date to pick up your passport
Also see my guide to traveling from Hanoi to Luang Prabang.
Getting a Business Visa or 1 year visa (US Citizens only)
If you are planning to relocate to Vietnam or find a job, getting a business visa is the way to go. Holding one will let you legally apply for a job, start a job (while processing your work permit), and sign an apartment.
While for US citizens, you can get a one (1) year business or tourist visa. Here is how you can do it:
- Go here and choose either tourist or business the visa
- Choose how many entries and validity you the visa to be
- Then choose the processing time (it helps a lot of you are in a rush but for an extra fee)
- If you need a visa for more than 1 person, you can choose that as well
- Next if to enter the entry date to Vietnam
- Lastly, choose which airport you will be entering Vietnam through (you can only use these visa through arriving in one of the international airports)
- Before you proceed, fill in your information where you’ll receive your visa’s invitation letter (double-check before proceeding to avoid the extra hassle)
- On the next page, you will have to enter your personal details (make sure that the information is right before proceeding to the next page)
- Here, you can review your details one last time, you can also choose some extra services if you want them. Regarding the “stamping fee” you don’t need to pay now but you will have to pay it when you arrive at the Vietnam immigration in US Dollars – you can choose either paying now or later
- On the right panel, you can choose the payment method you preferred
- Then click “MAKE THE PAYMENT”
- After paying, you will receive an email confirming the application. You will also receive your visa’s invitation letter through this email once it’s approved
- Once you receive it, you have to print this letter and present it at the immigration at the airport
I hope that you found this guide on how to apply for Vietnam visa helpful. If you have any questions regarding applying or obtaining a visa for Vietnam, feel free to leave a comment below.