If you are from the US and planning to either move to Vietnam or travel here, you’ll be happy to know that you have some advantages when it comes to visa options.
While you won’t qualify for visa-free entry (see which countries do in our Vietnam visa types guide), you will still enjoy flexible visa options. Below we’ll cover all of those options in detail.
Vietnam Tourism Visa
Tourist visas are the most common type of Visa issued for Vietnam. These are not only for anyone backpacking or otherwise sightseeing in Vietnam, but can also be for anyone planning to enter for work or school. Often what you will do is convert your tourist visa to a student or working visa after you arrive.
Multiple entry options (1 month, 3 month or even 1 year) will give you multiple entries. Note that the one-year visa requires you to leave and re-enter the country every 3 months.
|VISA||SINGLE ENTRY||MULTIPLE ENTRIES|
|30 DAYS (1 MONTH)||YES||YES|
|90 DAYS (3 MONTHS)||YES||YES|
|365 DAYS *only for USA passport||NO||YES|
The Vietnam E-visa
The e-visa is the most common visa for entering Vietnam. In order to apply for this visa, you will need the following:
- A digital device with Internet access
- Your passport information and jpg of your main passport page
- Jpg version of a real passport photo
- Basic travel itinerary including entry/exit date, and entry/exit point (only these entry points are allowed for the e-visa) See our sample 1 week and 2 week Vietnam itinerary.
- Bank card with a logo of Visa, MasterCard, or JCB for paying
- Onward ticket/exit flight. If you don’t have one, you can get a Dummy ticket here. These are not fake flight tickets, but real reservations and actually work.
How to use your e-visa
The E-Visa should only be used when entering Vietnam via air or land borders, however, you have to make sure that you enter through the point that you put on your online application.
An e-visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days with a single entry rule. If you want to stay longer, you cannot extend an E-Visa (see our guide to visa extensions here). You’ll need to leave the country and re-enter on a new one, AKA do a visa run.
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Through a travel agency
Another way to get a Vietnam visa is through a travel agency. In this past this was more common. But now that eVisas are so easy to get, not so many people go this route anymore.
Travel agencies can be contacted online, normally, they will ask for a copy of your passport, and passport photo, entry date, and entry and exit point. They will also ask some questions, for example, the days you are going to stay and if you need multiple entries or just a single one.
Travel agencies can also be approached in person especially if you are coming from Cambodia or Laos or Thailand. If you are going through a travel agency in the mentioned countries, they should be able to provide you with the actual visa sticker, make sure to clarify this before paying.
Travel agency scams can happen, though, so make sure to go through a reputable agency that has been recommended to you or has good online reviews. Also, prices will vary my agency and by urgency (how fast you want it.
Travel agencies can also provide you with an invitation letter if you need one (see more on that below).
Through an embassy or consulate
The safest but most troublesome way to get a Vietnam visa is through a Vietnam embassy or consulate. Their prices should be fair as well. However, due to the number of applications they have to process, they are a lot slower and sometimes complicated to work with compared to travel agencies or websites.
The bright side is that you can assure that there are no scams or funny business going on. They are also the only official who can process other visa types such as student visa, journalist visa, business visa, and more. So if you need to apply for any of these, this will be the choice for you. Note: some websites may also be able to process business visas, but beware of scam websites.
Getting a visa from an Embassy or Consulate also means that you will receive the visa sticker and not an invitation letter, which means you can use your visa at any entry point.
The One-Year Visa for US Citizens
For some reason, US citizens are the only nationality who can get a one year visa for Vietnam, both for tourism or business.
Many expats are teaching English in Vietnam and many of them are working on a tourist visa (which is actually illegal!) However, if you have a business visa, this allows you to legally find a job and work in Vietnam while waiting to process your work permit or Temporary Residence Card.
This one-year business visa gives many Americans more flexibility and saves money.
Note that this type of visa is multiple entry and currently requires you to exit and re-enter Vietnam once every 90 days.
GETTING A BUSINESS VISA
You can also get a business visa which is valid for one (1) year. Holding a business visa lets you live, find a job, start working, and sign an apartment legally.
Only US citizens can get one (1) year visa, so, I recommend you take advantage of it.
Visa-on-Arrival with Invitation Letter
If you are visiting Vietnam on an organized tour with a local tour operator, you may be asked to enter Vietnam with an invitation letter and then receive a visa on arrival.
While if you have an invitation letter, which you can normally get online or from a travel agency, you can only use this to enter Vietnam via air and most likely through a specific border. It’s possible to use it via land if the travel agency/website write in your invitation letter the specific land border point.
You need to remember that if you are using an invitation letter, you will need to pay for the stamp/sticker fee which varies depending on the visa length and if it’s multiple entries or single entry.
How to Use Your Invitation Letter
If you go through a travel agency or a website, they can provide you with an invitation letter, which contains your details. You will present this to immigration once you enter Vietnam.
If you are using an invitation letter, you will need to pay $25 (single entry) or $50 (multiple entries) for the visa sticker/stamp fee. Remember to bring US Dollars with you.
Well, that brings us to the end of our Vietnam visa guide for Americans. Please note that visa rules are often changing. While we do our best to keep our content updated, it’s still a good idea to check multiple new/recently updated sites and official sources to confirm this important information.
Good luck and enjoy your trip!