If you’ve looked for information on visas for Vietnam, you may have found an important piece of information missing, especially from the State Department and Vietnam Embassy websites: If you’re flying into Vietnam, you can get a visa on arrival (VOA). And if you’re not sure about visiting Vietnam, I thoroughly encourage it!
Overland or by Cruise
If you’re coming into Vietnam by land or sea, you must have a visa in advance (for most countries). These are obtained by visiting a Vietnam embassy or consulate prior to your trip to Vietnam. The process is relatively painless, but it does take time. Typically, you’ll have to come in the morning, stand in line, turn in documents, etc. Usually you return the next day to pick up the documents granting you entry into the country.
The easy way
Airfares to Vietnam from its neighboring countries is quite often extremely reasonable, and when you consider how many hours bus or train travel will require, along with border crossing wait times, etc., it’s often to your advantage to fly into the country.
If you choose to fly, you can save yourself a lot of time and repeated trips to an embassy by doing the visa on arrival program. When you factor in the time and transportation costs, you’ll save a good deal of money by doing a VOA. Furthermore, the fees are the same whether you’re visiting the embassy or doing a VOA.
The visa on arrival is a lot cheaper in the long run.
When we prepared to fly into Vietnam, I used My Vietnam Visa to process our visas. However, there are several companies out there charging anywhere from $7 to $19 per person (for a 30-day, single-entry visa; other visas have different fees associated with them). Even though this company charges more than the cheaper ones, it had been recommended to me and that was worth the extra money in my mind. Another traveling family I know used Vietnam Visa Pro and had good success with them. They charge the least.
The process is pretty simple:
- Go online and fill out the minimal required information.
- Enter your credit card information and submit.
- Within 48 business hours, you’ll get an email with the letter of authorization. Print this letter and bring it with you on your trip. The email will include links to another form you’ll need. To save time, print these (2 per adult applicant, children under 14 can be included on the adult’s form) and fill them out before you arrive. You will also need 2 passport-sized photos per person.
- Upon arrival in Vietnam, go the visa on arrival desk. Submit the letter, forms, passport photos and $45 USD per person in cash. (There is no discounted fee for children.) It doesn’t have to be exact change, and they will usually accept other “strong” currencies such as euros and Australian dollars.
- Once you have your passports back (about 5-15 minutes), head to immigration control and that’s it!
Make sure you have the following items ready before you head to the airport for departure to Vietnam.
- Printed letter of approval to enter Vietnam. Keep this handy as you’ll most likely need this when you check-in at the airport.
- $45 USD per person in cash.
- 2 copies of the Application for Entry and Exit Visa filled out per adult and child over the age of 14.
- 2 passport-sized photos per person.
I hope that’s helpful! Is there any information on visas you’re still looking for?