So you’re planning a trip to Vietnam and not sure whether to get a Vietnam visa on arrival? No worries. I will simplify the whole process here.
But, first of all, let me tell you that Vietnam is an incredible place to travel, with its stunning landscapes, bustling cities, and complex cultural heritage.
Whether you are planning to trek in the mountains in the north, or relax on the beaches in the south, there is something for everyone. And although you can get an 30-day Vietnam online visa or eVisa to travel there easily, if you want to stay longer, a tourist visa on arrival is the way to go.
I got my Vietnam tourist visa on arrival in May 2019 along with my boyfriend. I am from the United States, and he is from New Zealand. Despite being from different countries, the application process was the same for us both.
We are both digital nomads, and we have been travelling South East Asia since the start of the year. Our next destination was Vietnam, where we planned to travel, as well as set up a base in Hanoi for a few months. A tourist visa seemed like the cheapest and easiest way to do this.
When you first start looking into getting a visa for Vietnam, the whole system can seem confusing and unnecessarily complicated. But don’t let the red tape stop you! While it may not be a simple “visa on entry” system, it is really not that difficult.
1. Get the Vietnam Visa Approval Letter from an Agent
The thing about the visa on arrival is that you have to get a Vietnam visa approval letter from a travel agent for a small fee. It is a letter that has a sponsor company name that has been processed by immigration that grants you the right to come to Vietnam. It’s not the visa itself.
For a 3 months Vietnam tourist visa, the agents charge $10-20 for a visa approval letter. It cost me 10$.
Before issuing an approval letter, the Immigration Dept of Vietnam checks and screens your application, so that there is a zero chance for rejection at Vietnam airport when you have an approval letter in hand.
Make sure that you are carrying a printout of the visa approval letter. They will not accept a visa letter on a cell phone.
Some agents that are pretty popular are:
You will need to fill in your details in an online form on their website and pay for the approval letter after which they will email it to you. Depending on the travel agent, it will take 1-3 days to get this letter. A lot of them give you the option of rush processing as well if you need to get it urgently.
Here is a sample visa approval letter. Don’t fret over if there are other names on the approval letter, as the agents often make visa applications in bulk. And if you really want, you can pay a little more and get a private letter.
2. Fill out Vietnam Visa on Arrival Application Form (NA1)
The agents normally send you the link to a Vietnam visa application form or entry-exit form which you can print out. You will need to fill it up and affix a pic. If you want to save some time at the airport, it’s a good idea to do it beforehand. In any case, you can get it at the airport upon your arrival as well.
3. Arrive at the Designated Airport with the Documents and Money
Remember that for a visa on arrival, you will have to fly to Vietnam. You can’t get this at a land border. Make sure that you are carrying spare printouts of approval letter and spare pics just in case. The 3 months single entry tourist visa stamping costs 25$ at the airport.
The designated international airports where you can fly with the visa approval letter are as follows:
- Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)
- Cat Bi International Airport (Hai Phong)
- Da Nang International Airport (Da Nang)
- Cam Ranh International Airport (Nha Trang)
- Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)
4. Get the Vietnam Tourist Visa Stamped and Chill
Once you arrive at the airport, you will apply and pay for your visa. After disembarking the plane, walk to the VOA, or Landing Visa window, which comes before the immigration. If you haven’t filled out the visa application form before, fill it out there.
Here, you will give them your visa letter, the visa application form and your passport. They will process your information for a few minutes. There is a waiting area where you can wait for the immigration to call your name.
If you are tired, you can sit back and watch all the people going haywire who somehow neglected to research about the visa and are now scrambling around. If you are not tired, you can step up and help a fellow traveller.
Once your name is called, you will be asked to pay the fees after which they will receive your passport with the visa. Double check your name and other details in the visa before leaving the VOA counter, and head over to immigration.
Vietnam Visa duration : 3 months
Vietnam Visa cost: 25$ for stamping + cost for visa approval letter
No.of entries: Single
When Can You Apply for Vietnam Visa on Arrival?
It is recommended to apply for your visa at least a week before you travel.
Can I Get a Vietnam Visa on Arrival if I am crossing by Land?
No, you can get the visa on arrival at a designated airport only. If you are crossing a land border from a neighboring country, you should get a tourist visa before you enter Vietnam.
Can I Extend Vietnam Visa on Arrival ?
Yes, you can extend it. For this, you need to do a visa run and reenter Vietnam.
How Long is Vietnam Visa on Arrival Valid?
Its minimum validity is for 1 month. You can also get visas that would last for 3 months. If you are a US citizen, you can get a 6-months or 1-year Vietnam visa on arrival.
Vietnam Visa on Arrival Cost
Here are the different tourist visas on arrival for Vietnam and their cost.
|Tourist visa duration||Cost in USDs|
|1 month single entry||25$|
|1 month multiple entry||50$|
|3 months single entry||25$|
|3 months multiple entry||50$|
|6 months multiple entry(U S citizens only)||95$|
|1 year multiple entry(U S citizens only)||135$|
Have you tried obtaining a tourist visa on arrival for Vietnam?
If you have tried obtaining a tourist visa on arrival for Vietnam, let us know in the comments. Please feel free to ask any questions you might have.