Foreigners who want to visit Vietnam will likely have to apply for a Vietnam Visa, unless they are from a country exempted from visa requirements.
If you do need a visa, there are three ways you can apply for it. The Vietnamese government has facilitated the process greatly by issuing a Vietnam Visa On Arrival as well as a Vietnam eVisa (for certain nationals). Those who are not eligible for the eVisa or want to have a visa on their passport before they travel to Vietnam can also apply from an Embassy in their country.
This article will detail the Vietnam visa policy, the visa application process, the types of Vietnam Visas, and the requirements.
Do I Need a Visa for Vietnam?
You need a visa for Vietnam unless you are from one of the following countries, whose citizens are allowed to travel to Vietnam visa-free for a short-term period (14 – 90 days):
- Belarus* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- Brunei (visa-free travel for up to 14 days)
- Cambodia (visa-free travel for up to 30 days)
- Chile (visa-free travel for up to 90 days)
- Denmark* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- Finland* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- France* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- Germany* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- Indonesia (visa-free travel for up to 30 days)
- Italy* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- Japan* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- Kyrgyzstan (visa-free travel for up to 30 days)
- Laos (visa-free travel for up to 30 days)
- Malaysia (visa-free travel for up to 30 days)
- Myanmar (visa-free travel for up to 14 days)
- Norway* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- Philippines (visa-free travel for up to 21 days)
- Russia* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- Singapore (visa-free travel for up to 30 days)
- South Korea* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- Spain* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- Sweden* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
- Thailand (visa-free travel for up to 30 days)
- United Kingdom* (visa-free travel for up to 15 days)
*Citizens of these countries must wait at least 30 days between visits if they want to re-enter Vietnam.
What Are the Types of Vietnam Visas?
The Vietnam Immigration Department issues the following types to foreigners wishing to enter Vietnam:
- Vietnam Tourist Visa (DL), which is issued to foreigners entering Vietnam for tourism and recreational purposes, not related to business/studying, etc.
- Vietnam Business Visa (DN), which is a short-term visa issued to business people who will enter Vietnam to attend a meeting, hold a conference, or other business-related purposes.
- Vietnam Work Visa (DN/LD), which is issued to foreigners entering Vietnam in order to work or conduct business with a Vietnamese company.
- Vietnam Student or Internship Visa (DH), which is issued to foreigners who are entering Vietnam either to study in a Vietnamese educational institution or to do an internship.
- Vietnam Diplomatic Visa (NG1 – NG4), which is issued to foreign diplomats or government officials and their accompanying/visiting family members.
- Vietnam Investor Visa (DT), which is issued to foreigners who will enter Vietnam in order to invest in a business in Vietnam.
- Vietnam Transit Visa, which you have to get if you’re changing planes in a Vietnamese airport, and you intend to leave the airport’s international transit area.
What are the Vietnam Visa Requirements?
When you apply for a Vietnam visa, you must have several documents to support your application. They include:
- Your passport, which has at least another six months’ validity.
- Passport-size pictures, taken recently with the following specifications:
- Size: 4 cm x 6 cm
- White background
- You must be centered in the picture, staring ahead with a neutral facial expression
- If you wear headgear for religious purposes or you have a wig, you may keep it in the picture but must also be wearing on arrival
- You must not be wearing any glasses
- The Vietnam Visa Application Form. Depending on which country you are applying from, you can either download it or get the Vietnam Visa Application Form at the Embassy/Consulate.
- Proof you have paid the Vietnam Visa fee
- Any other additional documents that the Vietnam Embassy/Consulate may require. This could include a Letter of Invitation or Sponsorship from someone in Vietnam, depending on the reason why you are traveling.
- If you are applying for Vietnam Visa On Arrival:
- Pre-obtained Letter of Approval
- Entry and Exit Form (many also refer to this as a Vietnam Visa Application Form). You will receive this on the airplane and you have to complete it before handing it in at the Immigration Officers at the port of entry
- Cash to pay the Vietnam visa stamping fee
How to Apply for a Vietnam Visa?
You can submit a Vietnam visa application through one of the following ways:
- In-person, at an Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam abroad
- Online, if you are from one of the eligible countries
- On Arrival, after getting an Approval Letter online prior to traveling
Apply for Vietnam Visa at an Embassy or Consulate
You can apply for your Vietnam visa from an Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam abroad.
- Contact the Embassy/Consulate to make an appointment or learn about any specific requirements. Find a list of the Vietnamese Embassies and Consulates here.
- Collect the required documents for your Vietnam Visa (see below)
- Submit the documents and pay the Vietnam visa fee
- Wait for the Visa to be processed
- Collect your passport and learn about the visa decision.
- If your application is approved, the Vietnam Visa will be stamped on your passport and you can use it to enter Vietnam.
Things to note:
- Depending on what country you’re applying from, you may be allowed to submit your documents by mail.
- Depending on the purpose of your visit as well as the Embassy/Consulate, you may also have to submit a Letter of Approval from the Immigration Department of Vietnam.
Apply for Vietnam Visa online (Vietnam e-Visa)
You can apply for a Vietnam visa entirely online only if you are from one of the countries eligible for a Vietnam e-Visa. To get a Vietnam visa online, you have to:
- Start an online application through the Vietnam Immigration Portal
- Attach a scanned copy of your passport as well as a passport-size picture of yourself
- Enter all the required information on the online application form
- Pay the Vietnam e-Visa fee (USD 25)
- Wait for the visa to be processed (up to three working days)
- Check this website to learn whether a decision has been made.
- If you received the eVisa, you have to download the PDF file and then print two copies.
However, once you get the Vietnam e Visa, you can only enter the country from designated points of entry. It is valid for a single-entry, and for a maximum of 30 days from the time you intend to enter Vietnam.
Apply for Vietnam Visa On Arrival
If you will enter Vietnam through one of Vietnam’s international airports (as listed below), you can get a Vietnam Visa On Arrival:
- Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City
- Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi
- Danang Airport in Da Nang
- Cat Bi Airport in Hai Phong
- Cam Ranh Airport in Nha Trang
However, to be able to apply for a Visa On Arrival in Vietnam, you first have to apply for an Approval Letter from the Vietnamese Immigration Department. You can do so through one of the travel agencies or visa application agencies that operate with the permission of the Vietnam Immigration Department.
- Online (through the website of the agency handling your application):
- Enter your passport information and the port you will enter through
- Pay the service fee
- Wait for the request to be processed (between 2 – 4 working days)
- You will receive the Vietnam Visa On Arrival Approval Letter by email
- A copy of it will also be forwarded to the Immigration Officers at the port you will enter through
- Print the Approval Letter, and travel to Vietnam. You will also need at least 4 passport-size pictures of yourself (4 cm x 6 cm), your passport, and enough cash to pay the Vietnam Visa On Arrival stamping fee.
- Queue up at the Visa On Arrival counters at the airport in Vietnam and apply to get your visa stamped on your passport.
- Pay the Vietnam Visa On Arrival fee ($25 for a single-entry visa; $50 for a multiple-entry visa)
How Long Does it Take to Process a Vietnam Visa?
The processing time for a Vietnam Visa is:
- For a Vietnam eVisa: About three working days
- For a Vietnam Visa On Arrival: Between 2 – 4 working days for the Letter of Approval. It can sometimes be more, depending on what company you’re using to request the Letter of Approval.
- For a Vietnam Visa at an Embassy/Consulate: It depends on the specific Embassy/Consulate.
What is the Duration of a Vietnam Visa?
Vietnam visas are issued for the following durations:
- Single-Entry Visa, issued for 1 month or 3 months
- Multiple-Entry Visa, issued for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year
The validity of your visa depends on the purpose of your travel. So, Tourist Visas are usually issued for a single-entry, whereas work or business visas may be issued for multiple entries for up to one year.
Once in Vietnam, however, if you have a Vietnam Work Visa , you may be able to receive a Temporary Residence Card for up to 2 years.
The Investor Visa for Vietnam is issued for up to five years.
Can You Extend a Vietnam Visa?
If you want to stay in Vietnam past the expiry of your visa, then you have to submit an application at one of the Immigration Offices in Vietnam. You can apply for:
- A Vietnam Visa Extension, if you want to extend how long you can stay in Vietnam your current visa. The extension you receive depends on the type of visa you already have. If you have a one-month visa, the extension will be for another month.
- A Vietnam Visa Renewal, if you want to change the category of your visa or if you have entered Vietnam under the visa-exemption scheme.
However, the rules for visa extensions change constantly, and as such, you should always contact the local office of the Immigration Department in Vietnam. Sometimes, they will not issue extensions for certain visa types or to certain nationals.
How Much Does the Vietnam Visa Cost?
The visa fees for Vietnam are as follows:
- For a Vietnam eVisa: USD 25
- For a Vietnam Visa On Arrival:
- Single-entry, 1 month: USD 25 stamping fee on arrival (plus the additional service fee for the Letter of Approval)
- Multiple-entry, 1 month USD 50 stamping fee on arrival (plus the additional service fee for the Letter of Approval)
- Single-entry, 3 months USD 25 stamping fee on arrival (plus the additional service fee for the Letter of Approval)
- Multiple-entry, 3 months USD 50 stamping fee on arrival (plus the additional service fee for the Letter of Approval)
- Multiple-entry, 6 months USD 95 stamping fee on arrival (plus the additional service fee)
- Multiple-entry, 12 months USD 135 stamping fee on arrival (plus the additional service fee for the Letter of Approval)
- For a Vietnam Visa application at an Embassy/Consulate: It depends on the specific Embassy or Consulate.
Vietnam Visa for US Citizens
If you are from the USA, then you are required to get a visa before you fly to Vietnam, or you can get one on arrival.
As a US citizen, you are eligible to apply for a Vietnam Visa:
- At an Embassy or Consulate. Choose the Viatnamese diplomatic representation responsible for your jurisdiction:
- Vietnam Embassy in Washington DC
- Consulate General of Vietnam in San Francisco
- Consulate General of Vietnam in Houston – Texas
- US citizens are eligible to get an eVisa for Vietnam.
- On Arrival, as long as you have a pre-obtained Letter of Approval