If you are from a country subject to Vietnamese visas, a Vietnam Visa On Arrival is one of the easiest ways to get it. However, you cannot get a Visa On Arrival in Vietnam in all available ports of entry, only a select few.
Moreover, you cannot simply travel to Vietnam and receive a visa there. You must get prior approval from the Vietnamese Immigration Department.
Where Can I Get a Vietnam Visa On Arrival?
You can only get a Vietnam Visa On Arrival if you are traveling by air and arriving at one of the following airports:
- 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.
You can get the Vietnam Visa On Arrival at the visa-issuing counters at the airport you’ll land in.
If you are traveling by land or as part of a cruise, you will have to apply for a regular Vietnam Visa.
What Are the Vietnam Visa On Arrival Requirements?
When you travel to Vietnam and approach the visa-issuing counter to receive your Vietnam Visa On Arrival, you must have the following documents with you:
- The Pre-obtained Letter of Approval
- Your passport, which has at least another six months’ validity.
- Passport-size picture(s), 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
- Completed Entry and Exit 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
Although there is no information regarding additional supporting documents that you need to present when getting the Vietnam Visa On Arrival stamped on your passport, it is always a good idea to have anything that can support the purpose of your travel on hand. For example, proof of a booked return flight ticket, proof of hotel reservation, invitation letter if you’re going to attend a conference/event, etc.
The Application Process for Vietnam Visa On Arrival
Before you travel to Vietnam and apply for your Visa On Arrival, you have to get a Letter of Approval from the Vietnamese Immigration Department while you are still in your country. You cannot get the VOA if you do not have the Letter of Approval.
1. Obtaining the Letter of Approval
You can get a Letter of Approval through one of the private agencies that work with the authorization of the Vietnam Immigration Department. They will send in the request for the Letter of Approval to the Immigration Department on your behalf for a fee.
These companies operate online, and you have to find one that is suited to your needs.
When you apply for the VOA Letter of Approval, you have to:
- Enter your passport information and the port you will enter through
- Pay the service fee
- Wait for the request to be processed (a few 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.
The Letter of Approval is sometimes issued for multiple people at once, so you may see several people listed in your letter.
Remember: Do your research and make sure it is a credible agency before you make a payment.
2. Receiving the Vietnam Visa On Arrival
After you have your Letter of Approval, you can use it to travel to Vietnam. Once you land, you have to:
- Queue up at the Visa On Arrival counters at the airport in Vietnam and apply to get your visa stamped on your passport.
- Show the Immigration Officers the required documents (see below)
- Pay the Vietnam Visa On Arrival fee
- Receive the Visa On Arrival
How Much Does the Vietnam Visa On Arrival Cost?
The Vietnam Visa On Arrival fees you have to pay in cash when they stamp your visa at the airport are as follows:
- For a single-entry, 1 month Vietnam Visa On Arrival: USD 25
- For a multiple-entry, 1 month Vietnam Visa On Arrival: USD 50
- For a single-entry, 3 months Vietnam Visa On Arrival: USD 25
- For a multiple-entry, 3 months Vietnam Visa On Arrival: USD 50
- For a multiple-entry, 6 months Vietnam Visa On Arrival: USD 95
- For a multiple-entry, 12 months Vietnam Visa On Arrival: USD 135
Note: In addition to the stamping fee, you also have to pay a service fee to the agency that sent in the request for the Letter of Approval on your behalf. This fee depends on the specific company.
How Long Does it Take to Process a Vietnam Visa On Arrival?
When you are applying for the actual Visa On Arrival at the airport in Vietnam, it usually only takes between 15 and 30 minutes.
When you apply for the Letter of Approval, it can take a few days, depending on the agency. It is usually no more than five.
Additionally, you may ask for rush processing and receive the Letter of Approval in a matter of hours, but it will have a higher fee.
What is the Duration of a Vietnam Visa On Arrival?
You can request a Vietnam Visa on Arrival for one to twelve months and for single or multiple entries, as per the purpose of your travel.
Can you Extend a Vietnam Visa On Arrival?
You may be able to extend your Visa On Arrival by submitting an application at one of the Immigration Offices in Vietnam. 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.
However, it is not always certain you can extend a visa since the Immigration rules are constantly changing. As such, your best bet is to contact your local Immigration Office in Vietnam to learn more on the matter.
Vietnam Visa On Arrival for US Citizens
US nationals are required to have a Vietnam Visa before they enter the country. As such, they can apply for a Visa On Arrival (in the same manner as detailed above) or apply to get a visa through one of the other visa application methods that are available.
Other Ways to Apply for a Vietnam Visa
If you will not be entering Vietnam through the eligible ports of entry or would like to avoid the queues at the airport, you can get a Vietnam visa in the following two ways as well:
- At the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam (everyone)
- Online, only for the nationals of certain countries
Moreover, passport holders of certain countries are exempt from applying for a Vietnam visa for short-term stays.
Visa-Exempt Entry in Vietnam
Passport holders of the following countries do not have to apply for a Vietnam visa at all if they are only staying for a short period of time (14 – 90 days depending on the country):
- South Korea
- United Kingdom