Categories Asia

Vietnam tourist visa policy – all you need to know before your Trip to Vietnam

As defined by the Vietnam Immigration Department, Vietnam visa is a kind of travel document issued by the Vietnam competent authority, allowing its holders to enter and travel within Vietnam for a certain period of time. With such importance, Vietnam visa is perhaps the very first and also most important item that you need to cover before every trip to Vietnam, as in case you have nothing in mind of such item, your trip may be ruined right from your first step of departure.

Here, I will cover:

  • Do I need a visa to visit Vietnam?
  • How to get a travel visa to Vietnam? And
  • How much is a visa for Vietnam?

Now, let’s figure out the answer for each of the questions above.

Do I need a visa for Vietnam?

The Vietnam Government is now allowing citizens of up to 24 countries to visit Vietnam without a visa provided that they have a passport valid for at least 06 months beyond their arrival date.

The duration and requirements for visa-free stay of those citizens in Vietnam are varied as follows:

  • Citizens of Chile can visit and stay in Vietnam without a visa for up to 90 days – no special requirements
  • Citizens of Cambodia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand can visit and stay in Vietnam without a visa for up to 30 days – no special requirements
  • Citizens of the Philippines can visit and stay in Vietnam without a visa for up to 21 days – no special requirements
  • Citizens of Brunei, Myanmar can visit and stay in Vietnam without a visa for up to 14 days – no special requirements
  • Citizens of Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK not applicable to BNO passport holders) can visit and stay in Vietnam without a visa for up to 15 days if:
    • They have never been to Vietnam before; or they have never been in Vietnam with visa exemption before; OR
    • Otherwise, in case they have been in Vietnam with visa exemption, their arrival date must at least 30 days following exit date of their last stay in Vietnam with visa exemption. It means the visa exemption requires 30-day interval.


  • foreigners directly visiting Phu Quoc from a country/territory outside Vietnam, staying in Phu Quoc for no more than 30 days and then leaving Phu Quoc for a country/territory outside Vietnam will be exempted from Vietnam visa.
  • Overseas Vietnamese, spouses and children of overseas Vietnamese or Vietnamese citizens are eligible for Vietnam 5 year visa exemption.

If you want to check for your Vietnam visa requirements, I recommend you this link which covers detailed visa requirements to Vietnam for over 200 countries. You just need to choose your nationality for details.

How to get a visa to Vietnam?

It’s great that there are currently up to 3 ways to get a visa for Vietnam, consisting of:

  1. Getting an embassy visa
  2. Getting a visa on arrival, and
  3. Getting an e-visa.

1. Getting an embassy visa

The travel visa obtained in this way is issued by the embassy or consulate of Vietnam in foreign countries. Normally, its application procedure covers:

  • Prepare documents, including but not limited to:
    • Vietnamese visa application form (completed, signed and attached with photo);
    • Original passport (valid for at least 06 months after their date of entry);
    • Other documents as required by the Vietnam visa issuing authority.
  • Travel to the embassy/consulate of Vietnam to submit the documents and pay the visa fee and get appointment letter for the result.
  • Travel back to the embassy/consulate of Vietnam to pick up the passport and visa (if issued).

The visa fees and processing time depend on the embassy/consulate to which you submit your application documents.

You can see the list of Vietnam embassies/consulates worldwide here.

2. Getting a visa on arrival

Visa on arrival was introduced in 2004 and has been becoming popular among thousands of tourists to Vietnam thanks for its convenience, especially for those living far from the office of Vietnam embassy, and also urgent/weekend processing upon request. Its application requires:

  • NO completion of any hard copy of Vietnamese visa application form;
  • NO send-off of original passport;
  • NO preparation of any document;
  • ONLY an internet-connected device.

This type of visa for Vietnam is available if foreigners are entering Vietnam at any of the following airports:

  1. Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi
  2. Cat Bi International Airport in Hai Phong
  3. Da Nang International Airport in Da nang city
  4. Cam Ranh International Airport in Khanh Hoa
  5. Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City
  6. Lien Khuong International Airport in Da Lat
  7. Can Tho International Airport in Can Tho
  8. Phu Quoc International Airport in Phu Quoc island.

To get a visa on arrival for Vietnam, you must work with a local visa service provider to get a visa approval letter, and then finally get visa stamped upon arrival at Vietnam airport. Following are details about 3 steps to get visa on arrival guided by

  1. Complete the online application form with the following details:
    1. Contact name, email and phone number (if any)
    2. Type of visa, purpose of visit, arrival airport and travel dates.
    3. Applicant’s information, consisting of Full name, Nationality, Date of birth, Gender, Passport Number, passport expiry date.
  2. Get visa approval letter within guaranteed time (normally 2 working days)
  3. Get visa stamped upon arrival at Vietnam airport by showing visa approval letter, original passport, and completed Vietnam visa application form.

Here is such an online application form for Vietnam visa approval letter:

Vietnam visa on arrival fees

When applying for a visa on arrival to Vietnam, you will need to pay 02 kinds of fees:

  • Service fee which is paid online (by credit/debit cards) to the visa service provider to get visa approval letter. It depends on your nationality, type of visa, processing time and number of people included in your application. You can see this Vietnam visa fees table to estimate your Vietnam visa cost.
  • Stamping fee which is paid in CASH to the Immigration Officer at Vietnam airport to get visa stamped. It is fixed at:
    • US $25 for a single entry visa
    • US $50 for a multiple entry visa valid for up to 3 months
    • US $95 for a multiple entry visa valid for up to 6 months
    • US $135 for a multiple entry visa valid for up to 1 year

3. Getting an evisa for Vietnam

Vietnam evisa is now becoming a trend for travelers who need a visa to enter Vietnam thanks for its easy online application. However, as updated in November 2019, only citizens of 80 countries entering Vietnam via one of 33 ports of entry are supported with this type of visa for Vietnam. You can see those lists here.

The Vietnam e-visa is also applied online and then the travelers will get the visa before departure for Vietnam. However, it is valid for a maximum of 30 days in single entry only.

Its fee is US $25 and cannot be refunded in case your visa application is refused. Its processing time is normally 3 working days and may be longer depending on your case.

You can see the whole process to get an e-visa to Vietnam below:

  • Access > select E-visa > select For foreigners.
  • Read the instruction and check the box “Confirmation of reading carefully instructions and having completed application” and click “Next.”
  • Upload your photo and passport personal data page as instructed.
  • And then fill out the form with the required information, including:
    • Full name;
    • Sex;
    • Date of birth;
    • Current nationality;
    • Religion;
    • Passport Number;
    • Type of passport;
    • Expiry date;
    • Intended length of stay;
    • Intended temporary residential address in Vietnam;
    • Date of entry;
    • Entry gate;
    • Exit date;
    • Contact details: Email, phone.
  • Verify your information, and then you will get a verification code. Make sure you note it somewhere as you’ll need it later on.
  • Pay for e-visa fee (USD25) via an online platform.
  • Access to this website again a few days later, visit the e-visa search menu and enter your registration code, email, and date of birth to check your e-visa application processing.
  • Get a link to download and print the one-page e-visa letter for Vietnam in case your application is approved.
  • Show to letter/visa code at the entry point to enter Vietnam to get into Vietnam.

Important notes for e-visa to Vietnam:

  • The application is made for one person at one time only.
  • The processing time may take longer than 3 working days depending on your case and season as well.
  • Your e-visa status is not updated and your e-visa is not sent to your email, and you must remember your registration code to check and download.
  • The ports of entry and exit are fixed and cannot be changed after your e-visa is issued. If you are not sure about your ports of entry and exit and provided that you are traveling to Vietnam by air, I highly recommend the second option above as the port of entry can be switched among 8 international airports of Vietnam after you get the visa letter.

Here comes a full overview about tourist visa for Vietnam. Although I make all efforts to ensure all information is correct, it may be changed from time to time without my awareness. Please keep me updated if you have any news.

Featured Image via Quang Nguyen vinh

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