Visitors going to Vietnam must show a valid Vietnam visa before being allowed into the country. A visa may be requested from a Vietnamese embassy near you, or may be sourced through a reliable travel agency. Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam is a tougher nut to crack where visas are concerned. The rules and costs vary widely depending on the issuing embassy or consulate.
The Bangkok Embassy, for example, can take your payment and process your visa on the very same day charging 1000 Baht (US$50 in its dollar equivalent; no other currency is accepted). The San Fransico Embassy takes five days and $65 to do the same thing.
The information presented here may change without prior notice, so double-check with the nearest Vietnamese embassy before applying for your visa.
Most visitors to Vietnam will need a visa to enter the country, with a few exceptions.Citizens from ASEAN countries are permitted to enter without applying for a visa, and other countries have made similar arrangements for their citizens.
* Citizens of the following countries may stay, visa-free, for no more than 30 days: Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore * Citizens of the Philippines may stay, visa-free, for no more than 21 days. * Citizens of the following countries may stay, visa-free, for no more than 15 days: Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Sweden
If you are not a citizen of any of these countries, you must apply for a visa at a nearby Vietnamese embassy.
In the United States, you may apply at the Vietnamese embassy in Washington, DC if you’re on the East Coast, or at the Vietnamese consulate in San Francisco if you’re on the West Coast.
Vietnam Tourist Visas
Tourist visas are available for a maximum 30-day stay, with the option to extend your visa for another 30 days upon your arrival in Vietnam.
To get a Vietnam tourist visa from your nearest Vietnam embassy or consulate, download the visa form from the local embassy’s website and fill it up.
At the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in US, you’ll be required to present:
* Your original passport – valid for six months more after the planned trip, and with vacant pages for the full-page visa stamp * One completed visa application form * One 2 x 2 passport-sized photo attached firmly to the space provided on the application form * A money order or Cashier’s check payable to the processing mission. The Embassy asks that you call them to ask for the current fees, although the rates are common knowledge among travelers.
Want to get a Vietnam visa faster and cheaper than you can get it in the States? Get it from an embassy at a neighboring Southeast Asian country. If you’re entering Vietnam from elsewhere in Southeast Asia, that country’s Vietnam embassy may be able to process your visa quicker and more cheaply than you ever could in the U.S. The Vietnamese Embassy in Thailandis a popular source of Vietnam visas for many travelers.
Don’t start the application process until your travel plans are are sure to push through. The official forms require you to state your ports of arrival and departure, and it’s far too much trouble to change this at the last minute.
Allow plenty of time for the embassy to process your visa. Don’t file for your visa at the last minute.
Vietnam embassies and consulates are closed on Vietnamese holidays too, so take that into account before visiting.
Visitors to Vietnam must finish an entry/exist form and a customs declaration in duplicate. The yellow copy will be given back to you, and you must keep this safe with your passport. You will be required to present this when you leave.
Overseas Vietnamese are exempt from Vietnam Visas, if certain conditions are met.
A knowledgeable Vietnam travel agency may be able to secure a Vietnam visa for you at an additional cost, with minimum headache.