ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: In order to enter Vietnam, you will need a valid passport with at least six months validity remaining and a Vietnamese visa, a visa exemption document, or a written approval letter for a visa upon arrival. You may obtain a visa or a visa exemption document from a Vietnamese embassy or consulate prior to traveling to Vietnam. To obtain a written approval letter to enter, you must contact a travel agency prior to departure. U.S. citizens have reported unscrupulous travel agencies taking advantage of travelers and charging extremely high fees upon landing.
The Government of Vietnam treats the use of falsified travel documents very seriously. Travelers attempting to enter Vietnam for any purpose with an altered or otherwise fraudulent travel document are likely to face criminal prosecution and possible imprisonment.
If you arrive without an appropriate Vietnamese visa, exemption document, or written approval for a visa upon arrival, you will not be permitted to enter and will be subject to immediate deportation. Vietnamese visas are usually valid for only one entry, unless the traveler specifically requests a multiple-entry visa, for which there may be an increased fee. If you are planning to leave Vietnam and re-enter from another country, be sure that your visa is multiple entry. If it is only single entry, you will have to obtain another visa prior to returning to Vietnam.
Please be aware that Vietnam has two fees: 1) the visa fee and 2) the visa processing fee. The visa fees are sometimes posted on the Vietnamese Embassy’s website, but U.S. Embassy and Consulate officials have received reports of processing fees varying from one applicant to another and from one issuing entity to another. We have brought this concern to the attention of Vietnamese officials, but the problem persists.
If you plan to travel to Laos by land, you must obtain the type of Vietnamese visa that adheres to the passport. Lao immigration requires proof that travelers have departed Vietnam, something that can only be shown with an adhesive visa. Vietnamese officials remove detachable visas from the passports of travelers when they depart Vietnam, leaving travelers with no proof of their recent Vietnam departure. This situation can result in Lao officials requiring the traveler to return to Vietnam.
Even if you have a valid visa, you may be refused entry to Vietnam. We caution you that Vietnamese immigration regulations require foreigners entering Vietnam to undertake only the activity for which their visas were issued. If you change the purpose of your visit, you must get permission to do so in advance from the appropriate Vietnamese authority. If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen in Vietnam, you must obtain both a replacement passport and a replacement Vietnamese visa. If you have an emergency, the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General can issue you a limited validity replacement passport in as little as one day; however, the Vietnamese government requires three to five working days, in addition to the day of application, to issue a replacement visa. Neither the U.S. Embassy nor the Consulate General can expedite replacement Vietnamese visas.