Which kind of Vietnam Visa do you need to apply?

Vietnam visa guide

It became a very hard job to find trustworthy pages when searching for Visa information online and a lot of scams are out there. They miss-use migration, embassy etc. in their domain name to let them appear official but they are not!

There are only 2 official Visa websites managed by the Vietnamese government:

You can find a lot of information on these websites, but the websites are slow and it takes a long time to find out which Visa you exactly need. That’s why I recommend to start answering the questions below.

1. Which Visa do you need?

Ask yourself these 3 questions to determine which visa you need.

1.1 Visa Exempted?

If you are a citizen of one countries below, you do not need a Visa in Vietnam as long as your stay doesn’t exceed the maximum number of days.*

You also don’t need a Visa If the only place you are visiting is Phu Quoc.**

Max durationExempted countries
30 daysCambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore
21 daysPhilippines
15 daysDenmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russian, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK
14 daysBrunei, Myanmar

*When re-entering Vietnam, the entry date must be at least 30 days from the previous exit

**When you are only visiting Phu Quoc and your stay is less than 30 days, you don’t need a Visa. This exemption is also valid for transit through other international border gates of Vietnam.

Check the Official government website for the complete list of exempted countries.

1.2 Staying less than 30 days?

Do you stay less than 30 days in Vietnam and is your country not eligible for the Visa exemption?

Check the official e-visa website to find out if your nationality is eligible for e-Visa.

  • Your country included in the list: Go to e-Visa Application process
  • Your country is not included in the list: Answer question 1.3

1.3 Staying more than 30 days or want a multi-entry visa?

When you want to stay over 30 days or want to apply for a multiple-entry Visa you have to apply for a Letter of Approval.

You also need to apply for this letter when your nationality is not eligible for an e-Visa.

To apply for this letter, you have 3 options:

  • Apply for a Letter of Approval which gives you the right to buy a Visa on Arrival when entering Vietnam
  • Get your Visa at the Vietnamese Embassy in your own country
  • Let an agency arrange your Visa

2. How to apply for your Visa

2.1 E-Visa Application process

Starting from February 2017, Vietnam started a 2 year pilot with electronic Visas. Citizen from 46 countries are eligible to apply for this single-entry Visa.

The 30 day Visa costs $25 and the application process takes about 3 business days.

Official E-Visa website

Vietnam visa guide

Visit the official government website to apply for the e-Visa.

Step 1

  • Upload passport + portrait photo (4x6cm).
  • Fill out personal details.
  • Provide information about your stay (length, arrival, departure etc.).

Step 2

  • Confirm information filled out.

Step 3

  • Pay the $25- fee online. Your application will be processed in 3 business days.
  • Accepted international cards: Visa, Mastercard, JCB

If you want to stay longer, you can apply for an extension after you entered Vietnam. However, if you already know that you will stay longer than 30 days, it is cheaper to apply for a 90 days Visa on arrival.

Important notes:

  • Don’t forget to check if your country is included in the list of 46 countries before applying. Your payment will not be refunded if you are not eligible for an e-Visa.
  • Make sure your picture is clear, you look into the camera, you aren’t wearing glasses and the picture has the right format (4x6cm).
  • You can test your photo on this official government website, but unfortunately the website often fails to finish the test.
  • You can enter from 28 international checkpoints (land, ferry and air). See the full list here.

Application tips:

  • Intended temporary residential address in Vietnam: Book a stay for your first day and use this address.
  • Intended length of stay in Vietnam (number of days): If you are not sure when you will leave Vietnam, use the maximum number of days allowed to stay (30 days).
  • Exit through checkpoint: If you do not have a (flight) ticket out of the country fill out the city from which you expect to exit.

2.2 Letter of Approval (Visa on Arrival)

Citizen of countries who are not eligible for an e-Visa need to apply for a Letter of Approval. You need to show this letter at the airport to get a Visa stamp/Visa on Arrival.

Another reason to apply for a Letter of Approval is when you intend to stay over 30 days or want to apply for a multi-entry Visa.

The lowest price I could find to get this Letter of Approval is $6. Note that this letter of approval is not your Visa! It is just a simple letter that includes your name.

When entering Vietnam, show this letter to the migration officers at the airport and pay $25. This gives you the right to get the Visa stamp on your passport, which allows you to stay in Vietnam for a maximum of 30 days.

If you don’t have an e-Visa or Letter of Approval, the officers will refuse your entry to Vietnam!

Below you find an overview of the most common Visas.

Type of entry30 days90 daysStamp fee

The prices are based on the official stamp fees and costs for the letter of approval from cheapvietnamvisa.net. A 30 day Visa will cost you $31 in total. $6 for the Letter of Approval and the $25 stamp fee.

I have to admit that the website looks a bit dodgy, but for me it worked really well and I also find good reviews about this website.

Price table of cheapvietnamvisa

vietnam visa price

If you don’t trust this website you can also use Visaonlinevietnam.com (recommended by Lonely Planet). However, fees are more expensive for the same service. The simplest options (30 days, single entry) start from $20.

Important notes:

  • Besides your Letter of Approval you will need 2 portrait photos to get your Visa stamped.
  • Make sure you bring $25 or its equivalent in EUR or VND in cash. Using an ATM before the migration is not possible!
  • The Vietnamese government requires to have at least 10 names on the list of approval. This means your name will be visible for other people on this list as well. If you want more privacy, you can pay $6-$10 extra to get a private letter.
  • With a Letter of Approval, you can officially only enter Vietnam by airport. In some cases you can also enter over land though. Always double check with the organization that issued your Letter of Approval.

2.3 Visa on Arrival from Agency or Embassy

There are only two reasons why you should consider to get your Visa at the Embassy or at an agency:

  1. You are entering Vietnam over land
  2. You are arriving at another airport than Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Danang or Phu Quoc

If one of the 2 situations apply to you, you can double check if the issuing company for your Letter of Approval allows this. If they don’t allow this, you should apply for your Visa at the Embassy in your country or at an Agency.

Note: With this option, you don’t need to get the airport stamp anymore when you arrive in Vietnam. However, applying for a Visa at an Agency or Embassy will always be more expensive. Also, you will either have to visit the Embassy /Agency or send them your passport.

For more details check out the website of the Vietnam Embassy or local agency in your country.

3. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Return ticket required?

An outbound flight or bus ticket from Vietnam is required, but in most cases they won’t ask you. If you don’t have this ticket, officials can refuse you from the flight to Vietnam or on arrival at Vietnam Airport. As a back-up you can always book a bus ticket outward of Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh (Cambodia) on Baolau for just 270.000 VND (€10).

  • How long should my passport be valid?

Vietnam law requires the Visa expire date to be at least 30 days before the passport expire date. Keep in mind that airlines require your passport to be valid for at least another 6 months.

  • Can I enter Vietnam after the starting date or before the exit date of the Visa?

Yes, you can enter or exit Vietnam on any date within the validity period of your Visa.

  • What are the fees you have to pay for overstaying?

Vietnam doesn’t officially report these fees, but expected to pay around $25 p/day. You can prevent these fees by extending your Visa in Vietnam, but expect this to take over 5 days. Visit a local agency or the eVietnamVisa to extend your Visa while in Vietnam.

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