05 Common Mistakes with Visa On Arrival and How to Avoid

In brief, the Vietnam visa-on-arrival is a process of obtaining the pre-approved visa letter (visa approval letter) through a travel agency in Vietnam to check-in at the departure airport and pick up the actual visa stamp at an international airport in Vietnam upon arrival.

Who are eligible

Most visitors to Vietnam require a valid visa to visit the country and are eligible to apply for a visa on arrival as long as they enter Vietnam by air at one of the International airports in Vietnam.
Visa exemption: Updated list of 2019

How to apply for Vietnam Visa On Arrival

Steps required to apply for a Vietnam visa on arrival:

  • Step 1: Apply online for an approval letter, which may take 3-5 working days for standard processing and 8 working hours for urgent processing.
  • Step 2: Receive the approval letter by email and print a hard copy. Prepare 2 passports sized photos, your passport (must be valid for at least 6 months at time of entry) and stamping fee of 25 USD (for single entry visa) and 50 USD (for multiple entry visa) in cash.
  • Step 3: Present all above-mentioned documents to get your visa stamp upon arrival at an international airport in Vietnam (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Hai Phong, and Da Nang). That it is!
    • oi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)
    • Cat Bi International Airport (Hai Phong)
    • Da Nang International Airport (Da Nang)
    • Cam Ranh International Airport (Nha Trang)
    • Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)
    • Phu Quoc International Airport

    Why choose a visa on arrival?

    • Low cost – Relatively cheap compared to other methods of getting a visa to Vietnam.
    • Fast – In emergency cases, it is possible to obtain a visa approval letter in just 2-3 hours.

    Things to know

    • Unlike other countries (Cambodia, Thailand..etc) where you can get the visa directly at border gates upon landing, for Vietnam visa on arrival you are required to apply for a pre-approved visa letter through a Vietnamese agency in order to pick up the visa stamp on arrival.
    • The 15 days free visa exemption has been extended to June 2020 for the passport holders from the United Kingdom, France, – Spain, Italy, and Germany. Travelers from these countries can travel to Vietnam without a visa for 15 days, longer-term visas can be obtained through visa on arrival or at the local embassy.
    • As of November 2014, foreign travelers who fly directly to Phu Quoc island will no longer require a visa.

     

    Additional notes:

    • Visa on arrival is applicable for air travel only. If you enter Vietnam by land or cruise, you are required to obtain a full Visa before you arrive.
    • Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned stay in Vietnam.
    • If you travel with children having their own passports, you are also required to pay the same fees as adults.
    • The stamping fee at Vietnam airport is payable in cash only, no credit cards are accepted.
    • There is NO OFFICIAL website for visa on arrival service. All websites offering the pre-approved visa letter are private agencies. Do not get confused by the bulk of websites with organizational internet domain TLDs (org, gov..ect).

    Visa-on-arrival documents:

    With the approval letter (Image 1) that you obtain through our service, you are able to get your visa stamp (image 2) on arrival at Vietnam airport.

    Business visa on arrival

    A foreign national traveling to Vietnam to conduct a temporary business needs to apply for a business/working visa (categorized under LD/DN visa type). Please check out the business visa page for details.

    Visa on arrival fees

    The visa on arrival fee will depend on the type of visa you are applying for, below is a sample fee for a tourist visa on arrival.

    TYPE OF VISA SERVICE FEES STAMPING FEE
    Single entry – 1 month 18 USD 25 USD
    Multiple entries – 1 month 23 USD 50 USD
    Single entry – 3 month 28 USD 25 USD
    Multiple entries – 3 month 43 USD 50 USD
    Multiple entries – 12 month (US passports) 60 USD 135 USD

    The stamping fee is payable by cash at Vietnam airport in Vietnamese Dongs and US dollars (credit cards are not accepted). Please see our fee page for more detailed instructions.

    Visa-on-arrival counter photos:

    Visa Counter Signs

    Visa Application Counter

    Frequently asked questions

    1. Is Vietnam Visa on Arrival legitimate?

    YES – it is as the Issuing Authority is the Immigration Department.

    References:

    • Ordinance on entry, exit, and residence of foreigners in Vietnam
    • Government’s Decree No. 21/2001/ND-CP (Vietnamese)
    • Joint Circular No. 04/2002/TTLT/BCA-BNG (Vietnamese)

    Vietnam visa upon arrival at Phu Cat airport?

    Question: My Vietnam travel itinerary includes arriving/leaving from Hanoi, but with a side trip to a resort that is serviced by Phu Cat Airport (UIH). Will a Visa Upon arrival be honored at Phu Cat Airport (Quy Nhon)? (Sharon DeAngelis)

    Answer: As the visa will be stamped on your passport upon landing at Hanoi airport,  you are able to travel anywhere in Vietnam (including a resort in Quy Nhon) without any problems.

    How long does it take to get my visa stamp at the airport?

    From our customers experience in the past 10 years:

    • 40% of the customers: Waited less than 15 minutes.
    • 40% of the customers: Waited for 15-30 minutes.
    • 15% of the customers: Waited 30 minutes to 1 hour.
    • 5% of the customers: Waited >1 hour. (Update 2019: Some of our clients had to wait for 2 hours due to a large number of arrivals on Christmas Day, 24-December. If you travel with children, please contact us for help or fast track in this case)

    Our tips for you are:

    • Prepare all the documents before you arrive.
    • Prepare the exact amount for the stamping fee.
    • Prepare the stamping fee in cash either in Vietnamese Dong or US dollars.
    • Rush out the airplane as soon as possible to be the first come first serve.
    • If you are traveling with children or elderly people, ask the officers for priority.

    Should I use a “fast track” service to avoid the queue?

    No,  we do not offer fast-track service and we do not recommend you to purchase it as we believe that it is NOT a “FAIR” service. If you travel with children or are in emergency cases, you can ask the officers or other applicants for priority. Kindly check out a detailed guide on wait time at Vietnam airport.

    Can I can get the visa directly at Vietnam airport?

    No, you can not. In order to obtain your visa on arrival, you must apply online for an approval letter (pre-approved visa letter) through a travel agency.

    I pay online already, do I need to pay on arrival as well?

    Yes, please be advised that there are two fees you are required to pay for the visa on arrival service:

    • Service fee: Payable online for our company to obtain your letter of approval.
    • Stamping fee: Payable by cash at Vietnam airport when you arrive.

    Kindly check out the fee page for more details.

    Can I get a photo when I arrive?

    There is currently no photo boot at Vietnam airport, we strongly recommended that you have your photo taken before you go. Some of our customers reported that they were able to get their photos taken at Vietnam airport for $2 US/each through an unprofessional photo service.

    Can I extend my visa once I am in Vietnam using this visa on arrival?

    In most cases, you are able to renew your visa once you are in Vietnam. 95% of our customers were able to review their visas without hassle. Some can not get their visas renewed for one of the following reasons:

    • They overstay their visas.
    • They have problems with their past entries (overstay, wrong entry purpose). List of applicable airports.

    Convenient – Everything will be done online, no passport sendoff, no documents required.

    ==>> More about: Vietnam visa exemption

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