Visa on Arrival – What it is all about
What is Vietnam Visa On Arrival?
To enter a foreign country, the first thing is to apply for a visa of that country (except in the case of visa exemption). Visa on arrival is a different way to obtain a visa for Vietnam other than getting a visa at the Vietnam Embassy.
For this type of visa, you will need to fill in the online application for a visa approval letter through a visa service company or organization, then you will receive a visa approval letter through email. After coming to Vietnam, you need to submit to the immigration officer at the airport documents including approval letter, original passport (valid for at least 6 months), 2 passport photos, and Vietnamese visa application form and stamping fee to Immigration Officers at the airport.
There is a basic difference between visa on arrival and visa at Vietnamese embassy. With visa on arrival, the Vietnam Immigration Department will issue a visa approval letter with your name on it stating that you are allowed to enter Vietnam on a specified date (according to the application form when you apply online). Then, you will have the visa stamped onto your passport at the arrival airport in Vietnam.
Visa on Arrival service is the best choice for those who are far away from the Embassy or the emergency does not have regular visa time.
What is a Vietnam Visa approval letter?
A Vietnam Visa approval letter is a document issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department. It is a permit that allows you to enter Vietnam and get a visa stamped onto the passport upon arrival at Vietnam airport, after which you can leave and enter Vietnam for a specific period of time.
It should be noted that the Immigration Department will check your information in detail and strictly before issuing the approval letter, so you can confidently arrive at Vietnam’s international airports when you have this document.
To get the approval letter, you need to apply online through a travel agency licensed to provide visa services, then they will work with the Immigration Department to get the dispatch and send it to you through email.
One note is that the visa approval letter may have the names of some people who are applying for visas at the same time as you.
How long does it take to get the visa approval letter?
In normal circumstances, you will receive a letter after 2 working days (for a tourist visa) or 5-7 working days (for a business visa) via email (excluding Saturday, Sunday and public holidays in Vietnam).
In an emergency, you will receive a visa approval letter (for a tourist visa) within the following time frame:
- Same day Processing : if you submit your application and pay the service fee before 12pm except Saturday and Sunday (Vietnam time – GMT+7), you will receive a visa approval letter before 6 pm the same day.
- Next day Processing: if you submit your application and pay the service fee after 12pm (Vietnam time – GMT+7) except Saturday and Sunday, you will receive an approval letter before 6 pm the next working day (for tourist visa) or 2-3 next working days (for business visa).
Note: The above information applies only to working days, excluding Saturday, Sunday and public holidays in Vietnam. So you need to check the time zone difference between Vietnam and your country.
Since Visa Counter at Vietnam international airports work 24/7, if you have the visa approval letter in hand, you can get a visa stamped regardless of your landing dates.
For the 3-month visa service, after 4 working days you will get the approval letter.
How can I receive my Vietnam visa approval letter?
You will receive a copy of the approval letter via email, so please provide the correct email address.
Note: The approval letter is available in PDF format, so you need to make sure that you update Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the file.
What information do I need to provide to apply for my Vietnam visa approval letter?
To complete the online for a Vietnam visa approval letter, you need to provide the following information:
- Full name (exactly as in your passport)
- Date of birth (DOB)
- Passport Number
- Proposed arrival date
- Proposed exit date
- Purpose of visit
Please see the full visa application form here.
Do I need to provide you with my exact arrival date to apply for a visa on arrival?
You do not need to provide the exact date of arrival in Vietnam, but the earliest date you expect to come to Vietnam. You can surely come to Vietnam after that date. However, please remember to leave Vietnam prior to the expiry date mentioned in the approval letter.
For instance, if you want to apply for a Vietnam visa for a period of 1 month from June 16, 2020, the visa will be valid from June 16, 2020 to July 16, 2020. You can come to Vietnam at any time between June 16 and July 16, and must leave Vietnam before July 16, 2020.
Note: The approval letter cannot be changed after being issued, so if you want to come to Vietnam earlier than the date mentioned on it, you need to request a new letter.
Should I apply for the approval letter soon?
You can apply for a visa approval letter anytime you want, but it is best to submit 1-2 months before the departure date to avoid possible schedule changes.
Can I use the airport entry visa to enter Vietnam by land or sea?
No, you cannot. Vietnam visa on arrival is only valid for visitors traveling to Vietnam by air. In this case, you should contact the Vietnamese embassy or consulate to apply for a visa.
What should I do if I forgot to submit the photo and print out of the approval letter when arriving at Vietnam airport?
An approval letter and photos are required documents of visa application for Vietnam airport. If you forget to bring those documents, you need to pay extra money (2-5 USD) to get your photos taken by Immigration Officers & a lot of money to print out the Arrival Letter right there.
We recommend you use our Airport Pickup (aka Fast Track) service to ensure you can enter Vietnam quickly and conveniently. Please contact us via the hotline +84 if you have any difficulties entering Vietnam airport.
Can I use the code in the approval letter to get a visa at the Embassy?
Unfortunately, you cannot use the official letter to get a visa at the Embassy. However, we can assist you to obtain a new approval letter with a different number and then you can use it to get a visa at the nearest Vietnam Embassy.
We recommend that you choose a visa on arrival because the process of getting a visa stamp at the airport is very simple, fast and does not cost much. This type of visa is completely legal and it is becoming increasingly popular worldwide and Vietnam.
What if my arrival airport changes?
Changing your destination airport will not affect your visa application. But if you want to change, consider carefully to avoid any problems that may arise. The visa approval letter works at 08 international airports of Vietnam (Hanoi, Van Don, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Khanh Hoa, Can Tho, Hai Phong, Da Lat). Therefore, you can completely get a visa upon arrival at one of these 8 airports.
Can I enter Vietnam earlier than my arrival date in the approval letter?
No, you can enter Vietnam after the date issued in the dispatch, but cannot enter Vietnam earlier than that date. In case you want to change the trip schedule, you are recommended to apply for a new visa approval letter.
What is the difference between a single and multiple entry visa?
There is a big difference between a single entry visa and a multiple entry visa to Vietnam, which is the number of times a person is allowed to enter that country:
- Single entry visas allow you to visit Vietnam only once. Once you have exited Vietnam, you must apply for a new visa to re-enter Vietnam.
- Multiple entry visas allow you to freely enter and exit Vietnam regardless of the number of times within the valid period of the visa.
Can I exit Vietnam later than the exit date issued in the approval letter?
No, you cannot. You are allowed to exit earlier than the departure date stated in the official dispatch, but cannot leave Vietnam later than that date. In case you want to stay in Vietnam longer, you can check out our Vietnam visa extension service.
Visa Cost and Payment
What is the total cost for a Vietnam visa on arrival?
Visa on arrival includes two types of fees:
Service fee: is the fee you pay directly to Vietnamvisa.org.vn to handle all procedures with the Immigration Department of Vietnam to obtain an approval letter via email that you register. This fee will vary depending on the number of applicants in your visa application as well as the type of service you want to use (regular, urgent and super urgent). Please refer to the visa application fee for the specific price for each type of visa.
Stamping fee: It is the cash cost you have to pay directly to the Immigration staff at the airport. You can pay in USD, AUD, VND, … (USD is highly recommended to avoid exchange rate differences). There are currently the following types of stamping fees:
- 25 USD for single entry visa with term of 1 month or 3 months
- USD 50 for multiple entry visas with a maximum validity of 3 months
- 95 USD for multiple entry visas with a maximum validity of 6 months;
- 135 USD for multiple entry visas with a maximum validity of 1 year.
How to pay for Vietnam Visa on arrival?
Vietnam visa service fee only applies to the step of getting an approval letter. The stamp fee will be paid directly at the Vietnam airport. Please see the visa fee for Vietnam entry for more details.
Currently we apply 2 forms of payment:
- Option 1: Pay with VISA, credit card, Master, JCB, Diners Club, or American Express cards through www.OnePay.vn
If you choose this option, you will need to fill in your credit card details in the online registration form at the final payment step or make payment 01 day later after signing in your account.
- Option 2: Pay through www.paypal.com by using a credit card.
You can pay the service fee to us by credit card via Paypal. Our Paypal account is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please select the Paypal payment method at the last step of the application to process or make a payment 01 day later after signing in to your account.
Can I pay the VND stamping fee at the airport?
Yes, you can pay a stamp fee in VND, AUD, SGD, … but USD is highly recommended to avoid exchange rate differences at the airport.
What types of debit / credit cards are accepted for online payment?
We accept both a Debit card and a Credit card (Master and Visa) for payment of approval letter.
Why did I enter the correct credit card number but was not accepted?
There are several possibilities why your payment was not accepted:
- The expiry date of the card is incorrect.
- You have reached your credit limit.
- A computer error has occurred
- The verification code has been entered incorrectly.
Who can I contact if I want to learn more about visas to Vietnam?
Please see the Visa Information section for general information regarding visas, such as exempt nationalities, visa procedures for each country, etc. and the FAQ section for other issues. Besides, if you have any questions, please chat directly with our customer service at the chat window at the bottom of the screen.
Visa On Arrival Requirements
Who needs a Vietnam Visa?
Most foreigners coming to Vietnam need an entry visa, except for those who are exempt from visa.
Citizens of the following nationals are exempted from visa to Vietnam:
- Citizens of Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Laos are exempted from visa for a maximum of 30 days.
- Philippine citizens are exempted from visa for a maximum of 21 days.
- Citizens of 13 countries including Russia, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Finland, Sweden, Finland, England, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belarus, Denmark are exempted from visa for a maximum of 15 days.
- Brunei Darussalam and Myanmar are exempted from visa for maximum 14 days.
- French nationals holding diplomatic passports and official passports are exempt from visa for a stay not exceeding 3 months within 6 months from the first date of entry.
- Chilean citizens holding diplomatic or official passports are exempted from visa for maximum 90 days.
- APEC business travel card holders (ABTC) from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies are exempted from visa for visits up to 60 days.
- Citizens of England, Italy, Germany, Spain and France are exempted from visa for up to 15 days until June 30, 2018.
- Belarus citizens are exempted from visa for a maximum of 15 days until June 30, 2020.
- Foreigners and Vietnamese holding foreign passports that enter, exit or reside on Phu Quoc island are exempted from visa for a maximum stay period of 30 days on the condition of travelling to Phu Quoc (including sea and air) from another country except for Vietnam. In case if tourists enter an international border of Vietnam and stay in the transit area at that border gate before forwarding to Phu Quoc island, they are also exempted from entry visa. Passport must be valid for at least 45 days. After arriving in Phu Quoc, if you want to visit other places in Vietnam or want to stay on the island for more than 30 days, you can go to the local Immigration Office to apply for a visa on the spot.
How many types of Vietnamese visas are currently available?
Based on the purpose of entering Vietnam, the visa is divided into 03 categories:
- Tourist visa: valid for a maximum of 3 months (except for tourist visas for US citizens, the maximum is 1 year)
- Commercial visa: valid for a maximum of 1 year
- Visa for other purposes: valid for a maximum of 3 months.
Based on the length of stay and the number of times you enter Vietnam, the visa is divided into 06 categories:
- 1-month single entry visa;
- 1-month multiple entry visa;
- 3-month single entry visa;
- 3-month multiple entry visa;
- 6-month multiple entry visa;
- 1-year multiple entry visa.
What are the photo regulations for Vietnam Visa on Arrival?
For Visa On Arrival, applicants need to prepare 02 photos to get visa stamps at Vietnam airport. Here are some photo requirements for visa on arrival:
- Must be a passport photo, of clear quality and taken within the last 6 months.
- The distance from the chin to the top of the head is within 1 – 1 3/8 inch (25 to 35mm), the head is centered on the frame.
- It may be in color or black and white. Photos must capture the entire face, looking straight and eyes opened. The background is white or light white.
- Do not wear a hat or headscarf that obscures the hair or roots, except for religious reasons.
- Do not wear glasses, hearing aids or similar devices when taking photos.
- Do not wear sunglasses, contact lenses or glasses without a prescription from your doctor when taking a passport photo. If you need to wear one, you need to provide medical documentation (but it is best not to wear it).
Do I need to submit the original passport scan?
Normally, we do not require a scanned copy of the passport when applying for an online visa. But you may need to send a scanned copy in case Immigration Department asks you to confirm some information provided. We will then send you an email to remind you to attach when you submit your application.
When do I have to pay for an approval letter?
You need to pay the service fee for the visa approval letter as soon as you apply. In case you have trouble processing payment, please email us at: email@example.com and we will then send you a payment link. Please note that your application will not be processed if you do not pay the full fee.
What do I do if I enter the wrong passport number?
After submitting your application, you will receive a confirmation email that lists the information which you provided previously. If there are any errors, please contact us immediately via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you find out the mistake after confirmation, you must submit a new application form with the correct information.
Can I come to Vietnam without an approval letter and get the visa after arrival?
No, you cannot. Without written approval, the airline will not allow you to board the aircraft. This is also a required component if you want to get a visa at Vietnam International Airport.
I am a Vietnamese currently living abroad with a foreign nationality, how can I get a Vietnam visa?
As you are Vietnamese abroad, you can choose one of the two ways to make a Vietnam visa:
What do I do if my passport expires? Can I apply for a visa to Vietnam with an expired passport?
You cannot apply for a Vietnam visa if your passport expires. In this case, you need to renew your passport before submitting the application.
Therefore, please check and make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into Vietnam.