WHO NEEDS A VISA TO COME TO VIETNAM?
Not everyone needs a visa (or Visa Letter) to visit Vietnam (though they may still need to show a return ticket). Passport holders of ASEAN member-countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Laos do not need a Vietnam visa if they visit Vietnam for no more than 21 days. Philippine passport holders do not need a Vietnamese visa for 21 days, and Myanmar passport holders do not need Visa within 14 days. The passport holders of Brunei are not required to get a visa to Vietnam for 15 days. They could apply for popular passport type with return tickets.
As of January 2019, the Vietnamese Government has a Visa Exemption or Waiver programs with over 24 countries. The waiver is usually for 15 days. This list of 24 countries includes France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom and Italy.
However, be aware that British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders are not eligible for the 15-day free visa exemption, and must still get a visa or visa letter.
Passport holders of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland are also exempt, people who hold those passports may come for 15 days. Russian Citizens can also come for 15 days without a Visa. HOWEVER – Note that citizens of countries that can come without a Visa that fly to Vietnam STILL MUST show a Return Air Ticket when they arrive at the airport.
WHAT IS A VIETNAM VISA ON ARRIVAL (VOA)?
A Visa on Arrival (VoA) is the same thing as Visa Approval Letter (VoA), and is a way for you to come to Vietnam without having to first visit a Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate outside Vietnam. It is a document issued by the Immigration Department of the Vietnamese Government, that you will receive from Saigon Visa Services by email as an attachment. It is official permission allowing you to board the flight to Vietnam and get the actual visa stamped into your passport upon arrival at the airport in Vietnam. When we send you the letter, you should print out the letter on paper, and bring it with you to Vietnam. Then, at immigration, when you arrive in Vietnam, you hand over the letter (and a passport sized photo) with your passport, to the immigration official will put the actual visa into your passport.
WHAT IS A VIETNAM VISA APPROVAL LETTER?
A Visa Approval Letter (or Invitation Letter) is the same thing as Visa on Arrival (VoA). This you to come to Vietnam, without having to first visit a Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate outside Vietnam. It is a document issued by the Immigration Department of the Vietnamese Government, that you will receive from Saigon Visa Services by email as an attachment. It is official permission allowing you to board the flight to Vietnam and get the actual visa stamped into your passport upon arrival at the airport in Vietnam. When we send you the letter, you should print out the letter on paper, and bring it with you to Vietnam. Then, at immigration, when you arrive in Vietnam, you hand over the letter (and a passport sized photo) with your passport, to the immigration official will put the actual visa into your passport.
WHAT INFORMATION DO I NEED TO PROVIDE TO APPLY FOR A VIETNAM VISA ON ARRIVAL?
1. Your full name, spelled Exactly as in your passport.
4. Date of birth
5. Passport number
6. Passport expiration date
7. Proposed date of arrival, the day you plan to arrive in Vietnam (be sure to take time zone differences into account!). This is the date you want your visa to start from.
8. Airport of arrival
9. Submit a photo or scan of the main page of your passport, to Saigonvisaservices.com online with your picture and the information from items numbered 1- 6 above, clearly visible.
Note: Your passport will need to have at least 6 more months left before it expires, and have at least 1 page left that is blank, and unused.
WHAT IF I FORGET TO BRING THE PASSPORT PHOTO OR THE VISA APPROVAL LETTER AND DON’T HAVE THEM WHEN I ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT IN VIETNAM
The passport photo, the Visa Approval Letter, (and the Stamping Fee) are mandatory. If you do not have any them when you arrive, solutions are possible but will take time and may be costly. If you don’t have a passport sized photo, it is possible to have your photo taken at the immigration department at the airport, or print out your Visa Approval Letter, however it will take time, you will be charged fees for doing this. If you don’t have the stamping fee in US dollars, at the airport in Saigon there is an ATM machine near the Landing Visa Counter.
WHAT IS THE STAMPING FEE?
The stamping Fee is a service charge that you pay directly to the Vietnamese government. You will pay it at the airport, directly to an Immigration Official at the immigration counter. It does not go to Saigon Visa Services in any way. Be sure to bring the stamping fee with you, as cash in US dollars.
Stamping Fee for Different Kinds of Visas:
1 month Single entry 25 USD
1 month multiple entries 50 USD
3 months single entry 25 USD
3 months multiple entries 50 USD
6 months multiple entries 95 USD
CAN I ENTER VIETNAM AT A DATE EARLIER THAN THE ARRIVAL DATE IN THE VISA APPROVAL LETTER?
No, you cannot enter into Vietnam at a date prior to the one on the Visa Letter.
This is your proposed date of arrival, the day you plan to arrive in Vietnam. This is the date you want your visa to start from. So be careful about the date, for example be sure to take time zone differences into account (Vietnam is GMT +7 hours).
CAN I STAY IN VIETNAM PAST THE EXIT DATE GRANTED IN MY VISA APPROVAL LETTER?
No, you cannot stay past the date granted for your visa, without getting a new visa. If you decide you want to stay past your visa expiry date, you must get a Visa Extension. You can leave Vietnam before the exit date on your visa, but if you decide that you want to stay longer than your visa allows, you must get a Visa Extension.
CAN I USE A VIETNAM VISA ON ARRIVAL (VOA)/ VISA LETTER TO ENTRY VIETNAM BY LAND OR SEA?
No, you cannot use the Visa on Arrival (Approval Letter) to enter Vietnam by land or sea, such as through land crossings from Cambodia, or by boat from Thailand. It is only for entry into Vietnam by air, at one of the 5 International Airports.
WHAT IF THE AIRPORT I WILL ARRIVE AT IN VIETNAM CHANGES?
The visa approval letter works at any of the 5 international airports of Vietnam. These are: Noi Bai in Hanoi, Cat Bi in Hai Phong, Da Nang Airport in Da Nang, Cam Ranh Airport in Khanh Hoa and Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City). You can still get a visa stamped onto your passport at any of these airports.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SINGLE ENTRY VISA AND A MULTIPLE ENTRY VISA?
If you have a Single Entry Visa, you cannot leave Vietnam and then re-enter without getting a new Visa. A Multiple Entry Visa allows you to leave Vietnam, and then re-enter again. as many times as you want during the duration of the visa, until it expires. So, if you wish to also visit Cambodia, Thailand or other nearby countries and then re-enter Vietnam, get a Multiple Entry Visa.
A Single Entry Visa allows you to enter into Vietnam one time – the first time, when you arrive at the airport. A Single Entry Visa can only be used for one entry in Vietnam, and you use up that one time when you arrive. If you have a Single Entry Visa and leave Vietnam, you cannot enter Vietnam again on that visa, you would need to get another, new visa. For example, if you come to Vietnam on a Single Entry Visa, and then leave Vietnam to visit neighboring Cambodia, you will have to arrange a new visa in Cambodia before you can come back to Vietnam. If you leave Vietnam and have a Multiple Entry Visa, and it has not expired, you can come back into Vietnam without having to get a new visa.
TIPS AND ADVICE FOR VISITING VIETNAM
MOBILE TELEPHONE SERVICE
You can buy a Tourist SIM right at the airport, or later at a shop, and many hotels sell them also. There are usually have some telecom booths or shops for you to choose from. The 3 major mobile phone companies are Vinaphone, Viettel and Mobifone.
The Traffic is Not as Dangerous as it seems, so Go For It! That having been said, always look both ways, and for motorbike riders who are going the wrong way. Try to make eye contact with oncoming motorbike riders when crossing the street. Drivers and motorbike riders in Vietnam are ready for anything in their path, from a pedestrian to a water buffalo – you just need to look out for the motorbike rider who doesn’t see you, most often because he or she is distracted by their mobile phone.
Be careful about which taxis you choose, such as to the airport, to avoid being overcharged. The two most reliable taxi companies are Mai Linh and Vinasun, and there is also Grab via mobile app.
Dress for warm weather, it never gets really cold in Saigon (though it does in the North of Vietnam). You can leave your jeans at home. Dress appropriately when visiting Pagodas or other religious sites.
KEEP YOUR COOL
If you become frustrated, don’t lose your temper, and acting angry, such as yelling, will only make the situation worse.
Definitely try the delicious street food, for which Vietnam is famous