Revised and re-published November 2021
For most nationalities, the Vietnam visa application is fast and straightforward. While some countries are exempt, most tourists will need a visa if staying in the country for longer than 15 days. Many others will require a visa even for a short stay.
Standard Vietnam tourist visas generally last for 30 days, and are single entry. For multiple entry visas contact your Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate or make visa applications ‘on arrival’ as opposed to E-visas (see below).
Those eligible for e-visa can enter Vietnam by flying on one of the eight international airports selected. They can also enter by land, crossing one of the international border gates or by sea, at 13 different ports across the country.
The eight international airport are: Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat, Cam Ranh, Da Nang, Cat Bi, Can Tho, Phu Quoc and Phu Bai international airports.
Do I need a visa for Vietnam?
Whether you need a visa for Vietnam depends on your nationality and how long you plan to stay. If you are from one of the 24 visa-exempt countries you can stay for a set period without needing a visa (see below). If you plan to stay longer than the set period, you’ll need a tourist visa.
Travelers from the US or Australia require a tourist visa even for short stays.
Special Situation: Phu Quoc Island
If you are traveling directly to Phu Quoc Island then you are able to stay there visa-free for up to 30 days. This applies to all countries. You will need to show an outbound ticket once in Vietnam.
What Visa do I need for Vietnam?
For travelers, a tourist visa is required. For most nationalities, you can normally apply for a Vietnam tourist visa for 30 days.
Ensure that your passport has a minimum 6-month period left on it, and that at least 2 pages are blank.
If you are traveling for reasons of long-term employment or study, you can apply for a business visa and a work permit through your employer or educational establishment.
You no longer need to provide negative Covid-19 entry tests to enter Vietnam.
Airlines however may have different regulations which you should check before heading to the airport. But if you contract Covid-19 while in Vietnam you will have to isolate. Also, you may find that in some situations masks and social distancing are still practiced.
How Do I Apply for a Tourist Visa in Vietnam?
First things first, unless you’re from one of the 24 visa-exempt countries (see this link), you will need a Vietnam visa to enter Vietnam. You may apply for E-visas (single entry only) and visas on arrival (single or multiple entry) online or you can visit your Embassy or Consulate and secure a visa in your passport before you leave (the most expensive option).
Vietnam E-visa Applications
The Electronic (E-visa) is the type of visa most encouraged by the Vietnamese Immigration Department for foreigners and is available in 80 countries. The place to start is the government website
This tourist visa is valid for 30 days, single entry and processing time should be around 2-3 days.
To apply for an e-visa you must include: full name, nationality, dob, sex, your passport number, passport expiry (must be more the 6 months away), intended date of entry, intended length of stay, intended address in Vietnam, port of entry (be careful, this can’t be changed).
You must also upload your passport and a passport photo in jpg form following the guidelines on the form and pay the fee online. Finally, save the resistration number and code.
An E-visa is the easiest, quickest and cheapest Vietnam visa to get. Effectively it has replaced the Embassy visa.
However, not all countries are eligible for an E-visa. Check this link to see if your country is eligible.
Should you not be eligible for an E-visa then the next best option is a Visa on Arrival (VOA). It is far cheaper than an Embassy stamped visa and also quicker to obtain. Approaching your embassy for a direct visa (stamped in your passport) is still a viable option of course, the upside being less queueing and fuss on arrival.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if my E-visa doesn’t show after the 3 processing days?
You will need to visit the help desk.
Can I get a Vietnam E-visa with multiple entry because I want to do a week in Vietnam, a week in Cambodia and then a week in Vietnam?
No, you can only get an E-visa with single entry. If you need a multiple entry visa then you need to apply for a VOA or before you depart from the Vietnamese Embassy in your country.
We are doing a boat trip from Cambodia and entering Vietnam at Tan Chau, I heard there are some places you cannot enter Vietnam on an E-visa, is this right ?
You are able to enter and re-enter Vietnam at most of the international checkpoints on an E-visa. But it is wise to check points of entry and exit just to make sure they are valid. In this case, Tan Chau is not on the list so you will need another type of visa.
Vietnam Visa on Arrival (VOA)
A (Visa on Arrival) VOA is a single or multiple entry 30-day Tourist that you pick up on arrival in Vietnam. You will need a letter of Approval (to pick up the visa) prior to leaving and the easiest way to do this is online from a trusted online site.
Fill out a quick application form online (you need to know your arrival date and the name of the airport at which you will arrive – once again the port of arrival can’t be changed so take care!)
- Pay the visa servicing fee online
- Within two or three business days, you will get an email with your official Vietnam visa Approval Letter issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department
- Print the Approval Letter and prepare two (4cm x 6cm) photos of yourself according to noted requirements
- Bring the printed Approval Letter, photos, and the government Stamping Fee (along with your passport and any other required documents) with you on your trip to Vietnam
- When you arrive at your destination airport in Vietnam, go to the Visa on Arrival Counter and show the Approval Letter and photos to the Immigration officers
- Pay the requested amount (usually $US 50 – in cash)
Trusted Online Sites
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the airport queue at the VOA counter?
You do need to queue but with the introduction of E-visas which most eligible tourists get nowadays, queues are much shorter. The wait? 20-40 minutes might be expected.
I don’t trust getting something on line, isn’t it better to get a visa directly from the Vietnamese Embassy?
Visas on Arrival (VOAs) are routine and easy. Visas obtained through the Embassy cost more and are time consuming.
Visit Your Embassy or Consulate
This visa is obtained from the Vietnamese Embassy (Consulate) in your home country before you leave. The E-visa has effectively replaced this visa but not all countries are eligible for E-visas and in most countries you can still use this method but it will cost more. Also, some embassies and consulates may have restricted services or processing delays so plan ahead.
Vietnam Visa Exemption Countries
You can travel to Vietnam without a visa if you’re from: Brunei and Myanmar (less than 14 days); Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom (less than 15 days); Philippines (less than 21 days); Cambodia, Indonesia, Krgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand (less than 30 days); Chile (less than 90 days).
Vietnam Visa Cost
Costs differ depending on different nationalities but expect to pay around $25 for an E-visa (usually up to 30 days) and around $50 for a Visa on Arrival (usually up to 30 days) and over double that at your local embassy/consulate.
How to Extend a Visa in Vietnam
A visa extension grants you a new staying duration permission in Vietnam. This does not replace your soon-to-expire visa; it pushes back the expiry date. Since this does not require a new visa stamp or sticker, it is cheaper than option a visa renewal.
In order to be eligible for a visa extension, your current visa must meet some conditions, which depend on the type of extension for which you are applying. 1-month, single entry visa holders are allowed to apply only for 1-month single entry extensions for example.
You must apply to extend your visa before your visa expires. It takes at least 7 working days to process and grant your extension, and you must submit your passport to the Vietnam Immigration Department office for this period of time, so plan accordingly.
The fee for a 1-month extension will be about US$80-120, depending on your nationality. Furthermore, only some nationalities are eligible to apply for extensions so call the immigration department to explore your prospects:
Vietnam Immigration Department (A18) in Hanoi
Address: 40A, Hang Bai Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone: (84)438264026: about entry and exit Vietnam, residing of foreigners in Vietnam, repatriating of Vietnam citizens living abroad.
Vietnam Immigration Department (A18) in Da Nang
Address: No. 7 Tran Quy Cap, Da Nang city
Telephone: + (84)7511-3823383
Vietnam Immigration Department (A18) in Ho Chi Minh City
Address: No 161 Nguyen Du, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
If you are eligible to apply for an extension the fastest route is to do so through a local travel agency offering visa extension services. In Hoi An, Hoi An Express (30 Trần Hưng Đạo, 0235 3919 293) is one such agency. Otherwise, you can also apply for an extension in person at the Da Nang immigration office at the address listed above. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 more months and have at least 1 or 2 blank pages.
Visa Renewal/Extension (From Within Vietnam)
Visa Extension will not be an option for you if:
- You entered Vietnam without a visa, because your country had an agreement with Vietnam allowing its citizens to enter visa-exempt;
- Your current visa does not meet the conditions for the extension you want to get: e.g., you have a 1-month visa, but want to stay in Vietnam for 3 more months; or
- You have a single-entry visa, and wish to switch to or extend your stay with a multiple-entry visa.
Renewing your visa essentially means replacing it. You can renew your visa from within Vietnam; as it requires a new visa stamp and sticker, though, it is more expensive than extending it. It will cost between about US$200 (one month, single).
Again, these prices may change depending on your nationality; contact the immigration department for specific details. A set of documents similar to those required for extension will be needed for renewal, and an in-country renewal can be done by travel agencies like the one provided above or at the immigration office. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 more months and have at least 1 or 2 blank pages. You can renew your visa for a maximum of 30 days.
Visa Run from Vietnam
This is probably the option you have heard the most about. A visa run is exactly what it sounds like: a run across the Vietnamese border to get a new Vietnamese visa. There are two main ways to do this: by leaving Vietnam and flying back in, and by leaving Vietnam and re-entering over land (typically by a bus).
Flying will, of course, be more expensive, but if you’re planning to travel a bit anyway, the avoided hassle and pain of a 2-day bus journey may be worth it. Flying back into Vietnam via an international airport will also allow you to get a Visa on Arrival, an option which is not open to land crossers.
If you choose to fly, you’ll be following the same process, with the same costs, that you did when you got your current visa. If you have a single-entry visa, you can do the visa run at any time: by leaving the country, you are voiding your visa, and will have to re-enter on a new one.
Before you leave, apply for the e-visa if you are of a nationality eligible for e-visas; otherwise, get your Visa on Arrival approval letter from a company such as Vietnam Visa Pro and all the required documentation. If you are on a multiple-entry visa, you will have to wait to leave until around when your visa expires: plan so that your visa expires once you are out of the country, and re-enter once it has expired.
The cheaper but much more laborious option. Check out these sites for step-by-step guides:
From Hoi An
Visa runs can be arranged through Mr Hung from Hoi An to the Laos border. He will arrange everything including your approval letter, fees and transport. Although the service can often be arranged at short notice, it’s advised to start the process at least two weeks before you intend to travel. There are also limited numbers of seats available on the buses so book early to avoid missing out. Your passport needs to have at least six months remaining on it.