Vietnam Visas

Hoi An Guide | Tips & Essentials

UPDATE: October 8th, 2020

Following the end of lockdown, anyone currently in Vietnam on a tourist visa can now extend their visa by 1-month. Extensions will take effect from the date of your last visa. Costs are currently $95 through Mr Hung at www.vietnamvisahere.com but may be subject to change.

Tourists who came to Vietnam after March 1 will be automatically given a stay permit extension until Oct 31 free of charge. Tourists who came to the country before March 1 will also be considered for this permit extension as long as they can prove they cannot leave the country due to the pandemic. Please contact your embassy for a permit extension.

At present all foreign travel to Vietnam has been paused, with a few exceptions. There are a number of flights available aimed at repatriating Vietnamese citizens who are currently living and working abroad. Some other flights have been declared for diplomats, experts and essential workers.

We’ll update any further visa news here as soon as we have it.


For most nationalities, the Vietnam visa application is fast and straightforward. Whilst 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 from 1-3 months, and come with either single or multiple-entry.

Urgent: update on visas for entering Vietnam from 1st July 2020

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak that took place in the spring of 2020, Vietnam has updated its rules and regulations regarding visas. Vietnam will grant e-visa to citizens of 80 countries starting from 1st of July, 2020 as per Resolution No. 79/NQ-CP. Details on the list of countries can be accessed here.

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.

Please refer to this link in order to see the complete list of international border gates and ports that citizens eligible for e-visa can use in order to enter the Vietnam, starting on 1st July 2020.

Note: this information is subject to change so please check the situation closer to your travel date. The following information below refers to the time prior to the Covid outbreak and will be updated when the situation becomes more stable.

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 have British citizenship, you can stay for up to 15 days without needing a visa. If you plan to stay longer, you’ll need a tourist visa.

Many other nationalities can enter Vietnam for 2 weeks up to 90 days without needing a visa. Check here to see if your country is one of them.

Travellers from the US or Australia require a tourist visa even for short stays.

Special Situation: Phu Quoc Island

If you are travelling 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 travellers, a tourist visa is required. Depending on your nationality, you can normally apply for a Vietnam tourist visa for up to 3 months.

Ensure that your passport has a minimum 6-month period left on it, and that at least 2 pages are blank.

If you are travelling for reasons of long-term employment or study, you can apply for a work permit through your employer or educational establishment.

Vietnam Tourist Visa

There are three ways to get a Tourist Visa:

  • Vietnam visa on arrival (VOA)
  • E-visa
  • Embassy visa (from the Vietnamese Embassy in your country)

Vietnam Visa on Arrival (VOA)

A VOA is a single or multiple entry 1 – 3 month Tourist or Business visa 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 will need to know your arrival date and the name of the airport at which you will arrive).

  • Pay the visa servicing fee online
  • Within two 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?

VOAs are routine and easy. Visas obtained through the Embassy cost more and are time consuming.

Electronic Visa: Where to Get a Vietnam Visa Online

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 VOA (Visa on Arrival).  It is far cheaper than an Embassy stamped visa and also quicker to obtain.

  • Start at the official Vietnamese government website
  • Upload a picture of your passport (the page with your name, date of birth, passport number etc.. on it) and a passport photo (both in .jpg form).
  • Fill up all required info
  • Pay the E-visa fee using any of the payment methods offered
  • Receive your registration code and save the number

What happens next?

You need to wait for 3 days and then search for your visa. After accessing your visa using the registration code, email and date of birth you will be able to download and print it.

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.

Embassy Visa

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.

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 3 months).

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 visa holders are allowed to apply only for 1-month extensions; 3-month visa holders can apply for either 1-month or 3-month extensions. More specifically:

  • If your current visa is a 1-month single-entry, 1-month multiple-entry, 3-month single-entry, or 3-month multiple entry, you are allowed to apply for a 1-month single-entry extension.
  • Only if your current visa is a 3-month single-entry, 3-month multiple-entry are you allowed to apply for a 3-month extension. 1-month visa holders may not apply for a 3-month single-entry extension.
  • The total time of your stay in Vietnam – including the extension – must be no longer than 6 months.
  • You may only apply for an extension 2 times, and the 6-month maximum requirement holds for and includes both extensions.

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. The fee for a 3-month extension will be about US$180-320, depending on your nationality. Furthermore, only some nationalities are eligible to apply for extensions. Presumably, any nationality which is eligible to apply for a visa in the first place would be able to apply for an extension of that visa (if the conditions above are met, of course), but Vietnamese bureaucracy being the opaque mass of frustration and confusion that it is, call the immigration department to find out:

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 Danang
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
Telephone:+(84)838299398
Email: phongqlxnc@vnn.vn

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:

  1. You entered Vietnam without a visa, because your country had an agreement with Vietnam allowing its citizens to enter visa-exempt;
  2. 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
  3. 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), US$330 (three months, single), and US$350 (three months, multiple).

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 three months.

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:

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.

Bus/Land:

The cheaper but much more laborious option. Check out these sites for step-by-step guides:

How to do a Visa Run in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Vietnamese Visa Runs: Everything You Need to Know

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.

For more information see https://vietnamvisahere.com/

From Da Nang

Although we don’t have firsthand experience of arranging new visas from Da Nang, the following site has been recommended by many expats living in the city:

https://trangvisa.com/

Written By
Sharon Guest

Primarily a playwright, Sharon has written for magazines and newspapers in many parts of the world. The author of two books, she is also a co-founder of Hoi An Now.

Comments

  1. Good Afternoon,

    This website is brilliant, thank you so much for such detailed information. Myself and my partner Simon are looking to start a new life in Hoi An and this will give us a great insight.

    We’ve been to Hoi An 6 times and lived there for 3 months in 2015 and now want to make it our permanent home. The only thing stopping us is visas and if we can get jobs!

    Thank you once again.
    Jo Davies

    Reply
    • Hi Jo, thanks for the nice feedback. So, regarding visas. Vietnam recently changed the visa situation and at this stage no-one is sure how it will play out. I would suggest you keep checking our site as we will post updated information as soon as we can. There are hundreds of expats living in Hoi An and Da Nang. Many have been here years. So if you want to settle in Hoi An (great idea), you’ll find many who can offer you advice. On the job front, most people come to Hoi An and pick up a job. Some start their own business. I have no doubt you’ll pick up something once you come over.

      Reply

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