Vietnam Visa & Passport Requirement

1. Vietnam Entry and Exit

   a. Passport  & Vietnam Visa Requirement

To enter Vietnam you must have a valid passport  with  at least six months validity remaining beyond the date of arrival and one blank page for entry stamp. You also need to have a valid visa,  visa exemption document or  written approval letter for a visa upon arrival, unless your  national meets the visa exemption of Vietnam ( check Vietnam visa exemption list). However, there will be no visa requirement for transit at the airport.

 To obtain a Vietnam visa, you are suggested to contact your nearby Vietnam embassy or consulate or diplomatic missions. Unable to get a visa in advance in limited circumstances, you can apply for a visa approval letter allowing you to board the flight and obtain a Vietnam visa upon arrival at international airports of Vietnam.

Because of the strict visa regulations, If you arrive without a suitable Vietnamese visa or visa documents, you will be denied entry and subject to immediate deportation. The overstay in Vietnam  without authority is also a serious matter since you may be delayed from travel until a fine is paid. Therefore you need to check the visa validity and conditions carefully.

 

   b. Land Entry

Presently, Vietnam has a number of international crossing check points on the borders with Cambodia, Laos and China. To enter Vietnam via these border check points, foreigners except Laos and Cambodia passport holders, must get Vietnam visa in advance since neither visa exemption nor visa on arrival are available for the land entry. Exceptionally, nationals of Laos and Cambodia are waived the visa valid for 30 days although they travel overland to Vietnam. 

The border check points between Vietnam and Laos are Tay Trang- Sobboun (Laichau, Vietnam to Pongsaly Province), Nameo - Banteui (Thanh Hua to Huaphanh province), Namkan - NamCan (Nge An to Xiengkhuang province), Keoneua - Namphao (Hatinh to Bolikhamxai province), Chalo - Napao (Guangbinh to Khammoun province), Lao Bao - Dansavanh (Quang Tri to Savannakhet province), Bo Y - Phukeua (Kon Tum to Attapu province). The visa on arrival or visa exemption is not available at Vietnam side. However , foreigners are allowed to get Laos visa upon arrival at Laos border check points.

 The border check points between Vietnam and Cambodia are Moc Bai – Bavet (Tay Ninh to  Svay Rieng  Province),  Vinh Xuong – Kha Orm Sam Nor ( An Giang to Kandal Province) , Thuong Phuoc - Koh Rohka ( Dong Thao to Prey Veng Province), Dinh Ba -  Banteay Chakrey ( Dong Thap to Preyveng Province) , Hoa Lu - Tropeang Sre ( Binh Phuoc to Kratie Province ), Ha Tien - Prek Chak ( Kien Giang to Kampot Province),  Tinh Bien - Phnom Den ( An Giang to Takeo Province) , Le Thanh - Oyadav ( Gia Lai to Rattankiri Province)  , Xa mat - Tropieng Phlong  ( Tay Ninh to Kampong Cham Province) ,  Khanh Binh - Chrey Thum ( An Giang to Takeo Province) and My Qui Te - Samrong (Long An to Svay Rieng Province). Actually, Cambodia visa  on arrival is available in Cambodia side but you must have visa before travelling to Vietnam via these border check points.

The border check points between China  and Vietnam are Youyi Guan - Huu Nghi  (  Guangxi to Lang Son Province), Dongxin –Dong Hung (Guangxi to Quang Ninh Province),  Hekou/Lao Cai (Yunnan to Lao Cai  Province)

 

2. Getting Vietnam Visa

   a. Vietnam Visa On Arrival

Mostly applied to tourist visa, the visa upon arrival is still  good options for anyone who is not able to obtain Vietnam visa in advance. However, it requires a valid visa pre-approval letter, and is available at Vietnam international airports only. You need to contact a legitimate travel agency to arrange the visa pre-approval letter of  which the processing time usually takes 2 or 3 day working days  or longer depending on your nationality. To make your holiday with hassle free, you can request a visa pre-approval for  one or three month stay visa  with single entry or one or three  month stay visa  with multiple entries. Note that the visa pre-approval status can not be changed once it was issued, therefore you need to make sure of your travel plan. Once getting this visa pre-approval  letter, you are permitted to obtain visa upon arrival at international airports of Vietnam.  Furthermore, you need to bring along the visa approval letter in together with your valid passport, 2 passport photos and US$ 25 cash or more  to pay the visa stamp fee, depending on  single entry or multiple entry visa and length of stay.

  

   b. Vietnam Visa Application

You need to make sure before travelling the type of visa you need for the purpose and duration of your trip. To get Vietnam visa in advance, you need to apply for visa at Vietnam embassy, consulate office or diplomatic  missions. However, the visa application fees vary according to the processing time, visa type, single entry or multiple entries and  nationality of applicant.

Recently, Vietnam has introduced an online portal containing Vietnam visa information and  type of visa you should apply for. There is also an application form which you can complete online: (http://visa.mofa.gov.vn )

Print and take to the nearest embassy or consulate of Vietnam. You can apply for regular tourist visa/ business/ working/ volunteering/ conference or press visa. The visa application requires the original passport valid at least 6 months or 180 days, one (1) completed application form and one (1) new passport-sized photograph. You may be requested to have a visa approval and invitation letter from your partner in Vietnam, depending on nationality, length of stay  and visa type for which you wish to apply.

 

3. Vietnam Visa Type

Generally, Vietnam has  many types of visas. Before travelling, you need to consult with Vietnam embassy, consulate and diplomatic missions, and determine what is the best visa type for your trip purpose.  The below list of visa types will explain the primary purpose of each visa type you may obtain in order to enter Vietnam.

The Vietnamese government introduced a number of major reforms to the immigration laws specifically targeted at visas for foreigners entering Vietnam. Therefore, foreigners entering Vietnam are no longer permitted to change the status of their entry visa (such as tourist visa or spouse visa) to any other visa type (such as a working visa) in-country. The new immigration law also states that foreigners should use only one passport for his or her entry, exit, transit and residence in Vietnam.

    

   a. Vietnam Tourist Visa

Usually issued to applicants who wish to enter Vietnam for tourism purposes, the tourist visa is valid for a single entry and 30 day stay, except the special case.  You can also request a tourist visa with three month stay or multiple entries if you plan to stay longer in Vietnam or  leave Vietnam and re-enter from another country. According to the visa regulation, the visa validity refers to the date mentioned at your visa.

 To get a tourist visa  you need to make  the application through Vietnam embassy, consulate offices and diplomatic mission. There are also options to obtain visa upon arrival at international airport check points, but it requires a proper  written visa pre-approval letter ( check visa on arrival ). Note that  the visa status cannot be changed from one to three month stay or single to multiple entries once it has been issued.

Currently, nationals of certain countries do not require a visa on tourism purposes if they meet visa exemption requirements of Vietnam ( check visa exemption list).  But if they want to stay longer than the permitted time or re-enter Vietnam within 30 days, they need to apply for the normal tourist visa.

 

   b. Re-entry visa

Holding a Vietnam visa  with a single entry visa, you can enter Vietnam one time only. If you want to travel to a bordering country, and later return to Vietnam, you must have a re-entry visa. You need to arrange it before you leave Vietnam, otherwise, you will have to go through the entire visa process again. It is best to do this through a travel agent, as you will most likely need help with the paperwork, and they can complete the procedure in a day or two.

 

   c. Vietnam Student Visa

You may request a student visa once you have received admission evidence from a school in Vietnam (pre-departure), but usually student visas are arranged after arrival in Vietnam. You may enter on a tourist visa, enroll in a program of study (language courses apply), then change the status of your visa with immigration. It is best to have a travel agency help with the application process.

  

   d. Vietnam Business Visa

The  business visas allow foreigners  to entry for the purpose of work.  They are  usually valid for three to six months. Generally, business visa is easy to get, but there may be a significant difference in price versus a tourist visa. Based on Vietnam immigration law, a business visa is not a work permit - it only allows entry for the purpose of work. In order to work in Vietnam, you must have a work permit.

 

   e. Vietnam Transit visa

Generally, it is no visa requirement for transit at the airport. If you want to get out the immigration area you need a visa; either tourist visa or transit visa. The maximum duration for a transit visa is five days.  The Department of Immigration will generally issue transit visas only for groups accompanied by a tour guide and guaranteed by a tour agency that is organizing the tour  and exact itinerary.

 

   f. Diplomatic and Official Visa

These visas are granted to foreigners who visit Vietnam on government or diplomatic business. The applicant for this visa type must submit an official letter (note verbal) from the concerned agencies of local government, foreign embassies or consulates accredited to the applicant's country, international organizations or other accredited organizations based in that country.

 

4. Vietnam Visa Exemption

Currently, Vietnam allows 23 countries, most of which are members of the ASEAN, to enter Vietnam without a visa for varying time periods.  You must get a visa before you travel to Vietnam if you want to stay for longer than the granted length of stay or do the second visit earlier than 30 days after the first visit. Moreover, you must have a multiple visit visa in advance if you plan to leave Vietnam and re-enter from another country. Entry via international border check point requires you to have Vietnam visa before travelling although you are exempted for visa.

 

  Regions

  Countries

  Duration of stay without visa

 Asia

Brunei

Within 14 days

Cambodia

Within 30 days

Indonesia

Within 30 days

Malaysia

Within 30 days

Laos

Within 30 days

The Philippines

Within 21 days

Singapore

Within 30 days

Thailand

Within 30 days

Japan

Within 15 days

South Korea

Within 15 days

 Europe

Denmark

Within 15 days

Finland

Within 15 days

Norway

Within 15 days

Russia

Within 15 days

Sweden

Within 15 days

 

5. Visa Extension

Generally, tourist visas may be extended only once for 30 days. In order to do  a visa extension from the Vietnamese immigration authorities (including for overstaying your visa), your passport must have at least six months’ validity remaining at the time of application. This can be quite a hassle to do the application on your own, so it is recommended that you spend the extra money and do the process through a tour agency. It should only take two or three days, and is easiest in the bigger cities, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Danang and Hue. Failure to hold a valid visa in your passport may delay your departure from Vietnam.

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