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FlyerTalk Forums Thread Wiki: Visa / VOA Info for Vietnam
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Vietnam Visa Information
Main source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam - Visa Application and Information - includes fillable application (external website)
Transit Without Visa

Vietnam permits foreigners to transit without a visa (TWOV) provided they remain inside the airport transit areas while awaiting an onward flight out of the country within 24 hours of arrival. Travelers are not allowed to leave the airport without a visa.

Regular Visa in Advance of Travel

Foreigners may obtain a visa at the nearest Vietnamese embassy or consulate. Prices are not published and appear to vary from location to location. Most recent reports suggest a typical fee of approximately USD 100.

Vietnam Visa Online Application and instructions:
http://vietnamembassy-usa.org/consul...cation-process

From what I've learned, you attach the three (3) files listed below to an email along with your credit card number and the visa section will mail back a loose leaf visa.

As of December, 2015, the fees are $80 = 1 month visa, $20 = overnight USPS, $10 priority mail. Multiple entry visas are available.

Fill out the online application form.
http://vietnamembassy-usa.org/consul...cation-process
Follow "online form" link. Choose language top right.

Including uploading to the application a correctly sized photo, 2x2 inches (website will check and confirm) that will propagate into the application.

Print out the application form, sign, scan as .pdf file. Attach the .pdf to your email.

Attach a correctly sized photo (2x2 inches).

Attach a scanned a copy of your passport (photo, personal detail pages and signature page).

Include your credit card number. The visa section will charge your card for visa type and USPS Express return a loose leaf visa.

Ask politely for the tracking number and total charges.

Call Embassy Visa to double check the above details and current email address: 202. 861. 0737, x118/121/122/123/125

As of December, 2015, the email address to send the application is: visatovn@gmail.com.

Visa Exemption

Those traveling on passports issued by the following nations are generally exempt from visa requirements for varying durations of stay: Brunei, Cambodia, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, and Thailand. See the entry visa exemption list at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for duration of stay info.

eVisa

https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/en...trang-chu-ttdt

List of countries eligible for eVisa: https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/do...6-27198ae58b49

Remember to print out the e-visa form they give you, as they will request it on arrival and on departure!

Visa On Arrival (VOA) at Airport Border Entries

Travelers planning to obtain a VOA should arrive with the following documents:

  • VOA approval letter
  • Completed VISA APPLICATION which can be downloaded from most VOA service provider websites (travelers are advised to print the form on A4-size paper as there have been reports of US letter-size paper being refused)
  • One passport-type photo
  • Cash for visa stamp fee (see below)

VOA stamp fees for Non-USA passport holders (as of December 2015) are US$25 for a single entry of 1 or 3 months validity, or US$50 for multiple entry of 1 or 3 months validity.

For USA passport holders, there was a temporary increase from September to December of 2016, up to $135. However Effective December 15, 2016 the $135 stamping fee for US citizens has been dropped, and there are reports US passport holders can be issued VOA letters for single entry 30 day visas again AND that US citizens should only have to pay a $25 stamp fee at on collection of VOA. In late December, there were reports are that the desks in HAN and DAD did not receive the memo, so YMMV until the airport desks "get the memo."

This fee must be paid at the VOA counter on arrival , and is in addition to whatever fees you have paid the VOA service provider for the invitation letter. Payments are accepted in Vietnamese Dong, USD or Euros.

Visa on arrival (VOA) is permitted for one of the following purposes:

  • Attend the funeral of family member or visit a family member in critical condition;
  • Arrival from a country where there is no Vietnamese diplomatic mission/consular office;
  • Visit Vietnam on tours organized by Vietnamese international travel agencies;
  • Provide emergency technical assistance for construction works, projects; emergency treatment for critical patients or accident victims; emergency relief in cases of natural disasters or epidemics in Vietnam;
  • For other urgent reasons.

There are countless service providers on the internet that offer VOA approval letters for a fee. Legitimate providers are licensed travel agencies, thus meeting the highlighted criterion above. Those planning to obtain a VOA approval letter are advised to take steps to ensure they are working with a licensed Vietnam travel agency or tour operator. Some Vietnam hotels are also able to provide this service.

Some VOA service providers offer expedited processing for same day or 30 minutes turnaround on issuance of VOA letter and priority processing upon arrival at the airport in Vietnam for an additional fee.

Advantages of VOA include lower cost than embassy-issued visa, eliminates the need to visit an embassy or mail passport for advance visa, and faster receipt of VOA approval letter (sent via email).

Disadvantages of VOA include longer immigration processing upon arrival, with potentially long waits for receipt of visa (usually 10-20 min., but longer waits do occur); privacy concerns due to inclusion of personal data for multiple unrelated travelers on one approval letter; and risk of scams by unauthorized VOA service providers.

VOA Process at the Airport in SGN

1. The counter for VOA is on the left in the inbound immigration hall at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

2. Here is a picture of the VOA window (May 2016). The left lane is for group arrivals, the middle lane is for individuals and the right lane is the cashier where you pick up your Passport with visa and pay the fee.



3. You need to submit your Passport, VOA Letter, Photograph AND Visa Application at the window on the left of the counter. Queues are not very orderly in VN and often times, people are just milling around in front of the counter so avoid standing in what looks like a queue but actually isn't. The actual visa application is separate from the VOA letter. It will save you time if you print it in advance and fill it out on the airplane. [You can also pay for expedited service, but all it means is that the agent who handled your VOA letter will cut to the front of the line here. It normally won't save you any time on processing the actual visa (unless the agent's brother-in-law happens to work for Immigration and is on duty.) If there's a very long line, you can probably tip any of the agents (they're the young Vietnamese men in civies holding clipboards with names on them) to take your application to the front of the line.]

4. After you have submitted your application, wait within in earshot of the window. They'll call your name when your visa is ready. The woman calling the names doesn't have great English pronunciation so you will wonder if you are going to be able to recognize your own name when she calls it. Don't worry, it's a lot easier to recognize your own name than a poorly pronounced random name you have never heard of.

5. After they call your name, jostle your way up to the cashier window on the right. It's usually pretty chaotic. Pay the fee and they'll give you your passport with the Visa attached. Don't forget to bring money. The fee is separate from what the agent charges for arranging the VOA letter.

6. Take your passport and head through immigration. After immigration, take the escalator down and pick up your bags. Then go through customs. (It's just running your bags through an X-ray screener and no hassle unless you have five new iPads in your bag.)


You will need a printed copy of the actual VOA letter in order to check in for your flight.


VOA Service Providers Recommended By FTers

The following are a few of the VOA service providers that have been used and discussed in the thread by active FlyerTalk members. These providers publish sufficient information on their websites to suggest that they are authorized operators (e.g., provide physical business address, state actual travel company name, display tour operator license number, etc.). Members should verify these basic criteria before adding providers this list; simply having had successful transactions is not sufficient:


External Sources





FlyerTalkers with at least 90 days of membership and a minimum of 90 posts are invited to make corrections and update the information in this Wikipost.
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Old Dec 29, 14, 7:04 am   #526
  
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachfan View Post
This is the assumption I'm worried about. Any way to check what planes are schedule to arrive at the airport between 10pm and 10:40?
Check FlightStats to see scheduled arrivals around yours.

I think the waiting time is very YMMV. I arrived at SGN at 11:30 a.m. on 24 December. The line at the window was 15 people deep with another 30 waiting nearby. A single officer was on duty; my wife did a quick survey and found people who had been waiting for more than 90 minutes to be called up to pay. Needless to say, when we spotted a woman in line signal to her expeditor (she had called a company from the line), we hired him on the spot for the same $15/person she paid. We handed over the paperwork, watched him "help" the on-duty officer, and left everyone else behind 15 minutes later, visas in hand and smiles (of relief!) on faces.
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Old Dec 30, 14, 11:19 am   #527
  
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I'm looking at a VOA for a trip in January, but am a bit confused. From the wiki on this thread:

Visa on arrival (VOA) is permitted for one of the following purposes:

Attend the funeral of family member or visit a family member in critical condition;
Arrival from a country where there is no Vietnamese diplomatic mission/consular office;
Visit Vietnam on tours organized by Vietnamese international travel agencies;
Provide emergency technical assistance for construction works, projects; emergency treatment for critical patients or accident victims; emergency relief in cases of natural disasters or epidemics in Vietnam;
For other urgent reasons.

I do not fall into any of these categories. Does that mean VOA will not work for me?
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Old Dec 30, 14, 12:51 pm   #528
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardinmotion View Post

Visa on arrival (VOA) is permitted for one of the following purposes:

Visit Vietnam on tours organized by Vietnamese international travel agencies;
Technically:
If you apply for the VOA approval letter, you do it through a travel agency approved to give those letters. Thus you are on a trip organized by a VN travel agency, no matter where you're going or what you're doing.

Realistically:
Apply for the letter; you will be let in if you bring it and the $$$.
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Old Jan 1, 15, 1:10 am   #529
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardinmotion View Post
I'm looking at a VOA for a trip in January, but am a bit confused. From the wiki on this thread:

Visa on arrival (VOA) is permitted for one of the following purposes:

Attend the funeral of family member or visit a family member in critical condition;
Arrival from a country where there is no Vietnamese diplomatic mission/consular office;
Visit Vietnam on tours organized by Vietnamese international travel agencies;
Provide emergency technical assistance for construction works, projects; emergency treatment for critical patients or accident victims; emergency relief in cases of natural disasters or epidemics in Vietnam;
For other urgent reasons.

I do not fall into any of these categories. Does that mean VOA will not work for me?
Probably best to accept that Vietnem doesn't always run on rigidly applied written rules. There's just occasionally room for interpretation ......

The agency is certainly supplying a service to assist in organising your trip: and who's to say your journey isn't urgent? OK, the funeral angle might be more troublesome.

The system is as described in this thread. It's a work-round, but it works well. I've received my confirmation letter within 24H: clearly a response to an urgent application
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Old Jan 1, 15, 4:50 am   #530
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachfan View Post
A great thread, thanks to all the content contributors!!

My question: I'm doing VOA, arriving at 10:40 PM at HCMC, via Asiana business class. I'll be coming from Korea, not as jet lagged, so I'm thinking I could navigate the Visa on Arrival stuff without challenge, but I don't want to wait.

If I'm putting a premium on my time, is it worth using Fast Track Arrival service offered by my VOA service provider (Vietnam Visa Corp)? It's only $15 per person, if it saves me 20 minutes, I'd do it.

Thanks in advance!
I believe there will be at least two widebodies from Tokyo landing at the around same time. When I got there a couple weeks ago, there was a 30-person deep line.

I would totally pay the $15 extra, because not only do they bring the paperwork up to the window for you, your app will be processed immediately, even before those that were already submitted (I bet you can imagine how that works behind the scenes and under the table).

$15 is a small amount to pay for the 99% assurance that you won't waste time waiting in line vs. rolling the dice on whether you've beaten the night's bank of arrivals.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 11:33 am   #531
  
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Vietnam Visa in Hong Kong

I'm a Canadian citizen and I'm leaving for Asia in two weeks. I was planning to get my Vietnamese Visa via the Embassy in Ottawa but I have to wait until Monday to call the offices and get the price and then sent it to Ottawa and back. It seems somewhat tedious (but understandable) to me. Then I discovered you can get a visa in Hong Kong (my first destination).

Should I just wait and do it in Hong Kong? I've already completed the online application for the Embassy in Ottawa....will that be a problem if I just wait until Hong Kong? If I can apply in person in Hong Kong I think it would be a bit easier.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 4, 15, 3:41 pm   #532
  
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Originally Posted by IAN-UK View Post
Probably best to accept that Vietnem doesn't always run on rigidly applied written rules. There's just occasionally room for interpretation ......

The agency is certainly supplying a service to assist in organising your trip: and who's to say your journey isn't urgent? OK, the funeral angle might be more troublesome.

The system is as described in this thread. It's a work-round, but it works well. I've received my confirmation letter within 24H: clearly a response to an urgent application
Thanks for the info!

I received my invitation within 24 hours using an online service, but there are several people listed on the invitation, myself included. A bit strange? Is it legit?
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Old Jan 4, 15, 4:05 pm   #533
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Originally Posted by richardinmotion View Post
Thanks for the info!

I received my invitation within 24 hours using an online service, but there are several people listed on the invitation, myself included. A bit strange? Is it legit?
Yes, it's strange but that's them doing batch processing. They don't have the same views on privacy as others do. I believe some places will do a separate, private app for you on request (and of course with another fee).
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Old Jan 6, 15, 11:58 am   #534
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radnub View Post
I'm a Canadian citizen and I'm leaving for Asia in two weeks. I was planning to get my Vietnamese Visa via the Embassy in Ottawa but I have to wait until Monday to call the offices and get the price and then sent it to Ottawa and back. It seems somewhat tedious (but understandable) to me. Then I discovered you can get a visa in Hong Kong (my first destination).

Should I just wait and do it in Hong Kong? I've already completed the online application for the Embassy in Ottawa....will that be a problem if I just wait until Hong Kong? If I can apply in person in Hong Kong I think it would be a bit easier.

Thanks!
My wife did the passport to Ottawa thing a few years back for her first trip to Vietnam (before the consulate office opened in Vancouver). She thought it was a bit of a hassle; mainly around having to courier her passport to Ottawa. But there weren't any issues though. This trip we just did the VoA option.
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Old Jan 7, 15, 11:13 am   #535
  
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Originally Posted by Jay71 View Post
My wife did the passport to Ottawa thing a few years back for her first trip to Vietnam (before the consulate office opened in Vancouver). She thought it was a bit of a hassle; mainly around having to courier her passport to Ottawa. But there weren't any issues though. This trip we just did the VoA option.
Thank you for your input! It's good to know there's an option in Vancouver too but as of right now the VoA is the backup plan.
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Old Jan 8, 15, 3:32 pm   #536
  
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Another VOA letter provider

For a recent trip, I used Instant Vietnam Visa without any problems. Their fees are reasonable but not the cheapest out there. However, they issue private letters by default, so that's something to consider.
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Old Jan 15, 15, 8:15 pm   #537
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Used VOA the 2nd yr in a row. was 1st row Y from HKG and 2nd person to the counter. Most in 1st either had their Visas already or didn't need 1.

Seems those who had paid for expedite got their PP before I did all of maybe 3 mins. My UA flight was 30 min late and we were the only flight till I got my PP back and then saw a stream of folks entering the PP area.

Id say as long as there aren't a few flights coming in when yours is VOA is the way to go.
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Old Feb 16, 15, 10:45 pm   #538
  
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I will be heading to VN with a party of 5. Problem is: 4 of us are arriving in SGN and the other is arriving in HAN. Will this be a problem applying for visas?

EDIT: All but two of us are also arriving on different flights.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 12:55 am   #539
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Originally Posted by boiler55 View Post
I will be heading to VN with a party of 5. Problem is: 4 of us are arriving in SGN and the other is arriving in HAN. Will this be a problem applying for visas?

EDIT: All but two of us are also arriving on different flights.
Nope. Are you planning on using VOA? Just make sure to indicate CLEARLY to the agency you're working regarding who is arriving in HAN and who is arriving in SGN, so that the visas are processed correctly (though I suspect it's all computerized anyway).

If you're applying for a visa the regular way, then it doesn't even matter.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 5:04 am   #540
  
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Update of Vietnam Visa in Hong Kong

Just wanted to report back for future travellers. My boyfriend and I applied for our Vietnam visas in Hong Kong and it went smoothly. The office is located in Wan Chai on the 15th floor of the Great Smart Tower, 230 Wan Chai Road. There was some scaffolding around the entrance but we found it easily.

When we got to the office there was no line and grabbed two forms (located in the corner of the counter). Just uh...don't fill them out at the counter like we started to do...there's a little waiting room outside. Bring cash! We had to go find an ATM and when we got back there was a long line but the lady at the counter did hold our information/passports for us and the transaction was quick. We selected the 2 day proccessing and it cost 580HK/each for a single entry 30 day visa. There were options for a one day turn around and maybe even an express same-day but I do not recall the prices for those.

Two days later we returned in the morning and after a few minutes wait (a small line but seemed to be more pickups) we had our passports with nicely places visas attached!

** It says so on the form but think carefully when you want to enter the country. We had just gotten our Chinese visas and it gave us flexibility on when we could enter the country (anytime before our stay in Hong Kong was up) but the Vietnamese visas use the dates you provide on the form. I'm not sure if this is an anomaly or something. Luckily the boyfriend noticed this and we gave ourselves the the whole month.
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