Visa on arrival is considered an alternative way to obtain a visa for Vietnam beside getting a visa at Vietnam Embassy. With visa on arrival, the you – the visa applicant must apply for a visa approval letter which is the official permission allowing you to get on flight and have visa stamped at the arrival airport in Vietnam. To get visa stamped, you need to present your Vietnam approval letter together with your passport (at least 6 months validity), two passport-sized photos, Vietnamese visa application form and stamping fee to Immigration Officers at the airport.
There is a basic difference between visa on arrival and visa at Vietnam embassies. With visa on arrival, the Vietnam Immigration Department will issue a visa approval letter with your name on it stating that you are allowed to enter Vietnam on a specified date. Then, you will have the visa stamped onto your passport at the arrival airport in Vietnam. But for visa applied at the Vietnam embassies, the visa stamp will be on your passport when they send it back to you.
“Vietnam Visa approval letter” is a document issued by Vietnam Immigration Department (Vietnam Ministry of Public Security). It is the official permission allowing the its owners to get on flight to Vietnam and support them to get Vietnam visa upon arrival (at Vietnam international airports).
To apply online for Vietnam visa approval letter, the visa applicants are required to provide the following information exactly as stated in their passports (as once issued, the approval letter could not be amended in any way).
“No, you cannot. You can enter Vietnam later than the arrival dated granted in your visa approval letter, but earlier arrival is not allowed. In case you change your plan and want to enter Vietnam earlier than the granted arrival date, you must apply for a new Vietnam visa.
“No, you cannot. You can leave Vietnam before or on the date of exit granted in your visa approval letter, but you cannot exit Vietnam later than your granted exit date. In case you wish to stay longer when your visa expires, you should apply for a visa extension.
“No, you cannot. Vietnam visa on arrival is applicable to air travel only since the visa applicants must get visa stamped at the arrival airport in Vietnam. If this is the case, we advise you to visit the Vietnam Embassy/Consulate to apply for a visa.
When using Vietnam visa on arrival, you are required to pay two kinds of fee:
Service fee: is the fee you pay to us for handling all procedures with the Vietnam Immigration Department to return the visa approval letter to your registered email. This fee varies based on the number of applicants included in your visa application and which kind of service you wish to use (normal or urgent processing). Please see our Visa cost page for detailed prices for each type of visa.
Stamping fee: is the fee you pay in cash to the Immigration Officers at the Vietnam airport to get visa stamped onto your passport. You can pay in USD, VND, etc. but USD is highly recommended to avoid any unbalanced exchange rate. The current applicable stamping fee is:
25 USD for a single entry visa;
50 USD for a multiple entry visa valid for up to 3 months;
A valid visa is required for almost foreigners to enter Vietnam, except for those whose nationalities are included in the Vietnam visa exemption list approved by Vietnam Government. The Vietnam visa exemption is granted to the followings:
Citizens of Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Laos for visits of 30 days at the maximum.
Citizens of Phillippines for visits of 21 days at the maximum.
Citizens of Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia and Finland for visits of 15 days at the maximum.
Citizens of Brunei, Myanmar for visits of 14 days at the maximum.
Citizens of France holding valid diplomatic or official passports for visits of 90 days at the maximum or several visits of 6 months at the maximum.
Citizens of Chile holding valid diplomatic or official passports for visits of 90 days at the maximum.
APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) Holders from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies for visits of 60 days at the maximum.
For those who travel to Phu Quoc Island – Vietnam : Foreigners and Vietnamese nationals bearing foreign passports who enter Vietnam through an international border gate and then travel to Phu Quoc Island and stay in Phu Quoc less than 15 days will also be granted Vietnam visa exemption. Passports must be valid for at least 45 days. After arriving in Phu Quoc Island, if visitors want to travel to other localities or stay in the island for more than 15 days, the immigration department will be responsible for issuing visas right on the spot.
With Vietnam visa on arrival, the visa applicants must prepare two photos to get visa stamped at the arrival airport in Vietnam (one is glued on the entry and exit form and the other will be presented if needed). Following is the list of regulations regarding photos for visa on arrival:
Photographs must be passport-sized, identical, taken within the past 6 months.
The image size from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head should be between 1 inch and 13/8 inches.
The photographs may be in color or black and white. They must be full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background.
Photographs should be taken in normal street attire, without a hat or headgear that obscures the hair or hairline.
Uniforms should not be worn in photographs with the exception of religious attire which is worn daily.
If prescription glasses, a hearing device, wig or similar articles are normally and consistently worn, they should be worn when the picture is taken.
Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless required for medical reasons. A medical certificate may be required to support the wearing of such glasses in the photographs.