This is quite possibly the most asked question I see online: How do I get a visa for Vietnam? It’s confusing.
There are agents masquerading as official government sites, people confusing e-visa with visa on arrival and a wealth of incorrect information. On forums and blogs you might only see half the story. Because, some people use affiliate links for their own gain, rather than presenting all the options.
So, we decided to do things differently. We wrote an article which, at the time of writing (March 2019), we believe to be 100% true. It does not contain any affiliate links. Why? Because we believe you should be selecting the right Vietnam visa for your circumstances, not the visa that pays us a commission.
This article doesn’t cover Vietnam Visas for every nationality. However, if you are from the UK, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand or any country in the EU, this article should help you.
So keep reading, for an overview of your main choices for a Vietnam tourist visa.
|Visa type||Valid for||Valid at||Total Cost||Timescale|
|1) Visa waiver||15 days||Land borders|
|2) E-Visa||30 days||Some land borders|
See the list here
|$25||Allow 3 – 7 days|
|3) Visa on arrival||30 or 90 days||International airports only||Prices vary by agent, these are totals for the agents linked below and include stamping fees|
30 day, single – $45
90 day, single – $60
30 day, multiple – $75
90 day, multiple – $120
|4) Paper visa||30 or 90 days||All borders||Single entry |
The free 15 day visa waiver is the one option in this article not available to everyone. However, if you’re from Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden or the UK this applies to you. But, for everyone else – skip to the next option.
There’s no need to apply in advance – just turn up! But, it’s likely you’ll need proof of onward travel within the 15 days.
The e-visa is a quick and cost effective option for anyone travelling to Vietnam for up to 30 days.
Complete the application on the Government website.
You’ll need to attach a small digital passport photograph.
(Note: the link provided above is the only site to apply for the e-visa. All others are visa agents offering the visa on arrival below. It looks like it was put together in the ’90s but it is the only official government website to get the e-visa.)
The visa on arrival is convenient for stays longer than 30 days, but only if you are entering Vietnam by air. Despite the name, you must apply for an invitation before arriving in the country.
Apply for letter of invitation through an agent prior to arrival
There are two agents recommended by Lonely Planet (there are others, let us know in the comments if you have a specific recommendation):
Vietnam Visa Choice
Vietnam Visa Center
When you arrive at the airport you’ll pay a stamping fee of $25 (single entry) or $50 (multiple entry)
A traditional paper visa is the best option for stays longer than 30 days if you are entering by land.
You can apply in person at an embassy, either in your home country, or Bangkok, Vientiane or Phnom Penh are all good choices. Or, you can use a visa agent to do it on your behalf.
It’s possible to get your visa extended once in the country. However, the process can be quite long and expensive. We’d always recommend applying for a visa for as long as think you will need.
Plan ahead for public holidays when applying for your visa. Most importantly Tết (Vietnamese New Year) which falls in January or February will mean offices are closed. Therefore, visa services are often delayed by a week or more during and after Tết.
Has this article been helpful? If it’s helped you decide which visa is suitable for your trip do leave us a comment. Please share with anyone else who may be visiting Vietnam in the future. And if you’ve spotted any inaccuracies let us know so we can correct it.