An idiots guide on how to get a Vietnamese Visa?

We decided to get our visa for Vietnam while we were in Thailand. I also decided to write this blog because I bumped into so many people that were clueless about the Vietnam Visa process. There is always the Vietnam Embassy in your country, however, the online process is quite simple.

What is the process?

The process for getting a Vietnamese visa is relatively simple. The main requirement is a visa on arrival letter which several companies offer a service for online. We went to the Vietnam Government website to get the letter. The cost for each of us for the letter was US$17.

In less than 48 hours the company sends an attachment with the Visa Approval Letter. we received the letter with our passport numbers on it. Do not be concerned if you see other people’s passport numbers as the company issues one letter for people arriving the same day. Your passport must have at least 6 months validity beyond your date of arrival. You need to get 2 passport photos of 04 cm x 06 cm or similar size. The company also sends you a link for one page that you need to also print off for the Vietnamese Entry/Exit forms

Lastly you need to print off a copy of the Visa Approval Letter it can be printed in black and white. Our visa was a single entry for one month or you can get 3 months. Just write down in the Visa Approval Letter process which one you want. Make sure you are clear on whether you want to get 3 months otherwise you automatically get one month.

What do I need to do on arrival at the airport?

The airline you fly with will check at check in that you have the visa on arrival letter. We left from Bangkok to Hanoi. On arrival at the new airport try to get off the plane as quickly as possible or when you book select a seat near the front of the plane. There can be long queues that take over an hour to get to the front at the visa on arrival counter. They also appear to have only two people at the counter, one to collect your letter and passport. The other once it is processed to collect the fee and return your passport. On exiting the plane it is clearly marked where to go for the Visa on Arrival. Do not dawdle. There are two queues at the same counter, one to hand in your passport and letter. The other queue is for people waiting for their name to appear on a screen. When your name pops up on the screen it means your visa is ready to collect. Make sure you have the fee in US dollars. Once your name appears on the screen you go up to the counter and pay the US$45. You then receive back your passport with the visa and your good to go. You then just go downstairs to collect your luggage and exit the airport.

We were lucky and the process took only 20 minutes but I have heard horror stories about people waiting a few hours. Good luck and I hope this blog helps.

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