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This is the Easiest Way to Get a Visa For a Visit to Vietnam

Where: Vietnam
July 1, 2014 at 12:45 PM | by | Comment (1)

Americans visiting Vietnam need a visa to enter the country, and there are two ways you can go about obtaining one. The most basic is to get one before you leave American soil by sending your passport and application off to the Vietnam Embassy in the States, but that process can take two weeks while at the same time putting your passport at risk of getting lost in the mail.

The other option is to get a visa on arrival, but it's not as simple as just showing up. While you technically receive it upon arrival, you need to have a letter of written approval in hand. We tested out this process on our recent journey, and found it to be the easiest process and much less stress than mailing off our passport.

To start, remember that your passport must have at least six months validity remaining beyond the date of your arrival. If not, you'll need to put off your trip until you get a new one. Assuming your passport expiration is in order, the next step is to apply for written approval to enter Vietnam. It sounds really fancy, but we did it online in a matter of minutes. There are several websites that will help you get this letter, and we chose Vietnam-Visa.com based on personal recommendations from friends and reviews we read online (and now, we can personally recommend it).

Here's what you do: Go to Vietnam-Visa.com and fill out the application form. It requires your basic information, dates of travel, and desired visa length. You pay a service fee at this point, which depends on the length of the visa you are applying for. For one month (the shortest length visa you can get), our cost was $21. The letter of approval will then arrive via e-mail within two business days. You print out that letter and bring it with you to Vietnam, along with two passport-size photos, your passport, and the remaining payment in cash (USD okay) for the stamping fee ($45 for single entry visa up to a month; $65 for 1 month multiple entry visa; and $95 for 3 multiple entry visa).

The longest part of the process for us was going to CVS and getting two passport photos taken, which is also required when applying at the Embassy. Stamping and service fees are also charged when going through the Embassy, as well as the price of postage (unless you live close enough to apply in person). You can see a further comparison between the two processes here.

For those that decide to deal with the official Embassy, there is one advantage in that once you arrive, you don't have to wait in the queue to get your visa and you can proceed directly to immigration. Despite that, we found online to be a much easier process, minus an extra 10-15 minutes at the airport, especially given the fact we didn't have to mail off our passport and the service fee for a two-day turnaround was only $21.

Got any additional tips to share? Leave them in the comments below.

[Screengrab: Jaunted]

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Thank you

That was a great summary of the Visa process. You made it quite simple to choose. I will be going to Vietnam in December, and from there to LAOS, and Cambodia. Do those countries have similar web pages devoted to the "on arrival" that you recommend?

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