The general required documentation needed to apply for a visa is as follows:
- Profile questions: Full name, birthdate and place of birth, nationality, job.
- General information on your visit: Entry and exit dates, country you plan to receive your entry visa from the Vietnamese embassies or consulates.
- Entry permit form. Note: There are two categories of this form - for foreigners and for Vietnamese overseas.
- Two photos (4cmx6cm or 3cmx4cm).
- Original passport. It is generally requested that your passport is valid for at least one, but up to six months, after the expiration of the visa.
- Visa fee.
There are a few options for you to obtain your Vietnam visa:
Visa at embassy
If you live in a city where there is Vietnamese embassy, this may be your best option. It is a very secure way of getting approved, because your paperwork is processed directly with the Vietnamese embassy. It should take only three to seven days to process everything, and once you receive your visa stamp, you have your guarantee of entry. See a list of Vietnamese embassies around the world to find one near you.
Visa on arrival
This option is convenient for those who do not live near a Vietnam embassy, but may be used only if you will arrive in Vietnam by air. Basically, everything is done online for a fee. You fill out the paperwork with an online agency, and most say they can get everything processed within two to three business days. They submit your information to Vietnamese immigration, and once you’re approved, you will receive your Visa Approval Letter by either fax or e-mail. Take the Visa Approval Letter with you on your flight, but the Vietnam Immigration Department will also receive a copy of your documents. Once you arrive in Vietnam, check in at a visa on arrival counter at one of the three international airports (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang), and you will be issued your visa. Remember to have cash to pay for your visa stamp, because there are no ATMs in the immigration hall and they do not accept plastic. Vietnamese dong or U.S. dollars are recommended (euro and Australian dollars are also accepted, but they may not be able to make change for these currencies).
Make sure to check that your citizenship is eligible for visa on arrival! Even if the online agency issues you a Visa Approval Letter, once you arrive and check-in in Vietnam, your letter will not be honored if your nationality is not eligible for a Vietnam visa!
It is very important that you research which online agency is best for you and your citizenship--there is a multitude to choose from. Here are some suggested links to start with:
Travel agency: Don’t forget this option! Travel agents will be able to take care of just about everything for you...but may be quite a bit more costly.