Almost every citizen needs a Visa to enter Vietnam. Although technically it is obtained upon arrival only when arriving by air at one of the three international airports. If arriving by land or sea you must obtain one before arriving.

The process is hassle-free, an approval letter can be obtained through several travel agents online and takes 2-3 days.

UPDATED: 23 December 2017

Who Needs A Visa?

Visa is required for almost all citizens 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 are exempted for a maximum of 30 days visit.
  • Citizens of Philippines are exempted for a maximum of 21 days visit.
  • Citizens of Sweden, Japan, Denmark, South Korea, Norway, Finland and Russia are exempted for a maximum of 15 days visit.
  • Citizens of Brunei, Myanmar are exempted for a maximum of 14 days visit.
  • Citizens of France holding valid official or diplomatic passports are exempted for a maximum of  90 days visit.
  • Citizens of Chile holding valid official or diplomatic passports are exempted for a maximum of  90 days visit.
  • APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) Holders from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies are exempted for a maximum of 60 days visit.
  • For those travelling to Phu Quoc Island: If you are entering through an international border gate to travel to Phu Quoc Island for a stay less than 30 days, you will be exempted from getting a visa. However, the passport must be valid for at least 45 days. After arriving in Phu Quoc Island, if you intend to travel to other cities in Vietnam or if you want to stay in the island for more than 30 days, the immigration department will be responsible for issuing a visa on the spot.

How Does It Work:

To obtain an entry to Vietnam, you must obtain a visa approval letter which has to be produced at the check-in desk of the airline you are flying with and at the immigration counter once in Vietnam.

“Vietnam Visa approval letter” is a document issued by Vietnam Immigration Department. It is regarded as an official permit to allow you to board the flight to Vietnam and get a visa stamped upon arrival at the airport.

Prices vary from $21 to $34 (+ $25 stamping fee at the airport), depending on the type of visa, number of people applying, processing time and if you choose extra services.

How to get an Approval Letter:

Getting an approval letter is hassle free, just search for “Vietnam Visa” in google and you would be flooded with websites of agencies offering the service, most of them offer it for a standard price.

Once in their website check if your country is entitled to a visa on arrival if so fill an online application accurately with below mentioned details.

  • Full Name (exactly as in your passport)
  • Date of birth (DOB)
  • Nationality
  • Passport Number
  • Proposed arrival date
  • Proposed exit date
  • Purpose of visit

All you need to do is to fill out this simple form and then pay the fee via PayPal or Credit Card. A confirmation e-mail would be sent upon the receipt of your payment. Normally in 2-3 working days, an approval letter stamped by The Vietnam Immigration Department would be sent to you.

Vietnam Visa
Sample of an approval letter

Are All Agencies Legit:

There are over a hundred agencies offering this service and certainly, this was the biggest dilemma I had while applying for one. Yes, there are some shady-looking agency websites offering similar services. I have been to Vietnam twice and I chose , the process was convenient.

 Kindly use the above affiliate link to get your approval letter from, you won’t be paying anything extra. The profit would be shared between backpackways and Vietnam Visa which will help me to maintain this site.

Good To Know:

  • You cannot enter Vietnam before the mentioned arrival date in the approval letter. A later entry is allowed. In case you change your plan and want to enter Vietnam earlier then you would need to apply for a new visa approval letter.
  • An earlier exit is allowed but a later exit is not. In case you wish to stay longer than your visa expiry date, you will have to apply for an extension.
  • Vietnam visa on arrival is applicable to air travel only since stamping of Visas could be done only in the airport. If arriving by land or sea, you will have to contact an Embassy or Consulate to apply for a visa.
  • There will be no problem if you change your port of entry.The visa approval letter works at all three international airports of Vietnam (Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and Danang Airport in Danang City), you still get the visa stamped on your passport at any of these three airports regardless of which port of entry you have mentioned in your visa application.


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