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Vietnam Visa Regulations

Doing research for Vietnam visa confuses many travelers. Actually, the process is relatively straight forward - you can choose between a visa from the embassy and a pre-arranged Visa on Arrival. Here is an overview of visa regulations and requirements for Vietnam.
full page Vietnam visa sticker

How long can I stay in Vietnam?
The length of stay permitted is 30 days for nationals of most countries with a tourist visa. You can stay up to 90 days with a pre-arranged Visa on Arrival.

How much does a visa for Vietnam cost?
The fee for a tourist visa depends on where and how fast you want your visa issued and can vary between US$30 and US$70.  It is cheaper to get the visa done in Asia at one of the embassies or travel agencies (it takes at 2-5 working days for the visa to be issued).
If you opt for a Visa on Arrival you pay roughly US$15 – US$30 for the Approval Letter and US$25 for the stamp fee at the airport.

Do I need to take care of my visa before I travel to Vietnam?
Yes, only citizens of a few countries can visit without a visa (see information below). Everybody else needs to arrange a tourist visa from the embassy. If you fly into Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, you also have the option to get a Visa on Arrival with an Approval Letter (see information below).

Is there a departure tax when leaving Vietnam?
No. Departure tax is already included in the price of the airline ticket.

Visa-free entry


  • 30 days: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Laos
  • 21 days: Philippines
  • 15 days: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Japan, South Korea


Tourist Visa from Embassy


  • Passports must be valid for at least 6 months upon arrival or 1 month after expiration of the visa
  • bring 2 passport size photographs (4x6cm), money for the fee and fill out application form


Pre-arranged Visa on Arrival with Approval Letter


  • Passports must be valid for at least 6 months upon arrival or 1 month after expiration of the visa
  • only available if you fly into Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City
  • you need an Approval Letter first from one of the countless online providers (just search the web for “visa on arrival Vietnam”) before take off
  • upon arrival at Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City go to the VOA window and present the Approval Letter, 2 passport size photos, pay a stamp fee (payable in cash US Dollar) and your visa will be issued
  • stamp fees:
    single entry visa (1-3 months): US$25
    multiple entry visa (1-6 months): US$50
    multiple entry visa (1 year): US$100


Extensions and Overstays

Travel agents in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang can arrange visa extensions of 30 days. The fee is US$30 and the processing time takes about 5 to 7 working days. If you need an urgent visa extension, for an additional fee it will take 2 working days.

There is a grace period of 48 hours once your visa has expired. After the grace period, the immigration police will ask you to apply for a new visa, which takes time and costs money. It is not possible to leave Vietnam on an expired visa.

If you are still confused about the procedures, you might want to read this thread in the Thorn Tree forum: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1301934


Backpacking Asia wishes to advice that although the information on visa regulations on this website was created to the best of our knowledge, it is intended as a guide only. Due to the complexity of visa requirements and frequent changes in procedures, we strongly advise you to contact the nearest concerning embassy, consulate or immigration office for the latest up-to-date information.
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