Do you need a tourist visa to go to Vietnam? Is a Vietnam tourist visa on arrival available?
Every week, these Vietnam visa requirement questions appear in the Ho Chi Minh City Expat Facebook Groups.
Depending on your nationality, you may or may not need a visa. Unfortunately, a tourist visa on arrival is not possible in Vietnam. But don’t worry!
As a foreign tourist, it’s easy to apply for a Vietnam electronic visa (e-visa) before your arrival. It requires some preparation in advance, yet very doable to do on your own. It only costs $25 USD! Plus, you don’t need to work with a visa office or an agency and pay a high scam fee.
In this guide, we’ll go through the steps on how to complete your e-visa on the official government e-visa website easily by yourself.
If you’re in the planning phase for your Vietnam travels, check out our posts below:
- What to Know Before Traveling to Vietnam For Your First Time
- Vietnam Budget Tips
- 20+ Places to Visit in Vietnam
- How to Spend 7 Days in Vietnam
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, we receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to you. Appreciate the support.
Current Vietnam Visas Available
There are 25 countries where you can arrive in Vietnam and stay for 15 to 30 days visa-free. Check out this list to see if your country is applicable.
But Vietnam’s e-visa is only available for 80 countries. Check out the list here. For our U.S. readers, you are eligible to apply for an e-visa.
The e-visa is only for a single entry and is valid for 30 days.
If you plan to leave Vietnam before the 1-month visa expires and reenter the country, you will need to apply for another e-visa before you return to Vietnam. For example, if your Vietnam visa expires on January 30, and you leave Vietnam on January 15, and then return to Vietnam on January 20.
Vietnam used to have multi-entry 1-month and 3-month tourist visas. Unfortunately, these options have been suspended until further notice.
Business visas are available but require an invitation from a company. Since we do not have any experience with completing a business visa, we will not be discussing this aspect in the post.
How to Complete the Vietnam Tourist e-Visa Application
Here are some things to know
- Beware of the unofficial e-visa application sites. To be honest, fake e-visa websites are beautifully done compared to the official government website. But they will rip you off with the fee.
- Complete this application on the computer as it’ll be easier to see the fields.
- Submit the e-visa application at least 1-2 weeks before arrival. It takes at least 3 business days (sometimes longer) for approval. It’s better to apply early just in case something goes wrong and you need to resubmit.
- Note: If there is a Vietnam holiday, e-visas and other types of visas will not be processed during that time. So plan ahead!
Here are the instructions for the e-visa application
1. Click here for the official Vietnam government website for the e-visa application. The website is in English.
2. Click on “For Foreigners.”
3. Read the page and click the box that you’ve read the instructions, and then click “Next.”
4. Complete the application.
- You’ll need to upload a passport photo (without glasses) and a copy of your passport data page.
- If you have a passport photo at home, take a photo of it with your phone and crop it with your phone editing application. Or, you can use a Snipping tool or photo editing software on the computer to reduce the size. Then, you can upload the .jpg to the application.
- You can also take a photo of the passport data page with your phone, download a copy to the computer, and upload the .jpg.
- You’ll need your passport information, a temporary residential address (the name and address of the first hotel that you’ll stay in Vietnam), date of arrival, and entry/exit points (if you’ll enter either by land (airport) or by port. Click here to see a full list of ports and entry.)
5. Check the box where everything is relevant and add the captcha. Click “Review application form.”
6. Once you’ve reviewed the application, you’ll pay for your e-visa application. The e-visa cost is $25 USD and it’s nonrefundable.
- You can use a credit card to pay online, such as Visa and American Express.
- There may be a credit card transaction fee for international payments.
- Or, if you have a travel credit card that doesn’t charge international transaction fees, then you don’t need to worry about the extra charges.
- For U.S. travelers, if you’re looking for a new travel credit card, consider getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It’s what we’ve been using for years and is our go to credit card.
- If the payment doesn’t go through, you may need to call your bank.
Note: If you time out during the application process, you will need to redo the application. It may take you 2-3 times to redo the application until submitting payment.
7. Check your visa status after 3 business days. Sometimes you’ll receive an email that it’s approved. Click here to check. You’ll need your registration code, email address, and date of birth to check the status.
8. Print out a copy of your e-visa if approved. Once you land in Vietnam at one of the airports, you can go straight to Immigration.
9. Hold onto your e-visa for the entire trip as you’ll need it to leave Vietnam.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I enter Vietnam through a different city or land port than what is initially on the e-visa?
Unfortunately, you’ll need to apply for another e-visa before you arrive in Vietnam. You may not be allowed to enter the plane.
Can I update the date of arrival or departure for the e-visa?
No, you cannot change the information on the visa once it’s been submitted and paid.
According to visitors in the Expat groups, if the date on the e-visa is earlier than your arrival (ie: visa says arrival on January 15, but you arrive on January 16), then your e-visa is still valid.
However, the e-visa will not be valid if you arrive earlier than what is stated on the visa (ie: visa says arrival on January 16, but you arrive on January 15).
We haven’t experienced the two scenarios above, but when in doubt, apply for another e-visa and pay an additional $25.
Do not attempt to overstay your visa for 1-2 days as you will need to pay a large fee at the airport. If you stay even longer, such as for months, then you need to go to the Immigration department, receive an exit visa, and pay a hefty fee. It’s not worth the hassle!
How many times can I apply for an e-visa?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic number on the number of e-visas that you can apply for.
There are many tourists doing monthly visas run either through the Vietnam-Cambodia land border or flying to another Southeast Asia country such as Thailand or Singapore and then reentering the country.
I forgot about the visa and I have a flight in a few days. Can I still apply for an e-visa?
Due to the short window, we suggest that you do not apply for the e-visa.
If it’s not possible to change your flight, then we suggest that you work with a visa agent so he/she can expedite your tourist visa in 24 hours or less. The visa cost will be higher – over $100 per person.
Our cousin had to go through this process and was able to get an expedited visa in a few hours. If you’re interested in the agent that he used, please contact us here.
When will the multiple entry visas or 3-month visas start again?
Hopefully soon! There are high demands for these visas, so we’ll keep you in the loop on when they will resume. The government will discuss this in May 2023. Read more here.
We hope you feel more confident about applying for an online entry visa to Vietnam on the official government visa website. It’s easy to do and you don’t need to worry about getting overcharged with unofficial visa scam sites.
If you have any questions about the visa process or about Vietnam, feel free to ask a question below.
If you need more inspiration on Vietnam travels, read our blog posts:
- South Vietnam Itinerary
- Central Vietnam Itinerary
- Off the Beaten Path Places in Vietnam
- Best Vietnam Islands to Visit
Featured photo credit: Y-Boychenko via Depositphotos.com