Vietnam Visa: What Are the Requirements and How to Get It?

September 16, 2020

by Rina Bernardo

Vietnam visa page on passport

Vietnam is a popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia known for its natural landscape and cuisine. Just last year, the country welcomed over 18 million international arrivals. These include tourists, students, or businessmen looking for an opportunity in the country. So if you are planning to visit Saigon or any of the must-visit cities in Vietnam, you are also wondering: do I need a Vietnam visa?

Depending on your country of origin, you may or may not be required to obtain a Vietnam visa. The visa you’ll be applying for also depends on your purpose of travel. Are you visiting on a business trip? Are you a student enrolled in a Vietnamese university? Or do you just want to tick Hanoi off your travel bucket list? Regardless, you need to present a Vietnam visa.

Continue reading to find out the types of Vietnam visas, what requirements you need, and how to apply for a visa.

 

Vietnam Visa Types & Requirements

 

Vietnam visa stamp on passport

Photo by Andriy Bezuglov on Adobe Stock

There are six common types of visas for Vietnam: tourist, student, business, working, investor, and diplomatic visas.

Tourist Visa

The Vietnam Tourist Visa is perhaps the most common type of Vietnam visa issued. The visa is strictly for tourism purposes only. As a result, the Tourist Visa and is not for travelers who want to seek employment during their stay. It is valid for up to 3 months whether single or multiple entries. If you are planning to see the stunning Halong Bay, you will need a tourist visa.

Tourist Visa Requirements

  • Passport with a validity of at least six months
    • 4×6 passport-sized photo 
    • White background
    • Neutral expression only
    • You should remove your eyeglasses
    • You may keep your headgear for religious purposes in the photo
  • Accomplished Vietnam Visa Application form

Although not a strict requirement, it is recommended to provide supporting documents. These documents may be hotel or hotel reservations or a confirmed return flight. It can also be a Letter of Invitation or Sponsorship from someone who lives in Vietnam.

Student Visa

A Vietnam Student Visa is issued to foreigners entering Vietnam to study in a Vietnamese school or institute. The visa is also valid for foreigners who will do an internship in Vietnam. Students usually enter the country on a tourist visa. Then, they enroll in any course in a Vietnamese university and have the visa status changed after. This is also best done with the help of a travel agency.

 

Student Visa Requirements

  • Passport with a validity of at least six months
  • Accomplished Vietnam Visa Application form
  • Letter of Acceptance from your Vietnamese institution
  • Pre-approval confirmation from the Immigration Department of Vietnam

 

Business Visa

The Business visa is a short-term visa issued to people who are visiting the country for business-related reasons. These can include a conference, meeting, or other events. A Business Visa can last up to 12 months whether single or multiple entries. Additionally, you can work in Vietnam with a Business visa as long as the duration does not exceed 3 months. If you are working for more than 3 months, you may opt to apply for a Work visa.

 

Business Visa Requirements

  • Passport with a validity of at least six months
  • 4×6 passport-sized photo 
    • White background
    • You should have a neutral expression
    • You should remove your eyeglasses
    • Headgear for religious purposes is allowed in the photo
  • Accomplished Vietnam Visa Application form
  • Letter of Sponsorship/Entry Clearance from a licensed company in Vietnam
    • Required if you are applying for a Business visa at a local embassy in your country

 

Work Visa

A Vietnam work visa is issued to foreigners who wish to work or conduct business with a company in Vietnam. However, before you obtain a working visa, you need to get a Work Permit.

The Work Permit allows you to work legally in Vietnam for three months and more. Your employer has to submit your Work Permit application at the Vietnam Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. In addition, your employer has to submit your application at least 13 working days before you start working for them.

Working Permit Requirements

  • Health Certificate to confirm that you are fit to work
  • Criminal Background Certificate/Police Clearance 
    • Issued within the last six months by local authorities
  • Proof of professional background and copies of your qualifications
  • 4×6 passport-sized photo 
    • White background
    • Neutral expression only
    • You should remove your eyeglasses
    • You may keep your headgear for religious purposes in the photo

In addition to the documents listed above, your employer has to submit the following documents:

  • Vietnam Work Permit application form
  • Valid work contract
  • Authorization document that allows them to employ foreign workers
  • Employer Business Registration Certificate

 

Working Visa Requirements

  • Passport with a validity of at least six months
  • 4×6 passport-sized photo 
    • White background
    • Smiling is not allowed; neutral expression only
    • Eyeglasses are not allowed
    • You may keep your headgear for religious purposes in the photo
  • Accomplished Vietnam Visa Application form
    • Required if you are applying for a Working visa at a local embassy in your country
  • Letter of Sponsorship/Entry Clearance from a licensed company in Vietnam
    • This is required if you are applying for a Working visa at a local embassy in your country

 

Investor Visa

An Investor Visa allows foreigners to enter the country to invest in a business in Vietnam. Vietnam Investor Visa holders can also apply for a Temporary Residence card valid for 10 years. They can also extend their visa.

Furthermore, you can apply for an Investor Visa in Vietnam, in your home country, and upon arrival.

 

Investor Visa Requirements for Applications Done in Vietnam

  • Passport with a validity of at least six months
  • Accomplished Temporary Residence registration form as prescribed
  • Copy of Business Registration Certificate/Investor Registration Certificate
  • Accomplished Visa application, extension, an extension of stay for foreigners in Vietnam
  • Accomplished Form for the seal and signature of the legal representative of the enterprise operating in Vietnam
  • Certificate of seal specimen registration/Publication notice of the seal specimen information

 

Investor Visa Requirements for Applications Done in a Foreign Country

  • Passport with a validity of at least six months
  • Accomplished Temporary Residence registration form as prescribed
  • Copy of Business Registration Certificate/Investor Registration Certificate
  • Proof of legal status as a foreign investor as prescribed by Vietnamese law
  • Accomplished Visa application, extension, an extension of stay for foreigners in Vietnam
  • Accomplished Form for the seal and signature of the legal representative of the enterprise operating in Vietnam
  • Certificate of seal specimen registration/Publication notice of the seal specimen information

For Investor Visa applications upon arrival, make sure to have the following requirements. Your requirements must also include a Letter of Approval from the Immigration Office.

Diplomatic Visa

Vietnam Diplomatic Visas allows foreigners to visit the country on official government business. This is also issued to their accompanying family members. Unless it has been decided by your home country and the Vietnamese embassy, a diplomatic visa has no fee. In addition to that, a Diplomatic Visa is valid for up to 12 months.

 

Diplomatic Visa Requirements

  • An official letter from the local government, consulate, or foreign embassy to the concerned agencies in your home country
  • Passport with a validity of at least six months
  • Expected entry and exit information
  • 4×6 passport-sized photo in .JPG format 
    • White background
    • You should have a neutral expression
    • Eyeglasses are not allowed
    • You may keep your headgear for religious purposes in the photo
  • Letter of Sponsorship/Entry Clearance 
  • Accomplished Visa Application form

 

 

Who Needs a Visa to Visit Vietnam

 

View of Ha Long Bay with cruise boats at daytime

Photo by cat7397 on Pixabay

Most countries need to obtain a Vietnam visa. However, citizens of ASEAN-member countries are not required to apply for a Vietnam visa. For instance, these countries include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. 

On the other hand, citizens of the countries below don’t require a visa for a specific number of days:

  • Belarus (visa-free for 15 days)
  • Brunei (visa-free for up 14 days)
  • Cambodia (visa-free for 30 days)
  • Chile (visa-free for 90 days)
  • Denmark (visa-free for 15 days)
  • Finland (visa-free for 15 days)
  • France (visa-free for 15 days)
  • Germany (visa-free for 15 days)
  • Indonesia (visa-free for 30 days)
  • Italy (visa-free for 15 days)
  • Japan (visa-free for 15 days)
  • Kyrgyzstan (visa-free for 30 days)
  • Laos (visa-free for 30 days)
  • Malaysia (visa-free for 30 days)
  • Myanmar (visa-free for 14 days)
  • Norway (visa-free for 15 days)
  • Philippines (visa-free for 21 days)
  • Russia (visa-free for 15 days)
  • Singapore (visa-free for 30 days)
  • South Korea (visa-free for 15 days)
  • Spain (visa-free for 15 days)
  • Sweden (visa-free for 15 days)
  • Thailand (visa-free for 30 days)
  • United Kingdom (visa-free for 15 days)

Vietnam Visa for US Citizens

All US Citizens entering the country need a Vietnam visa. Tourist visa holders must leave Vietnam after every 90 days of stay. Meanwhile, Business visa holders must leave the country after every 6 months of stay.

US Citizens can also apply for a Vietnam Visa at a local embassy, online (eVisa), or on arrival.

 

How to Apply for a Visa

 

Passport with Vietnam immigration stamp and Vietnam visa

Photo by NLPhotos on Adobe Stock

You can apply for a visa to travel in Vietnam in person, online, or upon arrival. If you plan to apply for a visa in person, you may do so at a local consulate or embassy.

Vietnam Visa

To apply for a visa via your local embassy/consulate, you need to prepare the following requirements:

  • Passport with a validity of at least six months
  • 4×6 passport-sized photo in .JPG format 
    • White background
    • You should have a neutral expression
    • Eyeglasses should be removed
    • You may keep your headgear for religious purposes in the photo
  • Accomplished Visa Application form
    • You can download the application form depending on your home country’s Embassy/Consulate
  • Payment for the visa
  • Support documents
    • Although not a strict requirement, additional documents may include a Letter of Invitation/Sponsorship or confirmation of return tickets, depending on your travel purpose.

Furthermore, if you will apply for a visa at an embassy/consulate, contact them to set an appointment. Also, confirm if there are other specific requirements needed. Some embassies require a Letter of Approval from the Vietnam Immigration Department. If your visa application is approved, the Vietnam visa also will be stamped on your passport.

Vietnam eVisa

In 2017, the Vietnam Immigration Department introduced the Vietnam eVisa. This is for a streamlined process of obtaining a visa. Additionally, this kind of visa is available for application and issuing online. The eVisa is also valid for 30 days with single entry only. Citizens from over 80 different countries can apply for a Vietnam eVisa.

To get a Vietnam eVisa, prepare the following items:

  • Passport with a validity of at least six months
  • 4×6 passport-sized photo in .JPG format 
    • White background
    • Neutral expression only
    • You should remove your eyeglasses
    • You may keep your headgear for religious purposes in the photo
  • Valid credit or debit card for payment
  • Entry and exit dates, and entry and exit ports/airports 
    • The port of entry on your eVisa is unchangeable after submitting your application. Likewise, it is also unchangeable after receiving your eVisa. If you need to have this changed, apply for a new eVisa.
  • Valid email address

An eVisa for Vietnam costs 25 USD. When applying for a Vietnam eVisa, make sure that you apply on the official Immigration Department website. Fill up all the required information from your passport data page and all information regarding your trip. Processing time takes 3 business days or more depending on other factors.

Vietnam Visa on Arrival

Obtain a Vietnam visa on arrival at the following airports:

  • Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi
  • Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Danang Airport in Da Nang
  • Cat Bi Airport in Hai Phong
  • Cam Ranh Airport in Nha Trang

Take note that visas issued on arrival are valid for air travel only. If you are traveling by land or water via a cruise, apply for a regular Vietnam Visa.

To obtain a Vietnam visa on arrival, present the following at the visa-issuing counter:

  • Letter of Approval 
    • A Letter of Approval can be obtained online through the help of private agencies authorized by the Vietnam Immigration Department
    • Processing time takes about 2 to 4 business days
    • You will receive your Letter of Approval via email
    • A copy of the Approval Letter is forwarded to the Immigration Officers of the port you will be entering through
  • Passport with a validity of at least six months
  • 4×6 passport-sized photo 
    • White background
    • You should have a neutral expression
    • Eyeglasses are not allowed
    • Headgear for religious purposes is allowed in the photo
  • Accomplished Entry and Exit Form (usually given on the airplane)
  • Cash for the visa stamping fee

Your Vietnam visa on arrival takes about 15 to 30 minutes to process. Although additional documents are not a strict requirement, it is good to present them as supporting information. These additional documents include proof of a hotel reservation or a booked return flight. An invitation for a conference/event or a Letter of Sponsorship also counts as supporting documents. 

 

How Much Is a Vietnam Visa

 

Passport with Vietnam visa and plane ticket

Photo by AlexOakenman on Adobe Stock

The visa fee depends on how you will obtain your visa, and depending on its duration:

  • Vietnam eVisa: 25 USD

Vietnam visa applied at an Embassy/Consulate: depends on the Embassy/Consulate. Make sure to confirm before setting an appointment or visiting them.

  • Vietnam Visa on Arrival: 
    • 30 days single entry: 25 USD + service fee for the Approval Letter
    • 30 days multiple entry: 50 USD + service fee for the Approval Letter
    • 90 days single entry: 25 USD + service fee for the Approval Letter
    • 90 days multiple entry: 50 USD + service fee for the Approval Letter
    • 6 months multiple entry: 95 USD + service fee for the Approval Letter
    • 12 months multiple entry: 135 USD + service fee for the Approval Letter

Vietnam Visa FAQ

How Long Does It Take to Acquire the Visa?

An eVisa takes up to 3 business days for processing. As for Vietnam visas issued on arrival, it takes 15 to 30 minutes for processing. Take note that the Letter of Approval takes 2 to 4 business days for processing. On the other hand, receiving your visa depends on the local embassy or consulate for those who applied there.

Most importantly, make sure to provide all the needed documents to avoid delays and possible rejections.

Where to Check Visa Status?

Checking the visa status is only possible for eVisa applications. Enter your registration code, date of birth, email address to check your visa status at the Vietnam Immigration Department’s website.

Other websites also include a “Status” section where you can check your visa status in real-time. You may also opt to email the support team about your visa status as long as you provide specific information.

How Long Does the Visa Last?

Single entry and multiple-entry tourist and business visas last 30 to 90 days depending on how long you want to stay. On the other hand, working visas last up to 2 years at maximum. Investor visas last 12 months up to 5 years depending on the visa subcategory. Lastly, a diplomatic visa lasts up to 12 months.

Can You Extend Your Vietnam Visa?

Yes, you may have your visa extended, depending on your current type of visa. If you have a visa valid for 30 days, you may extend for another 30 days. You may also extend your visa for a maximum of two times. 

However, visa extension rules change constantly. As such, always contact the Vietnam Immigration Department beforehand and confirm the extension rules. There are also instances where they don’t issue visa extensions to certain national or for certain visa types.