Vietnam Visas – How to….

*NOTE – 26 July 2022 –

Since Vietnam re-opened in March 2022 following the Covid closure, VOA (Visa on Arrival) has not been reinstated as a way to obtain a visa to Vietnam.

As at July 2022, Vietnamese Embassies / consulates around the world are also not currently issuing tourist visas.

The ONLY way, at the moment, to get a tourist visa to Vietnam is through the official E-Visa site you will find below. It is still only for 30 days, is only single entry, and cannot be extended.

So, do you need one?

Short answer – Probably.

Longer answer – Probably, but maybe not.

So, which is it?

And if that’s not confusing enough, if you do need a visa, where are you going to get it from?

Yep, even that isn’t as straight forward as you’d think it would be.

Oh well, it’s all part of the research, isn’t it?  And research is pretty important for a place like Vietnam.  Do it well, and you will be rewarded on your travels.

So, let’s start with who can travel to Vietnam without a visa.


If you hold a passport from one of these countries, and your stay is 15 days or less, then you do not require a visa to enter Vietnam.


South Korea









United Kingdom*



(* Passport holders from these countries are exempted from 15 March 2022 to 14 March 2025.)

To qualify under the 15 day exemption, there’s a few things you need to be aware of.

Firstly, day one is the day you arrive. Whether you arrive at 12.30am, or 11.30pm, that is day one.

The day you leave the country is also counted as part of your 15 days.

So, effectively, you are allowed to stay in Vietnam for up to 14 nights.

Secondly, it is a requirement that you have to be able show proof of onward travel.  In other words, proof of how and when you’ll exit the country.  For example – an airline, or bus, ticket out of Vietnam, dated within the 15 day exemption period.

While you may not always be asked for it, it is still a requirement.

Ok, so what if the passport you hold dictates that you are not entitled to a visa exempt visit?  Or, you’re planning on staying longer than 15 days?

Well, a decision needs to be made on where you’re going to get your visa from.  And there are three options – Embassy issued visa, E-Visa, or VOA (visa on arrival).



If you like the sound of an embassy issued visa, you’ll need to contact the Vietnam Embassy or Consulate in your home country to find out the cost, and what they require.  Visa fees vary from country to country, along with the differences in visa types. ie. single or multiple entry, and duration.

Here is a link where you can find a list of Vietnam Embassies all around the world –

Vietnam Embassies

You may also have to post your passport to the Embassy in order to receive the visa stamp, which will obviously add to the overall cost.  You also have the added concern of trusting your postal service with your passport.

Note however, that some Embassies may offer the option of a loose leaf visa, thus removing the need to post your passport.

Once you have your visa in your passport, you are good to go, and upon arrival into Vietnam, proceed directly to Immigration / Passport control.  Your visa will be stamped, and there is nothing more to pay.

Embassy issued visa.


*Note – please do not confuse e-visa with VOA. (visa on arrival)  They are two very different processes.


E-Visa is a relatively new system, and now covers a good number of countries.  An e-visa is actually issued by the Vietnam government, and this –

E-visa website

is the only website you should use to apply for your e-visa.

Any other website purporting to issue e-visas, or with ‘e-visa’ in their domain name, is either a VOA site, or an agent acting on your behalf, and charging you handsomely to do so.

Everything you need to know about e-visa is in the link above, but a quick rundown is as follows –

  • It is only good for single entry visits of up to a total of 30 days.
  • The cost is $25USD, plus something like a $1USD payment fee.

You will also find on the above website a list of eligible countries that can use e-visa, which is here –

List of eligible e-visa countries

As well as a list of border crossings that the e-visa can be used at –

List of e-visa border crossings

Note that the time taken to issue an e-visa is quoted as three working days, but please be aware that it can take a little longer than that.  Therefore, it is best if you don’t leave it to the last minute to apply.

If you are travelling at the last minute, or you’ve only just realised you actually need a visa to enter Vietnam and your flight is in a few days, then applying for an urgent VOA approval letter will probably be your best bet.  (See VOA below)

Please also double check all details – name spelling, dates of birth, sex, etc – once your e-visa is emailed to you.  Mistakes can cause issues upon arrival in Vietnam, as well as extra costs to rectify them.

Once you do have your e-visa, print it out and keep it with your passport.  On arrival into Vietnam, head straight to Immigration / Passport control.  There is nothing more to pay.

Please also ensure you hang on to your e-visa while in Vietnam, as you may need to show it when exiting the country.  Because of this, it’s probably a good idea to have a couple of copies.


A third visa option is visa on arrival. (VOA)

But, it is only applicable if you are entering by air at one of the below airports.

HCMC – Tan Son Nhat International Airport

Hanoi – Noi Bai International Airport

Danang – Danang International Airport

Nha Trang – Cam Ranh International Airport

So, what is the advantage of VOA over E-visa?

Where e-visa is only for one month and single entry, VOA has a few more options, which include one month single and multiple entry, as well as three month single and multiple entry.

Cost wise, the visa itself is similar to e-visa, with the one and three month single entry visas attracting a $25USD stamping fee, while the fee for the multiple entry visas are $50USD.

There is, however, an approval letter fee that is also applicable, which will cost you $6USD and upwards, depending on who you use, as well as the visa you require.

So, how does VOA work?

First, you need to arrange that approval letter.  And to do that, you need to contact one of the many VOA agents that are out there.  They all do the exact same thing, but as mentioned, it’s their fees that can vary.

For what it’s worth, we use

Within a few days you will receive your letter by email.  This is not your actual visa, but merely a letter that will enable you to receive your visa when you arrive in Vietnam.

VOA approval letter_blog
VOA Approval letter.

Don’t be concerned if there are other names and details on the approval letter, as it’s common for agents to make visa applications in bulk.  If this does concern you, then most agents will offer a ‘private’ letter, for a small fee.

When you’ve received your approval letter, you will need to print out the whole thing.

You will also be sent a link to an ‘Entry and exit’ form (NA1), which you will also need to print out.  This form needs to be filled in, and, to save time on arrival, it’s a very good idea to do it before you travel.

Entry exit form_blog
Entry / exit form NA1.

So, you now have your approval letter, and your ‘entry and exit’ form.

Do you need anything else?

Yes, you’ll also need one passport sized photo.  As well as the visa stamping fee in USD.

So, now that you have everything you need, what do you do when you actually arrive at the airport in Vietnam?

Unlike having an Embassy issued visa, or an e-visa, you DO NOT head straight to immigration.

When you arrive, you instead make your way to the VOA, or Landing Visa, window, which is before the queues to immigration.

VOA counter_blog
VOA / Landing visa counter

Once there, hand over your passport, the entry and exit form, and the photo, and then take a seat and wait for your name to be called.

You can now sit back and watch the other travellers, who invariably neglected to research, scramble to fill out their form, as well as look dumbfounded when officials ask for the visa stamping fee, which they apparently knew nothing about.

It can actually be quite amusing!

When your name is called out, return to the counter to retrieve your passport, which now has a visa stamp in it, and pay the stamping fee, which, depending on the visa type, will usually be either $25USD or $50USD.

Be sure to check both the stamp, which looks much the same as the Embassy issued one above, as well as the dates specified on it, before you leave the VOA counter.

So, after all that, what are the disadvantages to using VOA?

Only that you’ll have to spend a little time queuing at the VOA counter to organise your visa, before heading to Immigration.  How much time will depend on how many others have turned up at the same time and also require VOA.

It could be anything from 10 minutes to an hour or two, but waiting time is usually closer to the shorter time frame.  And the fact that there are now quite a few that can visit under the visa exemption, as well as the e-visa process now being another option, means that there are now less people using the VOA system.

If you are worried about having to wait too long, most VOA agents offer an expedited service, which essentially, is just someone pushing you to the front of the line.  And for an extra fee, of course.

Up to you if you feel that’s necessary.

Hopefully the whole Vietnam visa thing is a little clearer.



37 thoughts on “Vietnam Visas – How to….

  1. Hi, thanks for the thourgh info
    Just 1 query on the photo
    Does it need to be the Vietnam passport size 2″×2″
    Or just Australian 35mmx45mm

    Or doesn’t matter …?


    1. Hi Grant,
      You don’t need to take any photos with you for e-visa. That’s all done on-line when you apply for it. With VOA, (visa on arrival) yes, you do need to take a photo to hand over upon arrival. We’ve always taken standard Australian passport sized photos and had no problem. They don’t seem to be that fussy; you just need something close to that size.


  2. Hi – thank you for your info – I just read it in tripadvisor re the E-Visa (and asked this same question there as well) – just wondering, with the E-Visa it says photo with no glasses however my NZ passport has photo of me wearing glasses! So, do I need to get a separate photo without me wearing glasses OR will my up-to-date passport photo suffice? Cheers Liz


  3. Hi,
    i have two kids aged 4 and 7. just applying for an e-visa and on my application it has a section asking whether i am accompanying minors and then i have to upload their pictures. question 1, are my kids covered under my visa or do they have to get their own? question 2, if they are covered under my visa ( i am a new zealand citizen) but they are australian should i put them under my husbands (australian passport) e-visa application?


  4. Hi Ian,
    No, it’s not too early to apply. You stipulate the dates you want, and if that’s what they give you, then that’s your dates. There’s no expiry, as such.


  5. Thanks for the info around E Visa. We are all set to go with our E Visa’s all sorted. Really appreciate your info you have put up here and also on Trip Advisor. Looking forward to a first time visit to Vietnam. Heading to Hoi An for a few days then Hue then Da Nang. Thanks again. Faye


  6. Hi Scott, Great information thank you. From your post am assuming that you are unable to apply for 2 x e-visas instead of the VOA as am thinking if this was an option would be cheaper and save the queueing on arrival with the VOA? We are heading to Vietnam in June arriving into HCMC airport and are there for a week before making our way into Cambodia from PhuQuoc and then heading back into Vietnam a week later entering into Da Nang airport. Do you know if it is an option to just purchase the 2 x e-visas, one for the initial entry visa and then a 2nd one with the date for the re-entry? All under 30 days? Otherwise I will just apply for the VOA via the link you have, but thought was worth asking the question as are a family of 5 and imagine the kids will be tired on arrival so any less time waiting around on arrival trying to avoid. Thanks in advance Scott, Dianne


  7. Hi Dianne,
    I believe it is possible to arrange two e-visas, but l don’t have any first hand experience.
    So, couple of alternatives….
    1. Get a multiple entry VOA. Should cost you around $65 (~$15? for approval letter from , plus $50 for stamping fee at the airport)
    2. Get an e-visa for you initial entry, and arrange a VOA for your second entry. Total cost would be ~$57, again, using
    And using a VOA at Danang should be quicker than at HCMC. Although I’ve got through in 5 minutes at HCMC.
    Hope this helps.


  8. Hi,

    Thanks for this article – very helpful.
    My flight will be at 1am on the 16th day – ie an hour over the 15 day exemption.
    Will I still need a visa if I will arrive at the airport and go through immigration before midnight when I leave Vietnam?

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi Nancy, as you say, you will pass immigration before the end of the 15th day, and as such, you shouldn’t need a visa. Your only real potential concern would be being stopped by an overzealous airline employee when you board your initial flight to Vietnam.
      It’s probably unlikely, but still possible.
      If that concerns you, you could get a $6 VOA approval letter from an agent like
      If you do get denied boarding your flight, just show them that.
      Then, when you arrive, just proceed straight to immigration and enter under the visa exemption.


  9. Hi there, regarding photo needed for upload for evisa, is a photo with your phone OK as long as it is headshot, white background etc like passport photo, or do I actually need a digital passport photo done? thanks


  10. Sorry, one more question. Kids – I do a separate evisa application for them, but do I list them as accompanying children included in my passport on my evisa form? (is this for parents who have kids included in their own passport? thanks


  11. Wish this was pinned clearly to TA page – it is very difficult for a newbie to work out if we can use a visa waiver, what is VOA vs e-visa vs buying an actual visa at an Embassy. Have purchased Indian visas before which we thought were difficult at the time but it is pretty clear what is required. Especially for people coming in and out of Vietnam, visiting Cambodia etc. on tours.

    Thanks very much – very useful.


  12. No problem at all, Caroline, very pleased it was of some help.
    Unfortunately, I don’t think TA would be too happy pinning an external link.
    It does occasionally get linked to in day to day threads, though, which certainly saves a lot of re-writing.


  13. Hi there, we are cruising with Princess in March and entering through Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) Vietnam, seaport exiting through Nha Trang Seaport. On the list of seaport it just says Ho Chi Minh City Seaport is this the same as Phu My will I be able to use the E-Visa?


    1. I would assume that is the port, but sorry, l don’t know for sure.
      Are you travelling from HCMC to Nha Trang by land?
      Or is it two seperate entries by boat?
      If it’s two, then the cruise line usually looks after the visas for you. At a cost, of course.
      If you’re travelling over land, then l would assume an e-visa would be a valid option.
      You might want to check out the cruise critic forum.
      Sorry l can’t be of more help.


  14. All good, I tried call the cruise line to find out but they weren’t much help :( Yeah we are entering through sea at both ports. Thanks anyway, your article was very helpful in general to understand Vietnam visa requirements.


  15. Yes, from what I’ve read, the cruise lines are notoriously unhelpful.
    And having two seperate entries I think you’ll likely be stuck with having to get your visas through the cruise line.
    Hopefully they don’t sting you too much.


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