Visas for Vietnam
If you are only planning on having a short stay in the country, you can apply online for a tourist visa for Vietnam, preferably at least one month before the scheduled date of departure. Your visa will be valid for the length of stay indicated on the application form; typically this will range from 1-3 months.
Exemptions with visas for Vietnam
The outbreak of Coronavirus has not only shaken up the world of bureaucracy. It has turned it upside down and tossed it into a blender. This mercurial climate has resulted in visas for Vietnam being issued on a priority basis. At the moment, the only people permitted to enter this country regardless of circumstance are Vietnamese nationals. Foreigners may only enter if they are visiting for official business or diplomatic reasons. Highly skilled workers or experts are permitted to enter, providing they have an appropriate sponsor.
Under normal circumstances, some visa exemptions still apply to citizens of 24 countries. Citizens of countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia are permitted to stay for up to 30 days without a visa of any kind. The Philippines is something of an anomaly, being the only country to receive a 21-day visa exemption. During normal times, the UK and numerous members of the European Union were awarded 15-day visa exemptions.
Citizens of the following 80 countries are eligible to apply for Vietnam’s e-visa:
Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Chile, China (including Hong Kong and Macau passports), Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Salomon Islands, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor Leste, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, and Western Samoa.
This type of visa costs $25 to purchase and will take roughly three days to process. Vietnam has eight international airports; the most well-known being Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang. The e-visa is valid at all of them, as well as the seven seaports and 14 land crossings.
Types of visas for Vietnam
To avoid any complications or unexpected problems during your travel to Vietnam, it is prudent to understand the different types of visas in Vietnam. Below, we will proceed to help you understand these different categories. Although there are more than 20 different types of visas for Vietnam, there is no need to feel overwhelmed. The parameters of each category are fairly straightforward.
The two most important criteria are the purpose of the visit and validity. New immigration regulations – Law No. 51/2019/QH14 – came into place in July 2020. Since then, Vietnamese visas have been categorised into 21 main types. Some of the most common types of visas include:
- Tourist visa (DL)
- Business visa (DN1, DN2)
- Student/internship visa (DH)
- Working visa (LD1, LD2)
This type of visa is for visitors planning to come to Vietnam for leisure purposes only. It does not permit the recipient to conduct any matters of business during their stay. The tourist visa is divided into four main subcategories.
- 1-month single entry visa
- 1-month multiple entry visa
- 3-month single entry visa
- 3-month multiple entry visa
Although booking a 3-month visa is completely feasible, the new legislation states that visitors on tourist visas will only be given a 30-day stamp on arrival. This means that should you wish to extend your stay, you will be required to visit the immigration office for another stamp.
This is the second most common type of visa for Vietnam and it is divided into two categories, DN1 and DN2.
The DN1 visa is offered to those who are coming to Vietnam to work with other organisations and businesses. For example, IT consultants may reside in Vietnam on these visas.
The DN2 visa is given to foreigners who come to Vietnam to establish their own business or commercial presence of some kind. Additionally, those who offer a particular service or perform specific roles under international treaties in collaboration with Vietnam would also qualify for this type of visa.
As with the tourist visas, foreigners arriving on Vietnam business visas will have numerous options in terms of duration. Citizens of the United States also have the option of purchasing the Vietnam 1-Year Multiple Entry Visa.
For foreign visitors about to attend a university course in Vietnam, a student visa is the best and obvious option. Typically students will arrive on tourist visas and then enroll on their course. Following this, they would be required to inform the immigration office of their change in status.
This may sound a little daunting, especially if it’s your first time travelling so far from home. However, the good news is that agencies are on standby and they deal with cases like this on a daily basis. Furthermore, most university teachers in Vietnam are competent English speakers and will be able to instruct you regarding immigration status.
This type of visa is often acquired by ESL teachers coming to Vietnam. It grants the holder to live and work in Vietnam for a period of up to 2 years. Furthermore, renewing this type of visa is a relatively easy process. The working visa is separated into two main types:
- The LD1 visa is given to foreigners who possess a work permit exemption certificate.
- The LD2 visa is granted to those who need a work permit to legally work in Vietnam.
Obtaining this type of visa is simply a matter of requesting that your prospective employer arranges an LD approval letter. This must be done via the Vietnam Immigration Department. This document will then need to be stamped upon your arrival in Vietnam.
If you aren’t currently in possession of a work permit, or written confirmation of work permit exemption, you should consider applying for a business visa first. Obtaining a working visa will be subject to two kinds of fees. The first will be for the visa approval letter. The second is the stamping fee.
Other types of visa
As mentioned earlier, Vietnam has more than 20 kinds of visas for foreign visitors. Two more worth noting are the investor visa and the diplomatic visa.
The investor visa is divided into four subcategories and these classifications are based on the amount of capital the investor intends to bring. The DT1 investor visa is the most lucrative and is awarded to investors who intend to bring 100 billion VND of capital. This visa is valid for periods of up to five years. Towards the other end of the spectrum, the DT4 visa is given to applicants with a capital of 3 billion. This visa entitles the recipient to stay in Vietnam for a period of up to 12 months.
Diplomatic visas are awarded to foreign nationals at the behest of Vietnamese government officials of high ranking, or Vietnamese ministries. Visas of this nature are also given to consulate personnel liaising with Vietnamese authorities. These visas are not subject to any fees and are valid for a period of up to 12 months.
How to arrange visas for Vietnam
Luckily, there are hundreds of reputable companies situated in Vietnam that can help you with this process. The most common method of entry into Vietnam is by visa on arrival. This is simply a process of punching in your details on sites like myvietnamvisa.com, paying the required fee and waiting for a few days. Other reputable visa companies are listed below:
Before arranging your visa, make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in Vietnam. Additionally, there should be at least a few blank pages remaining. Vietnamese immigration can be meticulous during the inspection of documentation. Therefore, it is wise to ensure your passport is not damaged in any way. Authorities refusing to admit visitors because of torn passport pages is not uncommon.
Fees for visas and approval letters vary as some agencies include a modest commission. A multiple entry visa is likely to cost somewhere in the region of $50. Upon arrival in Vietnam, you will need to complete a two-page form at immigration, hand them two passport photos and your $25 stamping fee. Depending on the traffic, processing times can be anywhere between five minutes and an hour.
Although it takes around five days to process a new visa request, this can be sped up during emergencies for a small fee.
Enjoy your stay in Vietnam
Everyone at Expat.com would like to wish you the safest of travels to Vietnam. It is generally a safe country, but it is still advisable to remain on your guard. Arranging visas is one thing, but remember that Vietnam also has countless options for commuting too. Whilst here, you will be able to rent cars and motorbikes at exceptional rates.
Should you feel that we have missed anything in this post, we would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Expat.com is committed to providing you with the most up-to-date information on travel to the most exciting countries in the world. We are delighted to share this experience with you and sincerely hope we’ve been helpful.
How has Covid affected entry to Vietnam?
Since the beginning of 2020, Covid has plagued the globe resulting in severe restrictions on travel. The Vietnamese government deemed that the safest policy was to lock down the entire country. This has made it practically impossible for the average foreign citizen to enter. Luckily, vaccinations are being rolled out at an exponential rate. As of November 2021, over 25% of Vietnamese citizens have been fully vaccinated against COVID.
These figures are likely to persuade the Vietnamese government to resume travel and tourism in the country. The Vietnamese media have been publishing reports that Phu Quoc Island in the south is open for travel. Visitors will be permitted to stay for up to 30 days, however, this does not grant them permission to travel to the mainland. A separate visa for Vietnam is required.