Vietnam has a very convenient scheme for visa. The country is bestowing gratitude to its visitors by making visa procedures simpler, easier and faster. The process of visa on arrival is one of the easiest ways to get visa to Vietnam. It is especially beneficial to those who are travelling on a strict budget or with families. Even those on a solo trip for business can benefit from visa on arrival system as it will mean less hassles and will also save much time. Let us look at the visa procedures in detail.
E-Visa: Besides the above mentioned ways, from 1st February 2017 Vietnam government is providing e- visa an easy online facility for 40 countries including United Kingdom for a single entry visit up to 30 days for a visa processing fee of 25 USD. It is authorized by Vietnamese immigration department and issued by the embassy.
E-Visa can be applied by any of the following methods:
- Vietnamese embassy,
- VOA (visa on arrival),
Visa on Arrival (VOA): Vietnam Visa on arrival or Vietnam landing visa is an alternative way to get your visa for Vietnam. The visa will be issued for you at International airports in Vietnam. United Kingdom is one of the 163 nations which have the facility of legally getting visa on landing in any of the international airports of Vietnam. It is an hassle free and time saving process especially when one stays far from Vietnamese embassy or wants to avoid the tedious proceeding in visa processing (via embassy), and wants to save time. It also costs less. This visa is issued for maximum 30 days and can be used only for air travel where the entry and exit has to be any of the 4 Vietnamese international airports of Da Nang airport (Da Nang city), Cam Ranh airport (Nha Trang city), Tan Son Nhat airport (Ho Chi Minh City city) and Noi Bai airport (Ha Noi city). The visa on approval can be obtained by following 3 simple steps:
Business Visa: This visa is issued as B3 and B4 visas. In addition to the above mentioned documents a business visa usually requires a letter of support from the sponsor or a company in Vietnam. It takes 2-3 business days if applied in person and 2-3 weeks if applied via mail. The processing time can vary depending on the consulate and the service one uses. One has to make their own arrangements to get the passport returned with the visa when one prefers to use the mail .the visas issued by embassy is valid for any kind of transport of air , sea or land. More information can be obtained from the respective embassy website or the consulate office.
Filling online Vietnam Visa Application Form:
These forms are provided by Vietnamese government authorized agents. The form needs a person to fill details like full name, gender , date of birth , type of visa(single entry, multiple entry etc.), port of arrival, date of arrival and exit, nationality, passport number, other passport details ,processing time (urgent, normal etc.), purpose of visit etc. When one submits the form online they would be redirected to a pay portal for payment of processing fees. This fee depends on the agents and the type of visa one is applying for. Children having their own passports must apply as adults and has to undergo the same process .Once the payment is done a confirmation mail is send to the applicants mail. The visa processing takes 2 days in normal circumstances. If it is urgent it can be done within 8 hours (one must opt for it in the application).The Vietnam immigration department processes the visa application and sends a colored visa approval letter to the agents who in turn mail them to the applicant. One has to carry the printout (colored preferred but not necessary) on arrival at one of the 4 (as mentioned in the application form) Vietnam International Airports.
Getting Visa Approval Letter:
Vietnam Visa approval letter is a document issued by Vietnam Immigration Department (Vietnam Ministry of Public Security). It functions as an official permission allowing its owner(s) to board the flight to Vietnam and get visa stamped onto the passport upon arrival at Vietnam airports. Once issued the Vietnamese immigration department sends the approval letter to the various immigration check-in counters in the respective Vietnam international airports. So the officers have these documents beforehand. The approval letter is mostly in PDF or JPEG format. One can carry it in a smart phone and get a printout of the same on arrival. One visa approval letters can have a list of names unknown to the applicant. This is because of the Vietnamese immigration policy of bulk processing. If one wants a private / confidential visa letter with only the applicant or his/her group names one has to specify in the application. It charges extra fees for such service.
Once issued the approval letter cannot be amended so care has to be taken while providing information like passport details, type of visa ,( multiple entry, single entry), purpose ,exit &entry points and date of arrival and exit etc. Also UK citizens must keep it in mind that VOA is only for entry through international airports and land border crossing is illegal with this visa. One has to get a formal visa via embassy for that matter.
Getting VOA at the Vietnam International Airport:
After arrival at any of the 4 international airports (as mentioned by the applicant), one has to get his/ her visa stamped at the Visa Landing Counter before proceeding for stamping at the immigration / check in counter. Here we need to present the following documents.
- Visa approval letter
- Original passport (with minimum 6 months validity from the date of exit from the country and a blank page for stamping)
- 2 passport size photographs (4cm × 6cm)
- Vietnamese visa application form (already filled in) and
- Stamping fee (Credit and debit cards are not allowed). The stamping fee has to be paid either in US dollars or Vietnamese dong (VND) and usually is 25 USD for single entry and 50 USD for multiple entry visas. Visa application form which is also known as entry/ exit form can be obtained online and downloaded beforehand. After the entire process is over and done with, one can enter Vietnam.
It is better to provide a date of arrival which is the earliest planned one while applying for visa on arrival. Remember that one cannot enter the country before the mentioned date of arrival in the application form. One has to exit the country before the mentioned exit date.