VISA Requirements for Vietnam
So, depending on when you read this a few aspects of the VISA requirements might have changed. Currently, as of March 2017, residents from these countries;
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
will be granted 15 days free VISA on arrival to Vietnam. After the 15 days you will need to apply for a VISA extension. This service currently has no plans to extend beyond 31 June 2017.
If you take the 15 days I would strongly recommend getting your extension either at the airport or at an embassy. From my personal experience, which always varies to others, it was not a pleasant one to get my VISA extended through a hostel company.
Vietnam Backpackers Hostel offer a service in which you turn over your passport and a sum of $40~ and they send off your passport to a local agency which will extend your VISA to 30 days (15 days extra). However, the location and whereabouts of your passport is unknown, no tracking. You are not supposed to leave the province in which you no longer have a valid passport on your person.
Without someone telling us this (ok, it should have been researched) we moved on to Phong Nha where, without a valid passport, or a photocopy of BOTH your passport details and the VISA stamp, hostels were not legally allowed to let you stay. We spent 3 days without a passport and then moved on to Hue where we would pick up our passports. Instead of taking the 4 working days they told us, it was 6 with a weekend in between so 8 days in total without a passport in Vietnam. Not a fun experience.
Apply online here
You will be required to apply for an approval letter online in which the cheapest is $17 and then on arrival you will pay a stamping fee of $25 for 1 month/3 month Single Entry visa or $50 for 1 month/3 month Multiple Entry visas.
Taken from the Vietnam.govt.vn website, this table shows the different types of VISA’s, processing time you can choose from and then the final stamp fee. Simply choose your VISA type, either Single or Multiple entry. Choose your processing time; 2 days, 1 day, or 4 hours. And then apply the relevant Stamping Fee.
You will pay the fee for the approval letter online, in US Dollar and then pay the stamp fee at the airport in either US Dollar or Vietnamese Dong.
For example, if I was going to Vietnam, alone, for 1 month I would choose; Single Entry, 1 pax, normal processing and the stamp fee totalling $42 ~ £35.
Tourist VISA’s can be extended via VISA agencies and can take roughly a week to complete. You can extend to either 30 or 90 days depending on the VISA you hold. VISA Exempt countries can not extend their stay and will need to leave Vietnam at the end of their stay.
UK citizens should you wish to extend your VISA beyond the 30 days, you will need to acquire a VISA from your nearest Vietnamese Embassy BEFORE travelling to Vietnam.
If you are not from a VISA exempt country and wish to stay longer you will need to apply in advance.