Best Way to Get a Vietnam Visa

Everything you need to know to get the right Vietnam visa for your adventure

how to get visa to vietnam

So you want to know the best way to get a Vietnam visa? That must mean you’re planning a trip there, which is awesome news! We’ve been to Vietnam a half-dozen times and LOVE it! Read on for help getting the right visa with no hassle.

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

When you first start looking into getting a visa for Vietnam, the whole system can seem confusing and unnecessarily complicated. (Ugh, why do countries have to make it so difficult to visit?) Don’t let the red tape stop you! With its stunning landscapes, buzzing cities, and complex cultural heritage, Vietnam is an amazing place to travel.

a wooden ship in ha long bay
Getting a visa for Vietnam is so worth it!

Plus, getting a visa is actually very easy once you have the system figured out.

We’ve been to Vietnam half a dozen times in the last couple of years (we just can’t stop going back!) so we have lots of experience getting Vietnam visas.

By the way, this post covers the Vietnam tourism visa. If you need a Vietnam business visa, contact the Vietnamese embassy in your country.

Are you ready to get started? Then read on to discover the…

Best Way to Get a Vietnam Visa

More Vietnam travel tips
Check out these ultra-helpful posts, like our guide to creating a perfect Vietnam itinerary, our complete Vietnam travel guide, and our guide to vaccines for Vietnam.

Which Visa do You Need?

Unless you qualify for the visa exemption, then you’re going to need to apply for a visa.

There are different visas depending on what passport you hold, how long you will stay in Vietnam, and where you are arriving.

Find your passport below and then click the link that describes your trip. You’ll jump right to the section about the best visa options for you.

US passport

Canada, Australia, New Zealand passport

European passport

ASEAN passport

South American and Indian passport

Other passports and trip types

We’re sorry we can’t cover every country and type of trip to Vietnam in this guide (we’re only two people!). This site will help you find more details about the visa you need.

green rice field landscape in vietnam
Come to Vietnam for magnificent landscapes and friendly people.

Vietnam Visa Exemption (aka Visa Free)

With the visa exemption, certain passport-holders can travel to Vietnam visa-free for up to 15, 21, or 30 days, depending on where you’re from.

Note: Don’t mistake visa exemption for visa on arrival – they are not the same!

Who should do visa exempt travel to Vietnam?

Visa exempt entry to Vietnam is right for you if you are:

  • Travelling for tourism or work
  • Will spend less than 15 days or 30 days, depending on your passport
  • Need single entry
  • Arriving by air
  • Don’t want to pre-arrange anything!
beach with palm trees and beach chairs
You’re going to Vietnam! We are so excited for you :).

How much is a visa exemption?

The visa exemption is free, of course!

US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South American, India visa exempt entry to Vietnam

Sorry, but there is no visa-free travel to Vietnam for the passports listed above. You will need to apply for a visa to Vietnam.

European visa exempt entry to Vietnam

If you have a passport from one of the countries listed below, you can visit Vietnam for up to 15 days on the visa exemption:

  • Germany
  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Belarus

Hot tip: Vietnam is an amazing country. You really should stay for longer than 15 days if you can!

ASEAN visa exempt travel to Vietnam

If you have a passport from Japan or South Korea, you can visit Vietnam visa-free for up to 15 days.

If you have a passport from the Philippines, you can visit visa-free for up to 21 days.

If you have a passport from one of these countries, you can visit visa-free for up to 30 days.

  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Laos
  • Indonesia

What you need for visa-free entry to Vietnam

  • One of the passports listed above
  • Proof of departure from Vietnam

How to gain entry to Vietnam if you are visa exempt

When you get to the airport in Vietnam, you can go straight to immigration and show them your passport. They may ask to see proof of departure, so have your outgoing flight ticket ready.

Important tips

Limited re-entry. You can’t just hop across the border to Cambodia and then come back as an easy way of extending your visa exemption. You’re not allowed to return within 30 days of departure using visa-free entry. If you want to stay longer, just apply for the visa on arrival.

Packed for Vietnam?
Don’t miss our complete Vietnam packing list to make sure you don’t forget anything or take too much stuff!

Vietnam Online Visa (e-Visa)

New since 2017, the Vietnam e visa programme is the best option if you are planning to arrive in Vietnam across a land border or by sea. It’s also a good option if you want a 30-day single-entry visa.

Who should use the Vietnam e-visa ?

The Vietnam e-visa is right for you if you are:

  • A tourist
  • Visiting for less than 30-days
  • Only need single entry
  • Arriving at airports, land borders, or seaports
  • Hold one of the valid passports (includes US, Canada, UK, and Australia)
shanty town of stilt houses on the mekong delta
Vietnam has a fascinating culture which will change your perspective.

Who can get an e-Visa?

People from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, most European countries, most South American countries and more are now able to get a visa online for Vietnam.

Related: See the full list of Vietnam e-visa approved countries

How Much Does the e-Visa cost?

25 USD. There is no additional fee upon arrival

How long does it take to get a Vietnam visa online?

Three working days to process (usually)

Note: We’ve heard reports about the e-visa system being buggy and photos and applications being rejected on technicalities. So leave extra time in case this happens to you.

Where can you enter Vietnam using the e-Visa?

You can use the e-Visa at international airports and most of the overland and sea arrival ports.

Related: See the full list of entry points for the Vietnam e visa

How to apply for a visa to Vietnam online

You’ll need to fill out the application form on the official website. The official government site pages all end in (not which is a clever faker).

screen grab from the official vietnam e-visa website
This is what the Vietnam e visa official website looks like. Don’t get fooled by fakes.

To fill out the application form, you will need:

  • A digital passport-style photo. Size doesn’t matter since you will upload it on the e-visa application site, but dimensions should be 2:3. Photo for a Vietnam visa should be a head and shoulders picture taken against a plain background. Don’t wear hats, sunglasses, scarves, etc.
  • A clear photo/scan of your passport page with your ID picture on it
  • Details of where you’re going to enter and exit Vietnam
  • An address in Vietnam (use your arrival hotel address)
  • A passport with at least 6 months validity left on it and 2 blank pages

Important tips for applying for the e-visa

Avoid the fake sites. There are lots of fake websites out there trying to trick people into thinking they are applying for the Vietnam e visa. Only use the official visa site! Note that the official site’s URLs end in (not

Leave plenty of time! We have never used the e-Visa system but have heard rumours that the system can be annoyingly buggy. Sometimes the site is down, sometimes payment won’t go through, sometimes photos are rejected. Make sure you apply with plenty of time to try an alternative if the e-system doesn’t work.

Don’t forget to print! You need to print your e-visa and bring it to Vietnam with you.

Is your itinerary perfect?
Double-check your plans against our Vietnam itinerary guide, where we recommend 3 itineraries for 2 weeks in Vietnam.

Vietnam Visa on Arrival

The visa on arrival is the most common and most convenient way to get a visa for Vietnam. You can get a Vietnam 3-month visa or 30-day visa and it is available for multiple entry or single entry.

Getting the visa on arrival is a two-step process. Before you get to Vietnam, you will need to get an approval letter. Once you arrive at the airport, you will apply and pay for your visa on arrival.

Who should get the visa on arrival?

You should get a visa on arrival if you are:

  • A tourist
  • Arriving by air
  • Staying up to 90 days
  • Needing either single entry or multiple entry

What’s the cost of a visa on arrival?

  • Approval letter: Around $25 USD
  • Single entry visa (30 or 90 days): $25 USD
  • Multiple entry visa (30 or 90 days): $50 USD

How to get an approval letter

Though it sounds like a headache, getting a Vietnam visa letter is actually very easy.

1. Find a reputable online broker

This might be the hardest part of getting your visa on arrival. You need to be a little cautious about who you use, since some sites are scammy or deliver approval letters that get rejected at the airport.

We recommend you check out

We used them for our current trip to Vietnam and they were very efficient. Plus, they provide you lots of valuable Vietnam travel tips, too.

2. Fill out the online application form

You will need to supply:

  • The type and length of visa you want
  • Your planned entry and exit dates
  • Your planned arrival airport
  • Your contact details (phone and email)
  • Your passport number and expiry date (no scan / picture needed)

Note: You also need to bring two passport-sized photos (around 4cm x 6cm) to the airport.

3. Pay the fee

The fee can be paid online using a credit card. Fees vary from broker to broker, but are usually around $25 for the basic 30-day visa.

4. Print your visa letter

In a couple of days, the broker will send you an email with your approval letter attached. Print it out and bring it with you to the airport.

Important tips for the visa on arrival

Choose the right approval letter broker. Use a reputable visa letter broker to avoid being scammed.

Don’t forget to print! You need to print your approval letter and bring it to Vietnam with you.

Don’t forget your photos! You will need to bring 2 passport photos to the airport with you, size 4cm wide by 6cm tall. If you forget, you can get photos taken at the airport (but avoid the hassle and do it ahead of time).

Passport requirements. Your passport must have at least 6 months validity left on it and 2 blank pages.

You can change your arrival date. If you arrive in Vietnam later than the arrival date you selected on your approval letter application, that is no problem. Just make sure they give you 30 days from your arrival date on your visa.

You can change your port of entry. If you end up flying into a different airport than you selected on your approval letter application, that is no problem. You can use your approval letter at any international airport in Vietnam.

stephen at the sand dunes outside of mui ne in vietnam
It would take years to explore Vietnam properly, so you might want to get a longer visa!

How to get your visa on arrival at the airport

Your visa approval letter is not a visa. You will need to get the actual visa at the airport once you get to Vietnam (hence the name “visa on arrival”).

1. Print your visa approval letter and bring it with you.

2. Go to the visa counter when you arrive at the airport (before immigration).

At certain times of day, the visa counter can be very busy, so be prepared to wait. Sometimes, we have had to wait for an hour, at other times it has taken 10 minutes.

3. Bring the fee with you in USD.

Last time we got our visa at the airport in Hanoi, they would only accept USD, which I did not have. Fortunately, there was an ATM that dispenses USD, before you go through immigration.

Last time I was there, people were also paying in Euros and Australian dollars, but the exchange rate wasn’t great.

4. Check the dates before leaving the airport.

Once you get your passport back with your visa inside, check to make sure the dates are correct before going through immigration.

One time, when we were cycling into Vietnam from China, they only gave us 5 days on our visa. We had to race to Hanoi as fast as we could to get our extension organized!

One-Year Vietnam Visa on Arrival for US Passport-Holders

US Citizens have the option of getting a visa on arrival to stay in Vietnam for up to one year. Lucky you!

How to get the one-year mulitple-entry visa

Follow the instructions in the Visa on Arrival section above. When applying for your approval letter, just choose the “one year for US Citizens” option and provide an image of your US Passport.

How much does a one-year visa cost?

  • Approval letter: Around $35
  • Visa fee: $135

Important notes about the one-year visa on arrival

With the one-year visa you will need to leave Vietnam every 90 days so they can re-verify your passport. This is a great opportunity to visit Cambodia, Laos, or China!

Related: Get more info about the Vietnam visa for US citizens

banana vendors on the street in hanoi
We know you’re going to have a fantastic time in Vietnam.

Vietnam Embassy Visa

Who should get a visa at a Vietnam embassy?

With the new e-visa, visa on arrival, and visa exemption, it’s rare that you would need to arrange a visa for Vietnam at the embassy. But if your trip is unusual or your passport is, you might need to apply ahead of time.

The Vietnam embassy visa is useful if:

  • You want to work or volunteer in Vietnam
  • You need a multiple entry visa for land borders
  • You want to stay longer than 90 days (1 year for US citizens)

How long does it take to get an embassy visa?

Processing time really depends on your embassy and how complicated your visa requirements are. Be sure to apply at least a month or more before you depart.

Where can you get an embassy visa?

If there’s an embassy in your hometown, you can visit in person, thereby avoiding the hassle of having to mail your passport.

If there is no embassy where you live, you will have to follow the instructions on the embassy website in your country. You will usually have to send your passport, pictures, and application form via mail or courier.

If you are a long-term traveller, it is possible to get a visa for Vietnam in countries you are visiting.

During our bike trip, we got our visa in HK (it took 7 days). You can also apply in major cities in Asia if they have a Vietnamese embassy.

European and North American countries tend to be a bit more fussy about this but if you’re stuck for some reason, give it a try!

karst landscape on the river in tam coc
Don’t miss a lazy boat ride in Tam Coc when you come to Vietnam.

Can you extend your visa?

With most types of Vietnam visa, you can apply for a visa extension while in the country. This is easiest in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city, but you can also apply in Hue and Da Nang.

The most efficient way is to find a trusted travel agent in the city and let them handle the legwork for you.

A visa extension can take up to 10 days and during that time you will have to give up your passport. Since you need a passport to check into hotels, you will be stuck in one place while your passport is being processed.

If you entered the country visa-free, you’ll need to get a visa renewal. Again, check with a travel agent in one of Vietnam’s major cities to help you arrange this.

Need more Vietnam advice?
Check out our complete Vietnam travel advice post where we give you the real lowdown on the country and share our best tips.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which countries are exempt from Vietnam visa? / Can I enter Vietnam without a visa?

In certain circumstances, people with passports from certain European countries and ASEAN countries don’t need a visa to visit Vietnam. Check our section on the visa exemption for details.

Can I get a visa on arrival?

Most travellers can get a visa on arrival in Vietnam, as long as they arriving at one of Vietnam’s international airports. Note that you have to arrange an approval letter ahead of time. See all the details in the section about visa on arrival above.

How can I get a Vietnam visa?

The easiest way to get a Vietnam visa is by using the visa on arrival service. See the section above for complete details on who can use the visa on arrival and what kind of trip it works for. In some circumstances, like if you’re travelling overland to Vietnam, the Vietnam e-visa is a better option.

Is Vietnam visa on arrival legitimate?

Absolutely. We have gotten our visa on arrival several times. Just be sure that you get your visa approval letter from a well-established company and that you print your letter before you fly. Also, bring your visa fee in USD for the easiest service.

What is the cost?

Currently, the cost of a 30-day or 90-day single entry visa is $25 USD. The price of a 30-day or 90-day multiple entry visa is $50. For visa on arrival, you will also need to pay a fee to get your visa approval letter. This will cost around $25 USD.

How long does it take to get a visa?

If you’re getting a visa on arrival, the usual time for getting an approval letter online is 2–3 days. Many companies provide faster service for a higher fee if you urgently need a visa. When you arrive at the airport, you may wait up to an hour to have your visa processed.

For an e-Visa to Vietnam, the process is supposed to take three working days, but since the system is not perfect yet, leave more time for problems and application rejections.

What is the photo size?

For a visa on arrival, your photo is supposed to be 4cm x 6cm. However, if you have photos that are the approximate size and shape, they are usually fine. For an online visa, upload a photo with 2:3 aspect ratio.

tourists with orange electric scooters on tour in vietnam
Foreigners on scooters are probably the biggest hazard in Vietnam!

Do You Need Travel Insurance for Vietnam?

Of course you do! We never leave home without travel insurance.

Though Vietnam is a relatively easy place to travel, you should still make sure to have good travel insurance.

After five years of full-time travel, we have experienced first-hand how easily accidents or medical emergencies can happen. Hospital visits are stressful enough without the added worry of how you’re going to pay for them!

We recommend World Nomads insurance which is flexible, reliable, and cost-effective.

Find our more about World Nomads insurance plans

Want to Know our Vietnam Secrets?

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This FREE don’t-miss list gives you access to the 12 best transformational experiences in Vietnam. Don’t miss out!

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More Vietnam Travel Tips

We hope you found this post about getting a visa for Vietnam helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to ask via email or Instagram.

  Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen

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  1. Comment by eric

    eric February 3, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    just a note that you are incorrect about the evisa for vietnam. You cannot get an evisa for land border crossings. Consider correcting the error on your site

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