Vietnam Visa guide for first time visitors

Vietnam Visa guide for first time visitors

Vietnam, a country that sparks frenzied conversations, anytime it is is brought up in a conversation. This tiny South East Asian country is a backpacker's paradise. It is cheap, has amazing food, friendly locals, and even better sights. Compared to its behemoth neighbour, Thailand which has a well-established backpacking route, Vietnam is less touristy but has more heart and soul. 

Types of Vietnam Visas

Vietnam issues primarily two types of visas:

Tourist visa (DL)

The most common type of Vietnam visa is the Tourist Visa or the DL. This type of visa allows you to visit Vietnam as a tourist. It is valid from a month up to 3 months which can be further extended to 1 year for US citizens only. You can apply for a tourist visa either through visa-on-arrival or online.

However if you apply for a tourist visa, you will not be allowed to work or invest in any business or organisation in Vietnam

Business visa (DN)

A Vietnam Business Visa (DN) allows you to work, invest, and do business-related activities in Vietnam on a short-term basis. This visa is valid for a total of 12 months. There are two types of Vietnam Business Visa: DN1 and DN2. 

The DN1 Business visa is granted to foreigners to work with enterprises and organisations that are based in Vietnam according to Vietnamese laws. 

The DN2 business visa is granted to foreigners who come to Vietnam to offer their services, build up a business presence, or perform business activities under international deals of which Vietnam is a part.

Eligibility for a Vietnam Visa


If you are from one of the 24 countries mentioned below you do not need a Vietnam visa! 

14 days visa-free entry:



15 days visa-free entry:










South Korea



United Kingdom

21 days visa-free entry:

The Philippines

30 days visa-free entry:







How to Apply for a Vietnam Visa

Vietnam offers two ways to apply for a visa- an online e-visa and a visa-on-arrival.

Online application

You can apply for a Vietnam e-visa online here. The visa is valid for 30 days and takes 3 days to process. You can enter the country on an e-Visa at any of the country's 8 international airports, 14 land crossings, and 7 seaports.

Vietnam e-visa is available to citizens of the following countries:

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.

Embassy application

You can apply for a Vietnam visa-on-arrival through the Vietnam Embassy or Consulate, if available, in your home country. Vietnam has 57 embassies and 18 consulates located all over the world.

If there is no Vietnamese embassy you can apply for a Letter of Approval from a reputed tour agency. Gather the letter and all the required documents mentioned above to the Visa on Arrival counter at the airport when you land. 

Required Documents

If you are a first-time visitor to Vietnam, it can be a bit overwhelming, especially with 

visa issues. Luckily, we are here to help. But first, make sure you have the required documents in hand:

  • Valid passport with at least 6 months validity and at least 2 blank pages.
  • Two 4x6 passport-sized photographs with a white background and no glasses
  • Scan of personal biodata as written in the passport
  • Documents stating temporary address, point of entry, and exit.
  • Two coloured copies of the visa approval letter, if applying for a visa on arrival.

Processing Time and Cost

Time required to process a visa

The processing time for a Vietnam Visa differs based on where you apply for it.

Vietnam e-visa: 3 working days

Vietnam Visa-on-arrival: 2 to 4 working days for the Letter of Approval

Vietnam Visa from an embassy or a consulate: Processing time will depend on the embassy or consulate

Cost of a visa

A Vietnam visa will cost differently depending on whether you apply for a visa-on-arrival or an e-visa.

Vietnam Visa-on-arrival

A Vietnam visa-on-arrival has two main fees you need to pay - letter of approval fee and the stamping fee.  

The Letter of Approval Fee: To be paid online after filling up the visa application form. 

This fee is different depending on the validity of either 1 month or 3 months as well as whether it is a single entry or multiple entries.

The approval fee for a 1-month single entry costs $17 for 1 to 3 people. This fee is cheaper for large groups costing $10 for groups of 10 people or more (single entry). For 3 months validity with single entry, it costs $25 for 1 to 3 people and up to $19 for groups of 10 people or more.

For 1 month of multiple entries, the approval fee costs $20 for 1 to 3 people and up to $14 for groups of 10 people or more. 3 months multiple entry validity will cost $65 for 1 to 3 people and up to $69 for groups of 10 people or more.

The Stamping Fee: To be paid at the port of entry.

An amount of $25 is to be paid in cash at any of the 8 international airports in Vietnam. It is constant throughout all the airports with no change in the amount you have to pay.

Vietnam e-visa

The price of a Vietnam e-visa is much cheaper than the visa-on-arrival since you only have to pay a one-time fee of $25 after filling up the visa application form. 

Arrival in Vietnam

Arrival and entry procedures

Vietnam has three main international airports- Hanoi (Noi Bai International Airport, Danang (Danang International Airport), and Ho Chi Minh City (Tan Son Nhat International Airport). Besides these three airports, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc are also both home to an international airport each.

Once you arrive at the airport, you will be required to produce a valid visa (either e-visa or visa-on-arrival) and your passport.

Tips for a smooth arrival

Here are a few tips on how to have a smooth arrival in Vietnam:

  • The entire country of Vietnam is now open to tourists. No COVID tests or self isolation is required. However, if a person is found to be sick, they should immediately contact Vietnam health hotline- 19003228.
  • Before travelling to Vietnam, tourists should buy travel insurance and get any vaccinations required.
  • Carry cash with you (either Vietnamese Dong or US dollars) to get the visa stamp at the airport. Cards are not accepted.

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