Travelling to Vietnam has become much easier since the e-Visa was implemented. Many travellers can now get their visa online in a week and head off on holiday right away.
For ages, it was possible to simply arrive in Vietnam and obtain a visa-on-arrival at the airport, as I did when I flew from Thailand in 2017. It was possible to check in to your flight without having the visa ahead of time.
However, this system wasn’t exactly perfect because you did, in fact, have to pay for an approval before you arrived in Vietnam. After having that approval, you could then get the visa on arrival at the airport, so it was an unnecessary step that also caused travellers to pay twice.
During the pandemic, as most countries were completely sealing off their borders for all but absolutely necessary travel, this visa-on-arrival was ultimately phased out. Now, it is necessary to have a visa before you board your plane to Vietnam.
In some ways, this makes it easier, as there are no extra approvals needed, and only a one time payment for the visa. The Vietnam e-visa is done completely online, and submitted to the immigration authorities to await their approval.
While many of the items you must fill out on the form are very straightforward on the Vietnam visa application, such as your passport info and your contact information, there are a few travel itinerary items that must be taken into account.
You will be asked which border entry you expect to enter Vietnam through. There are many options available on the form, including airports, which are obviously the most common points of entry, land border entries, and seaports.
Depending on how you enter Vietnam, on the application form, you must enter from the drop down list which of these expected locations you wish to enter.
This means that you can enter by sea or by land, as well as by airport. So if you are flying into a bordering country, you can technically come in by car, or by cruise ship or ferry. It also means you can use this e-visa for cruises as well.
There is a bit of controversy over whether you can change your point of entry on your visa, or you can deviate from what the visa says. The official rule is that you are not allowed to enter through a different location than what is indicated on the application form for your vis.
And the expected arrival location is indicated on the visa itself. Of course, there are always possible reasons you may not be able to arrive in your desired location, such as bad weather, or technical issues in an airport.
However, in general, it is advised to adhere to the rules indicated by the Vietnamese immigration authorities.
Check Your Calendar
If you are indeed planning a trip to Vietnam, it is wise to understand that for the most part, the Vietnam visa will take approximately 5 days to be approved. Sometimes it will be approved faster, but it is wise to have a bit of a cushion.
However, keep in mind that the visa is valid from the moment it is approved. Since the Vietnam visa application is valid for 30 days , once your visa is approved, you can stay in the country 30 days. The visa application can be put on hold and can be started a bit before departure, so that there is just the right amount of time before leaving, and time to arrive without any stress.
Once you are in Vietnam you are allowed to stay until the date printed on the “expiration date” on the visa. Many times travellers decide that they would like to stay longer.
This is possible by going to the immigration authorities, but because this process can be complicated and many of the forms are usually in Vietnamese, many travellers simply take a few days to travel to bordering countries to wait for the visa to be processed.
Visa Free to Vietnam
Travellers from certain countries in places like the EU and the UK are allowed to travel visa free to Vietnam for 15 days maximum. These countries include Germany, France Spain, and the UK, but not Ireland or the Netherlands, for example.
It is important to note, that if you are touring this region, and you use the 15-day visa-free exemption, that you may not enter Vietnam visa-free again for 30 days. Many travellers simply get a visa for the second leg of their journey if they plan on leaving Vietnam during their holiday.
Whether you need a visa or not, Vietnam is certainly a land filled with amazing sites, fresh and enticing food, and many adventurous paths. Whether you stay for a whole month, or a week or two, it will be an unforgettable journey.
Vietnam Digital Nomad Visa
There is currently no digital nomad visa for Vietnam so those wishing to live and work remotely in the country will need to apply for the relevant Vietnam business visa.
About the author:
Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has travelled to over 60 countries, lived in China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.
Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of Europe and Asia by train, bus and boat.
Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲