How does this visa exactly work? First of all, you need to know that applying for a visa on arrival is only done through a Vietnamese travel agency. However, do watch out when choosing the tourist agency. There were instances of people getting scammed in this way. The Vietnamese embassy advises against this practice since the legitimacy of companies which acquire VOAs is questionable. If you still want to give it a try, do a bit of an online research beforehand to check if the agent you choose is the real deal.
These travel agencies usually have an online application. Make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry. You will also need to fill the date of your arrival. Choose a date when you want your visa to start from. You don’t have to travel on that exact date; you can arrive later up to the exit date.
Choose your visa validity. Vietnamese visas can be of one or three-month validity, and you can choose between single entry or multiple entries. In case you decide for a multiple entry visa, the first time you arrive in the country it has to be by plane, but for other entries, it can be by land or sea.
Children with their own passports will need their own visas.
Once you applied, you will receive an Approval Letter via email. With this letter, you will be able to get your visa on arrival.
These applications are usually done in bulk, so your name will be just one among them listed in the Approval Letter. Other people may see your personal information such as name, date of birth, nationality, passport number, dates of entry and exit. If this worries you and you feel that your privacy is at stake, you can ask the travel agency for a separate application, which will probably be charged more.
Another downside of the VOA, besides the scammy websites, is that it is only possible for people who are traveling via airports. So, if you are going to land on any of the Vietnamese airports – Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang or Nha Trang – you are in the clear.
Once you arrive at the airport, prepare for queuing at the VOA desk. Documents that you will need are as follows:
– printed Approval Letter;
– printed and filled out visa application form;
– 2 photos;
– cash for the fee.
Some airlines will ask to see the letter of approval before letting you on board. So have it at hand if a situation like this arises.
It is better if you fill out your visa application form in advance. It is possible to get this form once you land but do it before to save time.
There are no ATMs in the vicinity or if there are they don’t have USD currency. The fee needs to be paid in USD, so prepare the money in advance.
Once your visa is done, they will call your name and show your photo, name, and nationality on the screen. Check your visa immediately once you get it back in case there are any errors. After that, go to the immigration control to be processed.
Between 1st of July 2017 and 30th June 2018 holders of British, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Belarus passports will not require a visa for stays of up to 15 days. It is not known if this will be extended past that date.