How to Get a Travel Visa for Vietnam
Whether you are visiting for business, to discover family, or to enjoy the unspoiled beauty of Vietnam, you will need written permission, called a visa, to enter the country. A visa indicates your country of citizenship, when you are entering and leaving Vietnam, and where you will be staying. It also indicates the reason you are visiting, be it business, tourism, or governmental. Regardless of why you are traveling, relax with a cup of iced French coffee, and enjoy the sights and hospitality of Vietnam.
Preparing to Apply for a Visa
Obtain a passport from your home country.If you do not already have a valid passport, you will need to get one before you apply for a visa to visit Vietnam. Most state departments will require your birth certificate, proof of residence, headshot photos, a completed application, and the appropriate fee. Some countries may require an in-person interview.
- Processing time will vary, but you should allow four to six weeks.
- If you already have a passport, it must have at least six months of validity past the date you expect to exit Vietnam.
Secure computer access.In order to apply for a visa to visit Vietnam, you must have access to a computer with reliable Internet access to fill out the application form. Once you begin the application, you must complete it within 15 minutes or it may time out and you will lose your work.
- You must have an email address to receive your application confirmation and other documents.
- The computer must have Adobe Acrobat Reader or other PDF-compatible software to open the documents.
- You will need to be able to print your visa application and other documents.
Take your visa photo.To complete the visa application, you will need a photo that is less than one year old. The photo must have physical measurements of 4 X 6 cm [or approximately 2 X 2 1/2 inches]. This is a standard passport size.
- The photo must have a white or light background and show your full face. You cannot be wearing a hat or tinted glasses. Both of your ears must be visible.
- If you are having photos taken for your passport application, you can use the same photo if it meets the specifications.
Detail your travel plans.To complete your visa application, you will need to know your entry date and your exit date, if you will be leaving the country during your visit, and the address where you will be staying. You will also need to give the name, address, phone number, and email address of an emergency contact.
- If you are traveling for personal reasons, such as tourism, you can receive a visa for either 30 days or 3 months.
- You can apply for a visa up to six months before your departure date. While visas can be expedited for emergencies, for a standard travel visa, apply at least 30 days before your departure to leave time for processing.
- Do not finalize your travel plans until you have your visa in hand. Applications are occasionally rejected for reasons that the Vietnamese authorities will not explain. If you are rejected, there is no appeal.
- If you need an emergency visa, contact the Vietnam embassy in your home country for procedures and fees.
Applying for a Visa to Visit Vietnam
Complete the online application form.You will apply online through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam website. You may complete the application in English, German, French, or Vietnamese.
- During the application process, you will select the consulate where you will submit your application. Select the one in your country of citizenship or country of residence.
- If you are an American resident, the Embassy of Vietnam in Washington D.C. has provided an English language version of the application that you can print out and fill in the blanks.
Print out the completed application.Once it is printed, you will sign it at the bottom in the block marked "applicant signature," in blue ink to indicate an original document and attach one copy of your passport-sized photograph, and your original passport.
Pay the processing fee.Fees may vary depending on the country where you are applying. The fee for applying from the United States is currently USD 0. To confirm the exact fee, including any special services, contact the consulate where you will be submitting your application.
- The fee must be made payable to the "Embassy of Vietnam" and paid via money order or cashier's check in the currency of the country where you are applying.
- If you do not include the correct fee, your application will be returned unprocessed or denied.
Include a prepaid return envelope.In order to have your passport returned safely, along with your visa, used a secure service with tracking information such as Federal Express.
- The recommended envelope is either a 9X12 inch manila envelope (or equivalent) or the standard document envelope provided by the secure shipping service.
- The return postage amount for the consulate to return the package to you will be the same amount as you had to pay to send it to the consulate.
Receive your visa.Once you submit your completed visa application to the appropriate consulate, expect the processing time of five working days. Adding in time for return mail, you should have your passport with your visa to visit Vietnam affixed to it within two weeks. You may now proceed with finalizing your travel plans.
- Completing your application online will avoid the most common mistake, which is omitting required information. If you have left a required field blank, the application will ask you to fix the error.
- If you have a valid passport and completed every section of the application, you should be granted a visa. If you are denied, contact the consulate where you applied for an explanation and ask if you can reapply. If the authorities refuse to give an explanation, it is likely that your visa has been denied for a political reason and will not be granted under any circumstances.
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