Vietnam with its flourishing relationship with the States and its strategic location in the heart of Southeast Asia makes a good travel destination for Americans who want a tropical vacation on the other side of the world. Plus with the easy visa application process, your road to Vietnam will surely be as clear as crystal.
Guide On How To Apply For A Vietnamese Visa As A US Citizen
There are two popular ways to obtain a Vietnamese visa with your US passport and we are going to talk about them one by one in this guide.
Method #1: Applying an e-visa
An electronic visa system was implemented at the beginning of February 2017 which simplified the process for travelers from the States. It allows foreigners to stay in Vietnam for a maximum of 30 days for tourism purposes only. But ever since this e-visa system was introduced, a lot of fake sites are sprouting like mushrooms claiming to be the official government site for e-visa applications. Most of them are middlemen sites only which charge hefty fees so be sure you submit your application to this site.
How to apply for an e-visa?
Using the following steps, you’ll be able to get a Vietnamese e-visa hassle-free:
1. Go to the site and choose “E-visa request”. Then, select the “For Foreigners” section.
If you represent an airline company or someone who wish to serve as a host to a foreigner, this is not the correct option for you. Airlines and inviting entities to Vietnam belongs to a different section.
2. Fill out the online application form
You don’t have to download a form. Instead, just fill in the required fields and upload the required photos (passport details page and passport photo). You also don’t have to scan them because taking them with your phone camera will do.
3. Pay the visa fee
After filling out the form, pay the visa fee. The e-visa costs $25 and should be paid ahead so your application will be processed. There are various payment methods so, select the best method for you. If you’re paying with a credit card, there’s usually a fee which costs around $1.
4. Check the status of your application
Sadly, the application does not get approved in a snap of a finger but a waiting period of 2-3 days is already a big improvement to the typical visa application process. After 3 days, check the status of your application using this link.
Be sure to copy the registration code after submission because you will need it to check the status of your application.
5. Print the e-visa
Of course, don’t forget to print your e-visa. You will need to present it at the immigration before entering Vietnam.
Method #2: Applying for Visa on Arrival
Visa on Arrival (VOA) is also applicable for US citizens but before crashing the immigration gates at the airport, be sure to get a pre-approval from authorized travel agencies first. Remember that your documents along with the pre-approval letter will still be checked by the Immigration officers in Vietnam and does not guarantee entry into the country. Lastly, keep in mind that this option is only available for those arriving in Saigon, Hanoi, or Da Nang International Airports.
How do you get a Visa on Arrival?
1. Apply for a Pre-Approval Letter online
Find a trusted travel agency like My Vietnam Visa that can issue a pre-approval letter. They will do everything on your behalf and in just 2-3 working days, you’ll receive the pre-approval letter for a standard visa. If you’re planning to get a visa longer than 30 days, the processing time for the pre-approval letter will take 7 to 10 working days.
Be sure to give enough time if you’re planning to get a Visa on Arrival. On rare cases, processing the pre-approval letter could take some time most especially when the immigration officers ask for additional requirements from the applicant. The travel agency, which acts as the middleman, in this case, will relay the message back and forth and this setup could be time-consuming.
How much is the pre-approval letter?
Usually, travel agencies charge $20 for the processing of the pre-approval letter.
2. Print the Pre-Approval letter
Once approved, the agency will then send you a scanned copy of the pre-approval letter. Print this out and don’t forget to take it with you for the trip.
3. Receive the visa sticker
On the day of your arrival in Vietnam, go directly to the visa on arrival window and fill up the visa application form. Also, prepare the following documents:
- Pre-Approval Letter
- Visa photos measuring 4 x 6 centimeters and with white background.
After completing the form, hand it over together with your documents and wait for your passport with the Vietnam sticker attached inside. And voila! You can now enjoy Vietnam with your freshly-stamped Visa on Arrival.
How much is the fee for a visa on arrival?
Aside from the pre-approval letter fee, you also have to pay $45 to get a 30-day single entry visa to Vietnam.
If you have further questions, you can find one Vietnamese Embassy and one Vietnamese Consulate in Washington and California, respectively. You can find their details below:
Vietnam Embassy in Washington:
Address: 1233 20th street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036
Email: [email protected]s
Tel: (202) 861-0737
Vietnam Consulate in San Francisco
Address: 1700 California St., Suite 430 San Francisco, CA 94109
Email: [email protected]
Tel: (415) 922-1577