Those of us who need a tourist visa to enter Vietnam can get it in two ways.
Visa before Arrival:
If you want or need a visa stamp on your passport before arriving in Vietnam contact the closest Vietnam Embassy. They usually request ID photos, filling a form, and of course Money! Also, it is likely they will keep your passport for a few days to stamp it.
Visa on Arrival:
For those of you like me lucky enough to hold a passport that rarely requires a tourist visa before arrival, but realizing at the last-minute that I may actually need a visa for Vietnam…You can get a visa on arrival, but first you will need a Letter of Approval.
Visa Approval Letter is a letter issued and confirmed by Vietnam Immigration Department. By showing the approval letter at Vietnam Airports upon arrival, traveller can pick up Visa and get the visa stamped on their passports. At the airport, the corresponding authority will verify the details on the approval letter based on your passport and travel documents.
Overall Application Guidelines for Vietnam Visa Letters of Approval:
1. Access the website of the agency: There are many agencies (below is my few cents on the one I used vietnamvisapro.net
2. Fill the required information on the online application form and pay (For security reason better use only a website using Paypal)
3. Receive the approval letter via email (usually it is after two working days for normal processing, but every agency offers urgent processing services as well)
4. Print and show your Letter of approval at any of the Vietnamese International Airport to get your actual Visa.
As written above the letter of approval can be provided by several agencies find online. The recurrent question is “Is this website real?” Agreed, these websites sometimes look shaky with funky colors and several “basic” grammatical errors, but for the most part they are real and will provide you a Letter of Approval in your inbox.
The best way to go is to go on Google and search for reviews and compare the prices. Below is a simple description of my experience using www.vietnamvisapro.net
1. Day 1: Applied online for a 90 days multi entry visa – paid 30 USD online via Paypal. When selecting the starting date, be alert you can only enter the country on or after the selected date, but not before.
2. Day 1: Shortly after paying, I got a confirmation email saying that the company received my payment and will proceed with the letter within the next two days. They clearly mention checking my junk box as the approval letter often ends up there.
3. Day 2: I received in my mailbox the letter of approval, pdf format.
Note: in the letter, you might see others people names. That is because when the company processes your letter of approval to Vietnam Immigration Department, they might send a bulk of name. If it something that worries you — try to make it clear you want your information process separately. Some website proposes this service; I did not find on vietnamvisapro.net, but then I didn’t mind having my names pop up with fellows travelers.
4. Day 4 (and of the day of traveling): Had in paper my letter of approval + 2 ID photos + the money (in cash and USD only).
At Hanoi – you will need to go to the counter that says: “Visa Upon Arrival” find on the left-hand side. On the right-hand side it is the Vietnamese border control, so for sure they will reject you since the letter of approval itself is not a visa. At the counter, they will take your passport, pictures, and ask you to fill a form. After filling the form go on the other side of the counter, wait to be call, give the form, the money, and get back you passport with the visa.
At Ho Chi Minh City – With your Letter of Acceptance head towards the Landing Visa counter. When facing the border control, the counter is on the far left-hand side. Give your letter of acceptance, fill out the form with the picture, and wait for your name to be call. Then pay the visa fees and get your passport back with visa. Next is to go to the border control to get the precious stamp. When it’s not busy time, it can go as fast as fifteen minutes.
Voila! Peace of Cake!
Next, of course, is to go to the border control to process your visa.
At landed in Hanoi in Early October, after leaving the plane it took approximately 15 min to get my visa, and pass the border control. Of course should you land when it is busier it might take more time.
Please note that I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned above and that this is not a paid advertisement. This information is presented here strictly for the benefit of my readers.