Southeast Asia has long been a favorite among budget backpackers, luxury seekers, and digital nomads alike.
Since Southeast Asia has some of the lowest cost of living in the world, travelers have the option to stay for a few months on the same budget that would have lasted them a week in Europe. But in order to stay longer, tourists would need longer visas.
Ask any long-term traveler in the region about their biggest complaint (besides Bali belly), and they’ll tell you about the frustration of rushed travel and the hassle of visa runs.
Luckily, a few countries have caught on to the difficulties and have begun offering extended tourist visas. This week, we can add Vietnam to that list.
Vietnam just announced a 90-day multiple-entry tourist e-Visa. Here’s what you need to know:
Why Does It Matter?
You try cramming dozens of islands, hundreds of temples, a couple of jungle treks, and a scuba diving course into less than four weeks. Sounds exasperating, right?
That’s why a lot of travelers in Southeast Asia resort to “visa runs.” They fly or take a bus over a nearby border, stay for a night or two, then hop back over the border to reset their tourist clock with more time to explore.
Plenty of travelers would really prefer not to operate in this gray zone of legality. Unfortunately, tourist visas in Southeast Asia are generally a poor match for the demographics, budget, and traveling style of most of its tourism industry.
Even though travel in Southeast Asia tends to be much more spontaneous than other regions, longer tourist visas are not available on arrival or online for most countries.
It’s much more common than you think for travelers to buy a same-day bus ticket from Cambodia and Vietnam to follow new friends or chase a bánh mì craving.
Unfortunately, even in countries where 60-day or 90-day tourist visas are available, they usually have to be applied for in-person weeks in advance. (Visa extension applications have the opposite problem; they can’t be applied for until the last minute and are notorious for unreasonable rejections.)
Applications for longer tourist visas also tend to be strict on the financial requirements and sluggish in processing.
Most travelers don’t want to lose a huge chunk of their trip waiting for embassy appointments and getting bank statements printed (not to mention being stuck in a capital city they’ve likely already seen while their passport is held hostage for weeks).
That’s why Vietnam’s new 90-day e-Visa is so exciting for tourists heading to Southeast Asia.
What’s New With Vietnam’s Tourist Visa?
Last week, the Vietnamese government announced that its previous 30-day tourist e-visa would be extended to 90 days, effective August 15, 2023.
While the previous 30-day e-visa was single entry, the updated 90-day version will be a multiple entry visa. This means tourists can take trips to other countries and return to Vietnam within their 90 days of valid stay without needing to get a new visa each time.
Nearly 5 million tourists have visited Vietnam over the past six months. This Pacific paradise is only becoming more popular in the post-pandemic travel boom.
With a record number of tourist visa applications, the e-visa extension will help Vietnam to save time and money while also “meet[ing] foreign visitors’ demand to stay longer,” according to Vietnamese lawmakers.
How Do I Get A 90-day E-Visa To Vietnam?
Starting August 15, 2023, travelers can apply using the same process as the previous 30-day tourist e-visas. Fill out an application online on Vietnam’s e-visa website. It requires:
- Passport image and information
- Name, birth date, permanent address, and occupation
- Contact information
- $25 visa fee paid by bank transfer
Travelers can check their e-visa status on the same website. It’s usually processed and approved within 3 working days. Once approved, it can be printed and brought on your trip.
Vietnam’s tourist e-visa is open to passport holders from 80 countries including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and most of Europe.
Other Long Tourist Visas In Southeast Asia
Vietnam is joining a small club of Southeast Asian countries with longer, easier visas for U.S. passport holders:
- Malaysia – 90 days visa-free
- Singapore – 90 days visa-free
- Brunei – 90 days visa-free with an e-arrival card
- Thailand – 30 or 60 day visa on arrival or e-visa, with a 30-day extension for $60
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com