Let me start this blog by saying the entire Vietnam Visa process is MUCH easier than I thought it was!
I had major anxiety after researching Vietnam Visa’s online. So many guides said there were major hoops to jump through.
One article said it was difficult to find a legit agency, while another told me I had to be in my country of residence to apply. Both were wrong.
How to get a 3 month Vietnam Visa
First off, I want to say that we are Canadian, so I can’t vouch for other nationalities, but many other countries have similar entry rules into Vietnam. Double check the rules of entry for your country before you go ahead and buy a Visa online.
My husband and I are currently on a 7 month tour through South East Asia, but we wanted to settle for a little while to slow travel through an inexpensive country. Vietnam looked like the best place to spend some extra time, but we had to work out a Visa. I learned that recently Vietnam passed a law that stops travellers from EXTENDING their Vietnam Visa once they are in the country. That was 100% real information. Once you get into Vietnam, you will not be able to extend your Visa. Knowing that, we started to research how to get a 3 month (90 day) Visa for Vietnam.
Many forums and blogs were steering us away from using an online agency. We read horror stories from people saying that fake agency sites stole their money, issued them fake approval letters or simply never got back to them in time. We started studying guides about going to a Vietnam consulate in neighbouring Cambodia in order to apply in person. It all started to get super overwhelming and we almost scrapped our Vietnam plans all together.
That was, until I found a recommendation on Lonely Planet for this agency called Vietnam Visa Center, which turned out to be AMAZING! They were fast, professional, fair priced and above all else, got me my 90 day Visa for a flawless entry into Vietnam.
I did a bit of research into the site before I decided to apply. They had some great reviews online, so I figured I would give it a shot and hope for the best. On the main page of their site you can choose how fast you need your visa and what type of visa you need.
What Type of Vietnam Visas Can You Get?
Vietnam has a 1 Month Visa, 3 Month Visa and 1 Year Visa (note: the 1 Year is for USA residents only)
For each length of Visa you can choose if you want it to be single entry or multiple entry. The single entry is cheaper than a multiple entry, so if you don’t plan to leave Vietnam at all during your stay, choose that one to save some cash. If you are going to be coming and going from Vietnam during your stay, you will NEED the multiple entry, which allows you leave and re-enter without re-applying.
*Note: After I had already applied for the single entry Visa, I found out that I might have to leave halfway through my 90 days on a 3 day work trip to Thailand. I emailed their customer service and asked if I could amend my application. They emailed me back within an hour and told me that wasn’t possible and that once you have an approval letter for a single entry, that is set in stone. However, if I did have to go to Thailand, I could simply re-apply for another 90 day single entry Visa while I was in Thailand.
Once you have picked the type of Visa you need, you will choose how fast you need it sent to you. I was in no hurry at all, so I picked the 3 Day Service (because it’s also the cheapest!) If you are in a mad rush, they have a super fast 2 hour turn around time, which blows my mind!
How Much is A Vietnam Visa?
1 Month (30 Day) Vietnam Visa
$20 – 3 Day Service
$30 – 1 Day Service
$55 – Half Day Service
$75 – 2 Hour Service
$25 – 3 Day Service
$35 – 1 Day Service
$60 – Half Day Service
$80 – 2 Hour Service
3 Month (90 Day) Vietnam Visa
$35 – 3 Day Service
$45 – 1 Day Service
$70 – Half Day Service
$90 – 2 Hour Service
$70 – 3 Day Service
$80 – 1 Day Service
$105 – Half Day Service
$125 – 2 Hour Service
Once you know what service you want, click the big green ‘Apply Now’ button on the home page and fill out the form.
The company has some up-sell items, like having someone meet you at the airport or keeping your name private, but we didn’t select any of those.
We were flying from Kuala Lumpur into Ho Chi Minh, so we selected SGN airport on the form, put in our date of arrival, and our Passport info. (I double checked that the site was secure with the little padlock in the address bar before I filled all my passport info in).
For a 3 Day Service, 3 month (90 day) single entry Visa for myself and my husband, it came to $70 USD, which I paid for using PayPal.
Getting Your Vietnam Visa Approval Letter
To my surprise, my approval letter came exactly 24 hours later! I didn’t even have to wait the full 3 business days.
They emailed me over my approval letter and entry form with these instructions:
The approval letter showed my name and my husbands name and we checked that it had the correct 90 day visa, which it did. The entry form was similar to a normal immigration form you fill out to gain entry to a country, just a little more detailed.
We were in Bali at the time so we just printed off the forms at our hotel and found this local shop for our Passport photos. The photos for both of us cost $50,000 IDR which is around $4 USD.
Proof of Onward Travel For Vietnam
Travelling around South East Asia, we learned quickly that many countries want proof of onward travel, even if they don’t always enforce it. Nothing kills the vibe quite like not being able to board your flight, so we’ve gotten into the habit of booking cheap/refundable plane tickets just incase. In the case of Vietnam, we found a cheaper alternative that would still give us the same proof of onward travel we needed. A bus ticket! We booked 2 bus tickets from Ho Chi Minh to Phenom Penh for around $10 USD each.
We were never asked to show proof on onward travel this time, but at least we had it.
(We flew out of Denpasar in Bali, with a quick stop in Kuala Lumpur, on Malaysia airlines to SGN airport Ho Chi Minh)
Arriving in Vietnam with an Online Visa
Showtime! Here is where we find out if our Visa Approval Letter is real… or if we’ve just been scammed.
We got off the plane in SGN and proceeded towards immigration. Just like our email explained, there was a little area just before the immigration counters with a sign that said ‘Landing Visa Counter’.
With our passports, passport photos, entry form and approval letter, we approached the counter and handed them everything. They told us to take a seat and wait. After about 15 minutes, they called our names back to the counter and asked us to pay the $25 USD each for the ‘stamping fee’. We had already gotten a crisp $50 USD bill back in Bali, so we handed it over.
They took the $50 and handed us back our passports with a shiny new visa inside!
That’s it! DONE!
We then proceeded over to the immigration counter, which was mind-boggling simple as well. They just took a quick scan of our passports and nodded us through. No questions, no interrogations, and thank god… no “this Visa is fake!” surprises.
It all went smoothly. Insanely smoothly.
It was actually so smooth and easy that I wondered why the hell I had gotten so paranoid abut the whole process. Sometimes blogs and travel forums can make you more confused than anything. I am so glad I gave Vietnam Visa Center a chance instead of listening to all the doom and gloom advice online.
- Go to Vietnam Visa Center
- Click ‘Apply Now'
- Choose your type of Visa and fill out form with payment
- Wait up to 3 business days for your approval letter to arrival via email
- Print out letter, entry form, get 2 passport photos and $25 USD stamping fee
- Bring everything with you to the ‘Visa Landing Counter' on arrival in Vietnam
One last tip for the SGN airport:
In-between the ‘Landing Visa Counter’ and the immigration line, there will be vendors set up with Vietnam SIM cards. BUY ONE!
We paid $10 each for a 30 day SIM with UNLIMITED WiFi! Brilliant!
The girls who sell them will have it in your phone and working within 45 seconds. They are fast!
How is Vietnam?
I am writing this blog from Hoi An, Vietnam, which we’ve settled into for the next 2-3 months. I have to say that this location exceeding my expectations! The prices are cheap (cheaper than even Bali!), the people are MUCH friendlier than I’ve experienced in other Asian countries and culture is still very much in tact. Since mega publications like Travel and Leisure have listed Hoi An as one of their “Best Places to Travel in 2019” more tourists than ever will be making the journey here. We are creating some fantastic Hoi an guides for you, so stay tuned!