Procedures to Apply for Vietnam Visa for Foreigners
Vietnam is a South East Asian country with a 1.650 kilometer square coastline from the North to the South. It has abundant natural resources, particularly forests and seas and a lot of famous beauty spots. With a stable politics, Vietnam is known as a safe and ideal destination for tourists from all over the world. Vietnam’s economy has been steadily developing since joining WTO, there have been many foreign companies investing in Vietnam and also there are many foreigners coming to Vietnam to work and study. The number of international visitors to Vietnam has been increasing in recent years.
Most of foreigners to Vietnam need an entry or exit visa. Visa for Vietnam is legal evidence confirming that someone is permitted to enter or exit a country. Visa is often stamped in the passport.
Visa can be issued in person in Vietnam or Vietnamese embassy or consulate at their residence, sometimes through a specialized agency, travel agency permitted by Vietnamese government. If there is not embassy or consulate in their home country, a person needs to come to a third country that has this agency.
Visa exemption is case under regulation allowing some special people to enter or exit whatever their purpose is.
Cases of exemption from visa for Vietnam:
- Citizens of Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Laos are exempted from Vietnamwith maximum stay in Vietnam of 30 days.
- Citizens of Philippine are exempted Vietnam visa with maximum stay in Vietnam of 21 days.
- Citizens of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Finland, Japan and Korea are exempted from Vietnam visa with maximum stay in Vietnam of 15 days.
- Citizens of Brunei are exempted from Vietnam visa with maximum stay in Vietnam of 14 days.
- Citizens of France holding an available diplomatic passport or official passport are exempted from Vietnam visa and are allowed to reside a continuous period or periods with total time is no more than 90 days in 6 months from the first entry.
- Citizens of Chile holding an available diplomatic passport or official passport are exempted from Vietnam visa with maximum stay in Vietnam of 90 days..
- Those holding APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) of members of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are exempted from Vietnam visa with maximum stay in Vietnam of 90 days.
- Visitors to Phu Quoc Island – Vietnam: Foreigners and Vietnamese citizens having foreign nationality arrive in Vietnam through an international border gate and then Phu Quoc Island and stay there in no more than 15 days are exempted from Vietnam visa. Their passport must be available at least 45 days. After arriving in Phu Quoc, if visitors want to visit other localities or reside in this island in more than 15 days, Immigration Management Department will issue Vietnam visa for them right in Phu Quoc.
I. TYPES OF VIETNAM VISAS
There are two bases to classify Vietnam visa:
A. By purpose, Vietnam visas are divided into 4 types:
- Tourist visa: available 1 month single and multiple entry
- Business visa: available 3 months, applicants can enter one or more times and are allowed to word in arrival. Fee amount of this type is double that of tourist one.
- Student visa: issued when you arrive in arrival.
- Transit visa (at city you visit): available maximum 5 days. Each group of visitors must have a clear schedule and guaranty of travel agency organizing that tour.
B. By length of stay and entry times, Vietnam visa are divided into 4 types:
- Single-Entry with 1-month Validity
- Multi-Entry with 1-month Validity
- Single-Entry with 3-month Validity
- Multi-Entry with 3-month Validity
II. VISA APPLICATION PROCESS
There are two ways for visitors to apply for a Vietnam visa:
- Getting a visa in person at a Vietnamese embassy or consulate in residence country to submit Vietnam visa application and receive a sticker visa.
- Visitors can ask for an online visa approval letter through a specialized agency or a travel agency and then get your visa stamp upon at one of the Vietnam’s airport (visa issued at airport on arrival) or an international border gate. There are three international airport in Vietnam: Tan Son Nhat airport (Ho Chi Minh City), Da Nang airport, Noi Bai airport (Hanoi).
1. Getting a visa in person at a Vietnamese embassy or consulate:
- Required documents: Visa application form, original passport (valid in at least 6 months), 2 photos (4cm x 6cm or 3cm x 3cm) and maybe some other documents required by Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your host country. You can submit in person at visa processing division or send through post office to visa processing division or by email.
- Processing duration: extending 4 to 5 days (tourist visa).
- Fee amount: varies in different embassy.
2. If you enter Vietnam by air, the easiest and quickest way is to apply through a Vietnam travel agency. This type is issued at the airport on arrival:
- Provided information for travel agency:
- Full name
- Date and Place of birth
- Passport number
- Entry and Exit date
If visitor is an oversea Vietnamese, he/she must provide added information:
- Year and Reason for leaving Vietnam
- Means of transport when leaving
- Name and address of relatives in Vietnam
Travel agency will send you an approval letter from Vietnam Immigration Management Department. When you arrive in Vietnam at any airport, you will receive your stamped on your passport at visa office by submitting approval letter and your passport (valid in at least 6 months), 2 passport sized photos 4cm x 6cm (taken during 6 recent months) and fee of visa stamping (in cash). After that, you can enter Vietnam.
3. Apply for a visa at a continental boundary gate or seaport:
In case there is no diplomatic representative office, Vietnamese consulate in the home country, visitor can be issued visa at border gate but must holding a letter of invitation of an authorized representative office in Vietnam or travel in tour organized by a Vietnam international travel agency.
- Handling procedures in person at border gate
- Necessary documents: Visa application form (with an attached photo 4cm x 6cm); passport or passport substitute; a visa approval document issued by the Immigration Department (Ministry of Public Security)
- Processing duration: maximum 60 minutes at seaport, maximum 10 minutes at continental boundary gate.
- Fee amount
4. Vietnam visa extension:
There are two ways to extend your visa:
- Handling procedures at visa issuing office at your locality of residence
- By a travel agency which has visa extension service. You must send the scan of passport to travel agency before visa expires 2 weeks. Duration depends on type of your Vietnam visa, often 4 to 7 days
Note: Visa extension is not easy and quick. It may take time and money. In case you are not sure about the duration of stay in Vietnam, you should get a three-month visa (if possible) instead of one-month one.
III. VISA FEE
1. Stamping fee
To stamp the visa at Vietnam’s international airports, visitors pay immigration staff in person in cash (USD or Vietnamese dong) at immigration checkpoint.
Circular No. 66/2009/TT-BTC of March 30, 2009 of Ministry of Finance, prescribing the regime on collection, remittance, management and use of fees on passports, visas and papers on entry, exit, transit and residence in Vietnam as follow:
Ordinal Name of fee Fee amount
a) Single entry visa 45 USD
b) Multiple entry visa 65 USD (less than 1 month)
95 USD (less than 6 months)
135 USD (6 months and over)
c) Change visa value, temporary residence from expired original passport to new passport 15USD
d) Issuing temporary residence paper 80 USD (less than 1 year)
100 USD (from 1 to 2 years)
120 USD (from 2 to 3 years)
2. Fee for service:
If you apply for a visa through a Vietnam travel agency, you must pay fee for service of asking a visa approval letter of Vietnam Immigrant Management Department. This fee depends on type of your visa, your nationality, and when you want to get visa approval letter.
IV. CUSTOMS PROCEDURE
1. All visitors to Vietnam must fill in a declaration form and let customs officer check luggage as required. When entering Vietnam, visitors must fill in an entry and exit declaration form. The new form (CHY 2000) is currently used for both entry and exit procedure. In case of re-entry or re-exit without goods that must be informed according to regulations, visitors only have to submit entry and exit declaration (yellow one) or fill in a new one. Put an (x) and fill all information from box 1 to box 16 in the declaration form. Visitors must submit this declaration for entry and exit as well as customs officers.
2. Luggage, personal property and goods brought into Vietnam are personal belongings and do not belong to non-commercial goods category that is not permitted to import, charge free.
3. When exiting from Vietnam, visitors’ luggage enumerated at customs office must be checked one more time at customs when arriving, except for used article or gift.
4. Visitors to Vietnam can take foreign currency, an unlimited amount of gold, silver, precious mental, and gemstone with them but must declare in detail in their declaration form. Visitors can exchange their foreign currency into Vietnamese Dong (VND) at banks, hotels, jewelry shops throughout the country.
5. Visitors can take an unlimited amount of souvenir with bill. To fasten customs procedure, you have to declare in entry and exit and customs declaration form:
- Camera, recorder and other electronic device not belonging to personal belongings;
- Jewelry (especial gold) and gemstone not belonging to personal belongings;
- Foreign currency, cash (paper currency, mental currency and travel cheque) more than 7,000 USD or other equivalent currency with Vietnamese Dong in cash maximum 15,000,000;
- If visitors take video tape with, customs will retain to check and return to them after days;
- Gold (300 gr and above). If visitors take more than 3000 gr with, the exceed will be retained at the store and re-export.
- Goods out of charge free.
When entering Vietnam, visitors can bring duty free allowances such as: 20 tobaccos, 50 cigarettes or 150 gr of tobacco; 1.5 liter of alcohol and other article (not forbidden) maximum 300 USD total values. Visitors are not permitted to bring in Vietnam: arms, ammunition, explosive materials, combustible substance; artillery, opium and drug; toxic chemicals, smut literature or reactionary materials/products unsuitable with Vietnam’s habits and customs; toys for children badly affecting personality education, social safety order, etc. Visitors who take forbidden goods in will be fined in accordance with Vietnam’s law.
Visitors with an amount of gold exceeding 300 gr leaving Vietnam have to declare and ask for permission of state bank. Visitor are not allowed to take arms, ammunition, explosive materials, drugs, antique, wildlife animals, valuable and rare plants and documents relating to country’s security away. Visitors who take forbidden goods away will be fined in accordance with Vietnam’s law.
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