When traveling to Vietnam, there are several key tips we can offer to help make your experience the very best possible.
1. Get your documents in order, make copies, and keep them close while traveling. Should your documents be lost or stolen while traveling, having copies with you, or in your hotel safe, with a travel companion, or someone at home who will answer the phone at any hour can help speed up the necessary re-application process. There is no expedited visa process in Vietnam, so it could take days to receive your new passport and visa.
2. A valid Passport extending six months beyond your arrival date, and Entry/Exit Visas are required.
Before you plan your trip make sure that your passport is valid with at least six months of validity beyond your arrival date. You will also need to arrange obtaining a visa before you land in Vietnam. Obtaining your visa should be done in the US prior to travel, allowing two weeks for delivery. Instructions on obtaining visas from the Vietnam Embassy or Consulate in the United States can be found here:
New York City
3. Visas will generally allow you to stay in Vietnam from 30-90 days and in some cases, such as student exchange, work, or volunteering you may be able to obtain a six-month or one-year visa. The most common visa is a tourist visa. Vietnamese-born international visitors traveling to Vietnam who currently have a foreign passport and those who are a spouse or child of a Vietnamese citizen can apply for a 5-year multiple entry visa into the country.
4. There are special rules and visas required for visiting and exiting the border countries of Vietnam (China, Laos, Cambodia.) Special permits and visas are required when leaving Vietnam even for a few hours. Full-page adhesive pages to your visa or passport are required if you visit the border countries for a day trip or evening out, so make sure you have room in your existing documents to support these new additional pages.
5. If you will be working in Vietnam, a work permit is required before obtaining your work visa. You will need both a work visa and work permit, no exceptions. It is vital to specify on your visa application the exact nature of your trip. If you are going for work, be specific and follow the work visa guidelines carefully.
6. You may also opt for a visa on arrival (VOA), also known as a ‘landing visa’ that you can obtain through agent companies for a fee. Their role is to obtain an official letter of approval prior to arrival for you to present to the VOA counter when you land in Vietnam. This method is fairly easy and there are many agents found via Google that can help with obtaining the VOA. The Vietnamese government has issued alerts regarding fraudulent websites offering visas, so check here before signing on with any agency to be sure you choose a legitimate company. When using a VOA service, you will be paying two fees; a service fee for the VOA agent and also a stamp-in fee to the immigration officer when you arrive. $25 for single entry and $50 for multiple entry visas. This needs to be paid in cash, so best to have exact change. You will not be granted entry without it. VOA service costs vary from agent to agent and depend on the duration of the stay and entry limit. For a 30 and 90-day single entry, it will cost $20 and $30 respectively per passenger. For a 30 and 90-day multiple entry, it will cost around $23 and $45 respectively per passenger. When you land, you will go to the VOA window and give them your Form N1, the letter of approval from the agent, your passport, and one passport sized photo 2×2 inches in size.
***Please note that the VOA method only allows you to enter Vietnam through Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, or Da Nang airports. A full visa from the Vietnamese Embassy would be necessary if entering Vietnam from other airports or by land transportation.
7. Give someone at home a copy of your full itinerary including flights, hotels, and a copy of your passport and travel documents.
8. Add an ICE contact (In Case of Emergency) into your cellphone. Should you have an emergency abroad, the ICE contact is globally recognized. Let your emergency contact know the Vietnam telephone country code is 84.
Discover the New Vietnam!
Go to Expedia.com to start your Vietnam trip.
Did you know there’s a Sheraton in Saigon? For all available hotels in Vietnam, take a look at Hotels.com.
Want to make your friends envious? Tell them “I stayed in a Bed & Breakfast at Ho Chi Minh City.”
Last of all, don’t forget Travel insurance. Like glue, boring but necessary.