How To Apply for Vietnam Visa On Arrival

Last update: Apr 14, 2024

Vietnam is a popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia, known for its beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, and rich culture. For many travelers, obtaining a visa to enter Vietnam can be a confusing and time-consuming process. However, with the option of a visa on arrival (VOA), obtaining a valid visa for Vietnam has become much more convenient.

A Smart Traveler's Guide on How to Apply for a Vietnam Visa

  • Visa on arrival is the process of obtaining a visa upon arrival at the airport in Vietnam. It is a legal way to enter Vietnam without having to visit a Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your home country. To obtain a VOA, travelers must apply for a visa approval letter through a reputable visa agency. Once the visa approval letter is issued, travelers can board their flight to Vietnam and receive a visa stamp upon arrival at the airport.
  • The VOA process is simple. Travelers can apply for a visa approval letter online by providing their personal information and travel plans. The visa agency will then process the application and send the approval letter via email within 2-3 business days. The approval letter will contain all the necessary information for travelers to obtain their visa stamp upon arrival, including the arrival and departure dates, the purpose of the visit, and the type of visa.
  • Once travelers arrive at the airport in Vietnam, they will need to present their visa approval letter, passport, and passport-sized photo at the immigration counter. They will then pay the stamping fee and receive their visa stamp, which allows them to enter Vietnam.
  • One of the benefits of a VOA is that it saves travelers time and money. There is no need to visit a Vietnamese embassy or consulate, and the application can be completed online from the comfort of your own home. Additionally, VOA is often cheaper than applying for a visa through an embassy or consulate.
  • It is important to note that VOA is only available for travelers entering Vietnam by air. If you are planning to enter Vietnam by land or sea, you will need to obtain a visa through a Vietnamese embassy or consulate

What is Vietnam Visa on Arrival?

As of 2023, the visa on arrival is a method that involves obtaining an approval letter from a travel agency in Vietnam. This letter allows you to have the visa stamped at an international airport in Vietnam upon your arrival. 

Vietnam visa on arrival (VOA) or Landing visa is a legit visa type that allows foreigners to collect a visa upon entry to enter and exit Vietnam. If a visa at the Embassy and e-visa is available for many ports including airports, landports, and seaports, a visa on arrival is only available for those who enter Vietnam by air and at one of 8 given international airports in Vietnam.

Instead of getting a visa affixed to passports in advance of the trip, applicants are required to apply for a visa approval letter (also known as a pre-approved visa letter or visa invitation letter) via a local visa agency in Vietnam first, then this letter is used to take a visa stamp on the passport upon arrival at the airport.

How to Apply for Vietnam Visa on Arrival

  • Step 1: Visit a reputable visa agency website many visa agencies offer visa-on-arrival services for Vietnam. Look for a reputable agency with good reviews and a user-friendly website.
  • Step 2: Fill out the application form Once you have chosen a visa agency, you will need to fill out an application form. The form typically requires you to provide personal information such as your name, passport number, date of birth, and arrival date.
  • Step 3: Pay the service fee After filling out the application form, you will need to pay the service fee. The fee varies depending on the length of your stay and the type of visa you need.
  • Step 4: Receive the visa approval letter Once the visa agency receives your application and service fee, they will process your visa approval letter. This typically takes 2-3 business days, although some agencies offer expedited services for an additional fee.
  • Step 5: Print out the visa approval letter After you receive the visa approval letter, you will need to print it out and bring it with you to Vietnam.
  • Step 6: Get a visa stamp upon arrival when you arrive at one of the international airports in Vietnam, you will need to present your visa approval letter, passport, and a passport-sized photo. You will then pay a stamping fee and receive your visa stamp, which allows you to enter Vietnam.

Step by step instructions on how to apply for a visa

Step by step instructions on how to apply for a visa

visa on arrival fees and checkpoints

Visa on arrival in summary

Available types
  • Tourist visa (1 month / 3 months)
  • Business visa (sponsor required)
Type of entries
  • Air travel only
Applicable airports
  • International airports in Vietnam
Documents required
  • 02 passport photos (4*6cm)
  • Pre-approved letter
  • Entry/exit form
  • Visa fees
  • Valid passports (At least 6 month validity)
Visa fees
  • Approval letter fee (vary)
  • Visa stamping fee at Vietnam airport (25 USD for single entry and 50 USD for multi-entry)
Photo requirements
  • White background
  • Front view with bare head
  • No sunglasses
Processing time
  • 1-2 working days for the approval letter (Can be processed in 2-3 hours in emergency cases)
  • 15 to 30 minutes at Vietnam airport (1 to 2 hours during peak season)

As its name implies, visa-on-arrival is usually known for its convenience, especially for those who cannot go to the Embassy/Consulate in their country to apply for a visa. Besides, there are a bunch of pros you may not know:

  • Convenience: Skip the hassle of preparing numerous documents and visiting the Embassy in person. With Vietnam Visa on Arrival, you only need to fill out an online application form and obtain a pre-approved visa letter. The actual visa stamp will be provided upon your arrival in Vietnam. The entire process is facilitated easily through a local agency's support.
  • Time-saving: Ideal for those with time constraints, Visa on Arrival eliminates the need to visit the Embassy. It is especially beneficial for emergencies, as urgent visa applications can be processed in as little as 2 - 3 hours.
  • Cost-saving: Save on document preparation fees, postage costs for sending documents, and travel expenses to the Embassy. With Visa on Arrival, you only need to pay a stamping fee at the airport upon your entry to Vietnam.
  • Various entry types: Unlike the single-entry limitation of an E-visa, Visa on Arrival offers multiple entries, making it more versatile for travelers with frequent in-and-out trips.
  • Eligibility: While E-visa is limited to citizens of 80 countries, a Vietnam Visa on Arrival is available to citizens of all nations as long as they enter Vietnam by air. This broader eligibility opens up the option for travelers from around the world.

In addition to the attractive pros, travelers should also take into account the following cons of a visa-on-arrival when planning their trip to Vietnam.

  • No official website: Visa on arrival cannot be directly applied for by foreign individuals, as there is no official government-owned website for this service. Instead, you must involve a Vietnamese visa agency, a third-party entity, to obtain the pre-approved visa letter, as all such agencies are private organizations.
  • Queuing at the airport: Getting your visa stamped requires waiting in line at the Visa Application counter in the Arrival Immigration area of the airport. The waiting time typically ranges from 15 to 20 minutes during the low season (May to September) and can extend to 30 minutes to 1 hour during the high season (October to April). This may impact your travel plans.
  • Entry/exit checkpoints: Although most Vietnamese international airports accept visas on arrival, it's essential to check if your specific entry/exit checkpoint is applicable (*).
  • Pre-approved visa letter: Since the visa approval letter may be issued to a group of foreigners, you might find other travelers' names mentioned in your letter.
  • Varied visa fee: The visa-on-arrival process involves two types of fees – the pre-approved visa letter fee, which varies depending on the agency, and the stamping fee, ranging from USD 25 to 50 based on your visa type (duration of stay, single or multiple entries). Additionally, only cash is accepted for the stamping fee at the arrival port.

List of 8 Vietnam international airports allowing visa on arrival:

  • Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)
  • Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Danang International Airport (Danang)
  • Cat Bi International Airport (Hai Phong)
  • Cam Ranh International Airport (Khanh Hoa)
  • Lien Khuong International Airport (Lam Dong)
  • Can Tho International Airport (Can Tho)
  • Phu Quoc International Airport (Phu Quoc)

Who is eligible?
While a traditional visa at the Vietnamese Embassy/Consulate is eligible for any citizen in the world, the visa on arrival option is eligible for the following applicants:

  • Tourists: Foreign tourists joining a Vietnam tour organized by a Vietnam travel agency.
  • Business travelers: Foreign citizens traveling to Vietnam for business or commercial purposes.
  • Transit travelers: Vietnam is one of many destinations in the applicant's journey.
  • Foreign crew members on ships at Vietnamese seaports, wishing to exit Vietnam through another country's border gate.
  • Foreigners and overseas Vietnamese returning to Vietnam to attend a relative's funeral or visit seriously ill relatives.
  • Foreigners entering Vietnam in urgent cases such as incident handling, rescuing, natural disaster prevention, epidemic prevention, or special requests from a competent Vietnamese agency.

Conditions / Applicable laws
While citizens from all over the world can apply for a visa on arrival when traveling to Vietnam by air and using one of the 8 designated airports for entry and exit, there are additional conditions that you must adhere to, outlined below:

  • Foreigners coming from a country without the Vietnam Embassy/Consulate.
  • Foreigners residing in other countries and currently not present in Vietnam.
  • Foreigners with valid passports have at least 6 months of validity ahead of their intended stay in Vietnam.
  • Foreigners arriving in Vietnam by air and utilizing one of the 8 designated international airports that allow visa-on-arrival.
  • Those who are not prohibited from entering Vietnam, as specified in Article 21 of the Law on entry, exit, transit, and residence of foreigners in Vietnam.

How to apply?

To get ready for a visa on arrival, you need to prepare all the following:

  • A hard copy of a pre-approved visa letter approved by the Vietnam Immigration Department.
  • A visa application form (entry and exit declaration form) is provided by the local visa agency (Form NA1).
  • 02 photos (4x6 or 3x4, same size, white or plain background, newly taken in 6 months, straight looking, without glasses or scarf) (01 is pasted on the visa application form, 01 is used for presentation if needed).
  • A valid passport with a validity of at least 06 months beyond your stay in Vietnam.
  • Stamping fee in cash (USD 25-50 based on your visa type).

There are things you need to do in advance of your trip and while being at the arrival port to get a visa. Here are 3 steps you need to follow:

  • Step 1: Apply for a visa approval letter through a visa agency. The process may take 2 - 5 working days or just 2 - 4 working hours if you choose urgent service.
  • Step 2: Receive your visa approval letter along with the visa application form (NA1) by email. Print a hard copy for both documents. Fill up all the information required in the visa application form and prepare 02 passport-sized photos, a valid original passport, and a stamping fee in cash.
  • Step 3: At the immigration/landing visa counter at the arrival port, present all documents and things in Step 2 to get your visa stamp.

Processing time and fee
Processing time
Since the pre-approved visa letter is compulsory for a Vietnam visa on arrival, you need to estimate the time to prepare this paper in advance of your trip. The processing time for a pre-approved visa letter varies from a few hours to a few working days. The urgent visa letter just needs 2 - 4 hours while the regular one takes 2 - 5 days. After you get all the documents needed, it takes you around 15 minutes to 1 hour at the arrival port to get a visa stamped, based on the waiting line.

There are 2 fees for a visa on arrival. The fee varies on each visa agency and visa type. The shorter the time you want to take the visa approval letter, the higher the price you pay. 
Please refer to the fee for regular service in the following table:

Type of visa Service fee by agency (approx) Stamping fee by the Government
Single Entry (1 month) USD 85 USD 25
Multiple Entry (1 month) USD 85 USD 50

Important Tips for Applying for Vietnam Visa on Arrival

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your arrival date in Vietnam.
  • Double-check all the information you provide on the application form to avoid errors that could delay the processing of your visa approval letter.
  • Bring enough cash to pay for the stamping fee upon arrival. The fee varies depending on the length of your stay and the type of visa you need.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about the visa application process, don't hesitate to contact the visa agency you are working with.

In conclusion, getting a Vietnam visa on arrival is a simple and convenient way to obtain a visa for your trip to Vietnam. Just follow the steps outlined in this guide and you'll be on your way to exploring all the wonders that Vietnam has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can apply for the visa approval letter at any time convenient for you, but it should be at least 10 working days before your departure to avoid emergency fees.

Your visa approval letter becomes valid from your granted arrival date, not from your date of application or the date of issuing your letter, so no worries if you apply for it 1 or 3 months in advance.

Sure, a business visa is available through our service. Please see the Business Visa page for more information.

Please find the below for required information to process your visa on arrival and what is required at Vietnam airport.

1- To obtain an approval letter for the visa on arrival, you are required to submit the following information:

  • Your Full name – The same as on the passport
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Passport number
  • Travel dates
  • Purpose of visit Type of visa

2 – When you arrive at Vietnam airport, please present:

  • Approval letter (hard copy)
  • Two (02) passport-size photos
  • Entry/exit form
  • Original passport
  • Stamping fee (by cash)

Yes. You can apply for Vietnam visa on arrival for your whole family in one application. In case your group have more than 10 people, just let me know at [email protected]. We will get back to you to make your application process simple.

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