Visas for Saigon Vietnam

Visa on arrival entry stamp to Vietnam

Visa on arrival entry stamp to Vietnam

There was a time when obtaining a Vietnamese visa was a long and laborious process, but reflecting the country’s increased openness to foreign visitors, visas are becoming much more straightforward to obtain. The great majority of visitors obtain a 30-day visa in their own country, which is good for arrival at Hanoi, Saigon or Danang airports. If you plan to arrive via an overland border, you need to state the name of the border crossing on the application form.

Visa requirements vary according to nationality, so while Americans and Australians need to pay for any type of visa, citizens of Scandinavian countries are exempt for their first 15 days. You can apply for Vietnamese visas beforehan at a Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your country, or turn up at Ho Chi Minh Airport and pay for one on arrival--single entry visa: US$45, multiple entry: US$65.

It is also possible to arrange a visa on arrival through a travel operator based in the country. To apply online, click here and follow the instructions; there is a US$20 charge for this service. If you book a tour with a Vietnam-based operator, they will need to send a representative to the airport to meet you and complete the process.

Though 30 days seems a reasonable allowance, there’s a lot to see in Vietnam, and plenty of travellers who develop an affection for the country need to extend their 30-day visa. Fortunately this is easily done, though if you try to do it yourself, you’ll probably find there’s lots of sitting around waiting. For this reason, it’s more practical to pay a small fee to a tour agent to do it for you.

For anyone intending to settle in Vietnam, at some time they will need to change from a tourist visa to a business or student visa. This is easily done once in the country, but you’ll need to provide the authorities with appropriate support documentation.

As with all countries, visitors who overstay their visa are liable to a fine, though the Vietnamese authorities seem reluctant to state a fixed sum for this. As a result, it depends on the mood of the immigration official what you are charged. This is clearly not a good situation to be in, so the simple answer is not to allow your visa to expire in the first place.

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