What Do I Have To Know About Visas in Vietnam?

March 21 , 2021 by: Annie Tran

Chào! Are you going to Vietnam anytime soon? I understand that you are very much excited to bustle through the Instagram-worthy tourist destinations such as Ha Long Bay, the Mekong Delta, and many more. Well, worry not because this article offers you everything that you need to know about visa requirements in Vietnam. Enjoy reading!

First off, you need to know whether you will need a visa to go to Vietnam. The answer to that is- it depends. To speak, Vietnam offers visa exemptions ranging from 14 to 90 days to citizens of 24 countries holding valid ordinary passports. The table below shows the countries which are exempted for visa.


Country     Term of Residence 

Thailand         Less than 30 days

Malaysia         Less than 30 days

Singapore       Less than 30 days

Indonesia       Less than 30 days

Cambodia       Less than 30 days

Laos                 Less than 30 days

Philippines     Less than 21 days

Myanmar        Less than 14 days

Brunei             Less than 14 days

South Korea   Temporarily Suspended

Japan              Temporarily Suspended

Kyrgyzstan     Less than 30 days



Country         Term of Residence 

Russia                      Temporarily Suspended

Sweden                    Temporarily Suspended

Denmark                 Temporarily Suspended

Finland                    Temporarily Suspended

Norway                    Temporarily Suspended

United Kingdom   Temporarily Suspended

France                     Temporarily Suspended

Germany                 Temporarily Suspended

Spain                       Temporarily Suspended

Italy                         Temporarily Suspended

Belarus                    Temporarily Suspended



Country         Term of Residence 

Chile                  Less than 90 days


Important Reminders on Visa Exemption

1. As of March 21, 2020, Vietnam temporarily suspends visa exemptions for citizens from Belarus, Russia, and Japan.

2. Starting March 8, 2020 Vietnam has temporarily suspended visa exemptions for citizens of the European Union, the United Kingdom, and as well as other countries with more than 500 cases or grow more than 50 cases a day.

3. As of February 29, 2020 visa exemptions for South Koreans will be temporarily suspended until further notice, and as of March 2, 2020 visa exemptions for Italians will also be temporarily suspended.

4. The exemptions listed above for Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belarus, Finland, Japan, South Korea, and Russia are valid until Dec. 31, 2022.

5. The exemptions listed above for the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy are valid until June 30, 2021.

6. Spouses or children of Vietnamese citizens are allowed to stay in the country without a visa for six months and must show papers proving their eligibility.

General Entry Requirements of Vietnam

1. You must have a valid passport and a visa (or pre-approval for a visa on arrival) to enter Vietnam.

2. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay, and you must have at least one blank visa page.

3. Visit the Embassy of Vietnam website for the most current information thru:

4. If you arrive in Vietnam without an appropriate visa (which could be an e-visa) or pre-approval for a visa on arrival, you will be denied an entry.


General Guidelines and Reminders regarding Vietnam Visa

1. Be sure to request the visa category that corresponds to your purpose of travel.

2. Refer to Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for information detailing visa categories. You may visit their website thru:

3. If you plan to work in Vietnam, you must obtain a work permit before applying for your visa.

4. If you change the purpose of your visit after you have received your visa, you must obtain a new visa outside of Vietnam, which is appropriate for your new activities.

5. If you plan to travel from Vietnam to Laos by land, you should request that an adhesive visa be affixed to your passport, instead of a detachable one.

6. Lao immigration officials require proof that travelers have departed Vietnam, which can only be shown with an adhesive visa.

7. Vietnamese officials remove detachable visas from passports when travelers depart Vietnam, leaving travelers with no proof of their Vietnam departure. This situation can result in Lao officials requiring travelers to return to Vietnam.

8. If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen in Vietnam, you will need both a replacement passport and a replacement Vietnamese visa in order to legally remain in and depart Vietnam.

9. The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City can usually issue you a limited validity replacement passport in as little as one business day for emergency purposes.

10. The Vietnamese government requires three to five working days to issue a replacement visa.

11. The U.S. Embassy and the Consulate General cannot expedite the replacement of your Vietnamese visa.

12. The Government of Vietnam has authorized some businesses and travel agencies to arrange for pre-approval for a “visa on arrival” at the airport. The Government of Vietnam and the U.S. Department of State recommend that travelers obtain a visa directly from an embassy or consulate of Vietnam prior to arrival, to refrain from unexpected high fees and additional charges upon landing.

What are the different ways of applying for a Vietnam Visa?

1. Apply in person at the Embassy of Vietnam

2. Apply by mail to the Embassy of Vietnam at 1233 20th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036 and receive your visa by mail

3. Apply online and receive loose-leaf visa by mail

4. Apply by email and receive loose-leaf visa by mail


How long does it take to process a Vietnam Visa?

a. Standard Process: After all the required documents have been submitted, the processing time for a standard process for Vietnam visa is 3 business days


b. Expedite service: In order to avail of this service, you need to put an Expedite service or URGENT note/label on your envelope or in your application package for easier processing Additional fee is also required, but the processing time is only for 24 hours or 1 day.

Market lights, Hoi An, Vietnam by Malik on Pixabay



This visa is valid for 15-30 days, but it can be extended once you have arrived in Vietnam. In some cases, you can apply for a 3-month visa if the purpose of your entry is for tourism, and the procedure is the same with a 1-month visa. In other words, Vietnamese tourist visa’s validity can be from 15 days to 3 months.

In order to apply for a tourist visa via online and pick up your visa at the Vietnam airports, the following information is required:




i. What is an E-visa?

The E-visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days, for the purpose of tourism. It is usually processed within three working days, after the Vietnam Immigration Department receives the completed application and E-visa fee. You can enter Vietnam on an E-Visa at any of the country’s eight international airports, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, as well as 14 land crossings and seven seaports.

The following are the general guidelines for obtaining an E-visa in Vietnam:


ii. What counties are eligible for E-Visa?

Vietnam offers E-Visas to travelers from 80 countries. These are the following:

Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Chile, China (including Hong Kong and Macau passports), Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Salomon Islands, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor Leste, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, and Western Samoa.

iii. How do I apply for an E-visa in Vietnam?


1. Prepare the required documents:

2. Access this link:

3. Upon access to the website, go to ‘E-visa Issuance’ then click on the link for ‘Outside Vietnam foreigners’.

4. Upload your .jpg images (passport data page and passport photo) and fill out the required fields on the form completely. Submit your form.

5. Pay the e-Visa fee of 25 USD.

6. Copy down the document code provided.

7. Within three working days, you should receive news of your e-Visa application via email.

8. If however, you have not received any news about you e-visa application, you can also run a search for your e-Visa thru:

9. Use your document code to locate your e-Visa online.

10. Download and print the e-Visa in two copies for extra safety.

Landscape, Vietnam by ThuyHaBich on Pixabay



If you are planning for a multiple-entry visit or a stay of more than 30 days in Vietnam, you will want to apply for a visa on arrival. Here are the general important reminders:

a. Visa on arrival is applicable for air travel only. If you enter Vietnam by land or cruise, you are required to obtain a full visa before you arrive.

b. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned stay in Vietnam.

c. If you travel with children having their own passports, you are also required to pay the same fees as adults.

d. The stamping fee at Vietnam airport is payable in cash only, no credit cards are accepted.

e. There is NO OFFICIAL website for visa on arrival service. All websites offering the pre-approved visa letter are private agencies.

The following requirements need to be completed to obtain a visa on arrival:



Foreign national who is traveling to Vietnam to conduct temporary business needs to apply for a business/working visa. This business visa (Categorized under DN) is a short-stay visa, which allows its holder to enter and remain in Vietnam for a maximum period of 12 months, for the purposes of working with Vietnamese enterprises or conducting business activities. There are two options for you to get a business visa to Vietnam, that may include:

a. Visa on arrival where no sponsorship letter is required. In here, a business visa approval letter can be obtained thru:

b. E-visa (not available for business visa)

c. Visa at Vietnamese embassy abroad, wherein you have to present the sponsorship letter from your business partner in Vietnam

The following are the requirements for a Business Visa on Arrival:

Meanwhile, the processing time for the business visa range from 7 working days to more than 10 working days, from the time you file your application. Specifically, the processing time is indicated below:

a. Visa on arrival: 5-7 working days to receive the approval letter (For emergency requests, it can be processed in 2-3 working days)

b. Visa at the embassy: This may vary, so you need to contact the Embassy for the processing time.



The new Immigration Law also allows the conversion of visa types for another purpose, without having to leave Vietnam as required by the old regulation. A new visa will be granted after converting the visa application. The following cases are eligible for visa type change:



Vietnamese nationals who are residing abroad indefinitely, their spouses, and their children may apply for a Certificate of Visa Exemption. The certificate has a maximum validity of five years, during which time the holder can enter Vietnam and stay for up to six months without applying for a visa.

Moreover, the new Immigration Law adds one more case of visa exemption for foreigners entering border-gate or coastal economic zones, under the decision of the government. This type of visa exemption is valid for 30 days. The coastal zone needs to meet the following conditions:

Terraces, Mu Chang Chai Yen Bai. Photo by ThuyHaBich on Pixabay


Foreigners who want to work in Vietnam legally, have to obtain a Vietnam Work Visa in addition to a Work Permit. To apply for a Vietnam Work Visa, the application is at the nearest Vietnam Embassy or Consulate, but you may also be able to receive the visa on arrival. Note however that before you apply for the visa and go to Vietnam, you need to get a Work Permit, or at least be in the process of obtaining a Work Permit.

The Vietnam Work Visa can be issued for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or one year and for single or multiple entries. However, once you have a Work Permit, you can apply for a Temporary Residence Card, which replaces the visa.

The following conditions are needed for a Vietnam Work Visa:


i. What is a work permit, and why do I need one?

The Vietnam Work Permit allows you to legally work in Vietnam for longer than three months. Vietnam Work Permit is issued for a duration of up to 12 months and is renewable. You can apply to renew it before it expires.

ii. Where can I apply for a Vietnam Work Visa?


a. Embassy or Consulate

If you intend to apply in the embassy or consulate, your employer has to send you a Letter of Sponsorship or Letter of Entry Clearance, which they have to obtain from the Immigration Services in Vietnam. After sending you the Letter of Sponsorship, submit the said letter along with the Vietnam Work Visa application at the nearest Embassy or Consulate.

To get the Letter of Sponsorship from your employer, you need to indicate the following information:


b. Vietnam Work Visa On Arrival

Before getting the Vietnam Work Visa on arrival, you have to apply for a Letter of Approval from the Vietnamese Immigration Department. You can do so online, through one of the companies authorized by the Immigration Department of Vietnam.

Note that you can only apply for a Vietnam Work Visa On Arrival if you will enter Vietnam through one of the following ports of entry:


iii. Who will submit my work permit application?

The following are the important notes for the submission of your work permit application:

1. Your employer has to submit the application for your Work Permit at the offices of the Vietnam Ministry of Labor, Invalid and Society.

2. They must do so at least thirteen working days before you start working for them.

3. Before submitting the Vietnam Work Permit application, however, your employer has to get approval to hire foreign workers from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs or the People’s Committee where they live or operate.

4. They have to apply for approval at least 20 days before submitting the Work Permit application.

5. When your employer submits the application for a Work Permit in Vietnam, you have to prepare several documents to send to them.

6. These documents have to be notarized and legalized by the relevant bodies in your country.

7. The documents have to be translated into Vietnamese by the Justice Division of a District People’s Committee branch or notary service in Vietnam before being submitted. This includes:

a) Size: 4 cm x 6 cm

b) Photo is taken recently with White background

c) You must be centered in the picture, staring ahead with a neutral facial expression

d) If you wear headgear for religious purposes or you have a wig, you may keep it in the picture but must also be wearing on arrival

e) You must not be wearing any glasses




Note that there are people who are exempted from obtaining a work permit. They are as follows:

1. You will work in Vietnam for a period shorter than three months within one year. In this case, you can work under a Vietnam Business Visa.

2. You are a member of a limited company that hires more than one member

3. You are the owner of a limited company in Vietnam with one member

4. You are a board member in a joint-stock company

5. You are a lawyer and have received a professional permit in Vietnam by the Ministry of Justice

6. You are an internal transferee

7. You are a volunteer certified by a foreign diplomatic mission or an international organization in Vietnam

8. You will work in service sales for a foreign company in Vietnam



This is not a type of visa, but if you have a Work Permit which is valid for more than one year, you will be eligible to receive a Vietnam Temporary Residence Card (TRC).

Temporary Residence Cards are issued by the Immigration Services of Vietnam, working under the Ministry of Public Security. They can be issued for a period of one to five years, and serve as a multiple-entry permit, allowing you to leave and re-enter Vietnam without a visa for the duration that it is valid.




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