Visas for Vietnam

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Getting a visa for VietnamAll visitors to Vietnam from countries not listed as a visa-waiver country will need a visa to enter Vietnam. The countries on this list include Japan, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Singapore and the Philippines, among others. Citizens from these countries are able to stay in the country for between 14 days and one month, depending on the country, if carrying a passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry.

Citizens from most countries in the world, including the US, the UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and Canada, will need to apply for a visa to enter the country. A tourist visa is normally valid for one month, although it is also possible to apply for a three-month multiple-entry visa for Vietnam.

Like the work permit application process, getting a visa for Vietnam seems simple on the surface but can turn out to be a stressful process involving lots of paperwork and expense, and be subject to the whims of immigration officials following unclear immigration policies. It is not uncommon to be turned away at an immigration check point in Vietnam for appearing unshaven or too scruffy, so make sure you are looking respectable when you arrive to avoid any inconvenience.

Entry visa for Vietnam

Those who need a visa to enter Vietnam can apply for one at their nearest Vietnamese embassy or consulate, either in person or by post. For a tourist or business visa, you will need the following:
  • A passport valid for six months beyond the date of entry
  • Completed application form with one recent passport photo attached
  • Application fee
  • If applying by post, a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of your passport.
You can download application forms from your local Vietnam embassy web site or collect them in person from the embassy. The embassy may request additional documentation such as a letter from an employer, letter of invitation, residence permits and so on depending on what visa you apply for. For example, if you apply for a business visa you will be asked to provide additional documentation. You should wait for the embassy to request these documents before you send them.

Online entry visa for Vietnam

Some travel companies advertise that all travellers arriving at an airport in Vietnam can apply online for a pre-approved visa on arrival. These companies ask you to fill out a form online and pay a fee, and then issue you with an official letter to show immigration officials at the airport when you arrive in Vietnam. Getting a visa online is often cheaper and more efficient than getting a visa yourself through an embassy. However, although there are hundreds of legitimate visa companies operating, note that there are some bogus companies that issue fake letters that are not valid travel documents. Even legitimate documents are sometimes not accepted by immigration officials. It is therefore recommended that you obtain a proper visa for Vietnam from your local embassy before travelling to the country.

Student visa for Vietnam

It is relatively easy to get a student visa for Vietnam, because you can apply for one after you arrive in the country on a tourist visa. You will need to enrol in a course (for example, a Vietnam language course) at a school or university (not with a private tutor), and get formal documentation from the school showing that you are enrolled and detailing how long the course is. You can then apply to have your visa status changed from within Vietnam at an Immigration Department office. You will need to provide your passport, two passport photos, proof from the school that you are enrolled and an application fee, along with a completed application form, which you can download from the Vietnam Immigration Department’s web site (

Residence visa for Vietnam

Those who wish to live and work in Vietnam beyond the maximum length of stay granted by their entry visa will need to apply from within Vietnam for an extension of stay and a change of their visa status. You can download the relevant forms from the Vietnam Immigration Department’s web site ( and submit your application at an Immigration Department office in Vietnam. You will need to find a Vietnamese employer to sponsor your application.

It is therefore possible to arrive in Vietnam on a tourist visa, find a job, and change your residence status from within Vietnam.

Australian International School (AIS)

The American School of Vietnam

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