Vietnam is a wonderful country with rich culture, amazing food and diverse views. But often tourists who wish to pay a visit are scared away by how expensive and troublesome it is to get a visa into the country. It costs almost HK$400 for a one-month single-entry visa and the Vietnam consulate-general also doesn’t offer any online application/reservation services – at least for the one in Hong Kong. Here in the post we will tell you the cheapest and easiest way to get a travel visa into the country – getting visa on arrival. For visa requirement and other ways to get a visa in Hong Kong, check out another one of our post here.
Basically, visa on arrival allows you to get a visa electronically through local visa agency without having to make a trip to the Vietnam Embassy to collect the visa sticker. This way, it only costs as cheap as US$25 + VOA service fee (approx HK$200) to get a visa into Vietnam, a significant improvement from other options.
However, this service is only available for entry via air. So it’ll be Hanoi airport, Danang airport or Ho Chi Minh city airport. Let’s hope they expand this service to other ports soon.
Here are the procedures:
- Find an agency that offers this service
There are tons of agencies online with different service charges. Just find one that you can trust. We chose Vietnam-visa and they’re reliable. Single tourist visa starts at $21 US.
- Fill in the online application form
Fill in details of the traveler(s) and the trip.
A gentle reminder: you can enter Vietnam later, but not earlier than the arrival date you supplied to the agency.
- Pay service charge
The service charge depends on the type of visa you are applying for. The most common visa – one-month single-entry visa will charge US$21 (HK$164) service fees if you are applying through Vietnam-Visa.Payment can be made online by Visa, Mastercard, Diner Club Card, JCB Card and American Express.
- Get “Visa Approval Letter” through email
Depending on the urgency of getting a visa, you can choose different processing time with extra charges for faster application. But normally you will get a visa approval letter like the one below through email within 2 working days. I got the letter the night I applied through the agency.
- Print out and Complete “Entry and Exit Form”
Print out an entry and exit form and complete it to save the time of completing it at the airport. Only the latest version of the form would work, so make sure you have the latest one.
- Pick up when you arrival at Vietnam
Print and bring your approval letter, completed entry and exit form, along with two 4cm X 6cm passport photos. Hand the documents to the airport’s visa on arrival desk, wait and pick up your passport when they call your name. The visa desk should look like this:
Lines can get long especially during holiday seasons, so be prepare to wait. And there is always a risk of being rejected a visa. But such occasions are rare, and you can judge yourself whether saving some money is worth the risk. The stamp fee depends on the type of visa you are getting, and you can pay with US or Vietnam currency. Here are the prices if you are using the agency I used:
Stamping fee is what you’d pay to the Vietnam government when you arrive at the airport. Bring cash USD!