Vietland Holidays' visa on arrival - Certain Vietnam International Airports Only

If you are going to Vietnam on an international flight landing at either Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang or Nha Trang airport, a legitimate alternative to obtaining a full visa stamp from the Vietnamese Embassy in your own or another country, is to opt for a very simple and much cheaper, visa on arrival (VOA). Once issued, this visa is exactly the same as a visa issued by any Vietnamese embassy/consulate, with the same limitations and conditions attached to its use. Do you know that only licensed inbound tour operator managed by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism can help you getting this type of visa on arrival.

The madatory step to obtain this type of visa is that you need to have a letter of visa appproval, once you have it in your hand you are required to present it at the VOA counter to get a visa on arrival. Upon payment of a visa processing fee at the airport (25 USD for one-month and three-month single entry visas, $50 for one-month and three-month multiple entry visas) you will receive your passport back with an official visa affixed. The fees charged may range from $9 upwards, depending on the type of visa mentioned above. You are aware that three-month multiple entry visas are sometimes subject to restrictions so before finalising your plans in respect of entry to and exit from Vietnam it would be prudent to check whether you can obtain a visa for the required dates.

One disadvantage of the VOA system is that the process at the airport can be slow due to administrative procedures or overloading. HCMC airport (Tan Son Nhat) in particular, where things can become chaotic if people do not follow an orderly queue. HCMC airport is Vietnam's busiest and handles far more traffic than the other two airports. In the high season, it is common to have to wait for an hour or two if you are stuck behind a large tour group. In Hanoi and Da Nang, and even in HCMC in the low season and during quiet times of the day, it can take less than 15 minutes to get your visa and pass through immigration - indeed you are likely to arrive at the baggage belt before your bags do.

How to obtain your letter of approval with us. Applying for a VOA letter of approval with VIETLAND HOLIDAYS is easy, you will be needed to provide us with the following details:

1.  Your full name (it is required to be the same as shown on your passport)
2.  Gender
3.  Present nationality
4.  Date of birth
5.  Passport number
7.  Passport expiry date
8.  Proposed date of arrival (this is the date you want your visa to start from. The start date of the visa itself will be the day you arrive - you may enter Vietnam at a later date - up to your exit date - but not before that date, so be sure to take time zone differences into account)
9.  Airport of arrival
10. Purpose of visit
11. Type of Vietnam tourist visa: 1 or 3-month single/multiple entry visa.

If you have children travelling with you and they have their own passports, you will be required to apply and pay the same fees as if they were an adult.

After filling in all required information online or following confirmation by email you will be directed to send us the fee. In two days or three days VIETLAND HOLIDAYS will inform you the approval letter from Vietnam Immigration. Don't be alarmed if there are other people's names on the letter, together with their nationalities, dates of birth and passport numbers, but if you are concerned about privacy or security you should instead consider applying to an embassy/consulate for your visa. Alternatively you can ask VIETLAND HOLIDAYS for a private approval letter that bears only your name, and if applicable the names of family members or friends who are travelling with you.

Please make sure that your surname, given names and entry/exit dates are correct. If you have applied for a multiple entry visa be sure that the approval letter states 'Is permitted to enter and exit Vietnam multiple times'. You will not be allowed to enter Vietnam before the entry date shown. The approval letter is valid at any of the named airports but cannot be used at any land border crossing. If entering via a land crossing you must already be in possession of a valid visa. However do note that if you obtained your visa with a multiple-entry approval letter, you only need to enter via airport for the 1st time in which you got your visa stampped; you could go any way you like for subsequent visits.

Print the entire approval letter (colour preferred but not essential) and don't forget to take it with you! Some airlines will ask to see the letter before they allow you to check in or board the aircraft and you will need it at the VOA desk when you arrive at the airport in Vietnam. It is recommended that you fill in the form in advance (ignore the instructions about printing out two copies - only ONE is needed, irrespective of whether you're applying for a single entry or multiple entry visa). Should you be unsure about what information is required in some of the sections of the downloaded form, please ask VIETLAND HOLIDAYS everything before deciding. 

Airport Visa Procedure and Payment Process (Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang, Cam Ranh [Nha Trang]). 

VOAs are handled by Department of Immigration staff at the airports and if the airport is operating, so is the VOA office. It is absolutely vital that you have your visa processing fee(s) on you, in cash as the authorities do not accept credit or debit cards. Unless you can pay in cash you won't be allowed into the country and you could end up having a wonderful holiday camped on the wrong side of the barrier until your return flight leaves. If you have a bank card an immigration officer might offer to escort you to an ATM landside to withdraw some money. They have been known to accept payment in currencies other than U S dollars but are not obligated to do so and therefore it should not be counted on. Recently an ATM has been installed at Tan Son Nhat Airport (HCMC) adjacent to the landing visa counter. While this might be of help to those arriving without cash, it is still advisable to bring the amount required. ATMs do break down or run out of cash and the inevitable lack of clarity regarding the dong/ U.S. dollar exchange rate applied at the landing visa counter (the ATM issues dong), plus additional card charges, means it should be thought of as the method of last resort. As well as the approval letter, fee and Form you will need ONE passport-sized photo.

At Ho Chi Minh City (Tan Son Nhat International Airport) the VOA window is situated at the far end on the left as you enter the immigration hall. Do not join any queues for Immigration Control. The counter itself is sign-posted - LANDING VISA.  When you get to the Landing Visa (VOA) window, be prepared to hand over your passport, ONE completed copy of Form NA1, the entire letter of approval and ONE passport size photo (the officer will staple your photo to the form if not already attached). You should then go and sit down. Even with few people being processed do not expect passports (with the visa attached) to be returned in the order that they were presented at the window.

When your visa is ready, your name will be called (do keep your ears open) and at the same time your passport held up to the window with the photo page showing. You then pay the processing fee  - U S$25 for single entry visas (one and three months); $50 for multiple entry visas (one and three months). The notes should be in good condition (no marks, nicks or tears) but it is not necessary for them to be brand new. Once you have paid, your passport will be returned to you, along with a receipt for your payment. Be sure to check the newly issued visa for any errors while still at the window. You then go to an immigration control post to be processed in the normal way. Baggage reclaim and Customs are downstairs.

At Hanoi (Noi Bai International Airport) the VOA procedure has changed with the opening in January 2015 of the new international terminal. The VOA counter is situated opposite the immigration posts - the signage can be difficult to see if there are lots of people milling about. You must hand in your passport and documents at THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE. Then proceed to the left-hand side (or if busy, take a seat) to wait while your application is processed. There is large-screen display to the left of the counter, and when your visa is ready your passport photo, name and country will be shown and your name read out. At this point you pay. If you are processing multiple passports you will receive one pink receipt for all of them. Your visa(s) will have been affixed to a page your passport(s) and should be checked for errors while you are still at the counter. You can then proceed to the 'Foreigners' immigration queue. The entire process can take as little as 10 minutes or as much as an hour if there at lots of applicants and/or other flights have arrived at more or less the same time so the queues for immigration are long.

At Da Nang follow the exit signs. As soon as you enter the huge hall it is very easy to find the VOA window - it is on the left hand side and is clearly visible. The process is reasonably quick (approximately 15 minutes with all necessary paperwork completed before landing) but do bear in mind there is no guarantee it will be always be the same. After receiving visas / passports back, progress onwards to immigration control. Immigration Control can be slow, sometimes 3 or 4 long lines. Everyone queues up together going through the same check-points and there are no separate checkpoints for Vietnamese passengers and other nationalities.

Citizens of some countries do not need a visa for short visits - for how this might affect your travel arrangements and the documents you will require, check with US or with a Vietnamese Consulate/Embassy in your own country.

If you are travelling direct to Phu Quoc Island and remaining there for the duration of your trip you do not need a visa. However, if you will be going to mainland Vietnam afterwards you must obtain a visa beforehand.

Extending a visa is no longer the simple process it once was. The rules have changed somewhat, so if you are thinking about extending your stay it would be wise to make enquiries in good time. It is certainly not something that should be left to the last minute.


(Updated by VIETLAND HOLIDAYS on 07 May 2017).