At the moment, there are two types of visas for foreign visitors who wish to travel to Vietnam: the E-Visa and the visa-on-arrival. In order to obtain either one you are required to have a valid passport. Note that citizens of most countries do need to obtain a visa to visit Vietnam and should have one before boarding the plane.
Pros and Cons of the Vietnam E-Visa
One of the main advantages of the Vietnam E-Visa is that you can complete an online form with all of your personal and travel details. The Vietnam E-Visa application must be done online and all you need is Internet connection and a tablet, mobile or computer.
If you complete the online E-Visa form for Vietnam you do not need to pay a stamp fee upon arrival at the airport. Most applications are processed within 3 business days.
Once approved, the Vietnam E-Visa will have a 30-day validity to travel within the country. You will be able to use the electronic visa to enter Vietnam through 28 different ports of entry.
However, some of the disadvantages of an E-Visa for Vietnam are that only 81 countries are eligible to get it. An online visa is non-extendable and it is a single entry visa with purpose of travelling only. Travelers should also consider that if the application is denied, they cannot obtain a refund from the government of Vietnam.
When the E-Visa is approved, you should print a copy to present at the airport. With your electronic visa you can skip the visa on arrival line and head straight to border control where the immigration officers will stamp your passport.
Pros and Cons of the Visa-on-Arrival
The visa-on-arrival has certain advantages worth considering. It is available to all travelers, many types of purpose and there are types of duration available. Travelers can choose between a 30-day stay or a 60-day stay, single or multiple entry. American citizens can request a one-year stay visa upon arrival in Vietnam. The processing time takes up to two working days and the visa can be extended.
However, there are some negative aspects about the Vietnam visa on arrival. The total price of this type of visa is unclear. The visa-on-arrival requires more paperwork than the electronic visa.
There are a few things you need to know before you apply for a visa-on-arrival. You will need to print the Approval Letter and prepare two photos of yourself. Upon arrival you should present the Approval Letter and the photos at the immigration office located at the airport before getting in the regular immigration line.
You will need to pay an additional “stamping fee” at the airport, besides the fee of the visa. This fee must be paid in cash, and you can use USD or Vietnamese Dong. ATMS are outside the Customs area and you will not be able to take out money to pay for the fee.