Vietnam is a favorite destination for Americans, drawn by its unique culture, breathtaking landscapes, compelling history, and delicious cuisine. Cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh Teem with vibrant energy, while serene natural settings, such as Ha Long Bay and the Mekong Delta, offer tranquility. In 2019, the country welcomed over 687,000 American tourists, a number expected to grow.
When it comes to visa options, three major types exist: a traditional embassy-issued visa, an electronic visa, and a visa approval letter, which can be applied for online. This Visa on Arrival method simplifies the process, allowing travelers to exchange the approval letter for a visa at Vietnamese airports, ensuring a smooth entry into the country.
At present, Americans can apply for a Vietnam electronic travel authorization through the official website for short-term visits that do not exceed 30 days for tourism. They can also apply for a regular Vietnamese tourist visa from the country’s embassy in the US. The tourist visa permits them to stay longer (up to three months). They are also eligible to get a visa approval letter that can be converted to a tourist visa at the port of entry in Vietnam. However, this service is temporarily unavailable. American tourists are encouraged to check the Vietnamese embassy before planning a trip to the country. It is essential to have a valid passport along with the relevant visa or pre-approval for a visa on arrival, as per Vietnamese entry requirements.
Those considering employment in Vietnam must secure a work permit before visa application. Any changes to the visit’s purpose after visa receipt require obtaining a new visa suitable for the revised activities from outside Vietnam. Local immigration law stipulates that employment-based visas are tied to specific employer petitions, limiting job-switching possibilities without acquiring a new visa. Moreover, employers can potentially hinder the departure of contract-violating employees from Vietnam. It is vital to thoroughly understand employment contracts and visa conditions before accepting a job in Vietnam. They are also eligible for long-term business, study, and investor visas.
It is worth noting that the country mandates a valid visa, residence card, or Immigration Department approval for exiting the country. Fines or replacement fees are imposed for lost/stolen visas or visa overstays. With recent hikes in visa overstay penalties, fines can be substantial. Overstay-related exit visa processing can take up to two weeks, reinforcing the importance of timely and accurate visa management.
For American travelers planning a trip to Vietnam, obtaining a pre-approval for a Visa on Arrival is a convenient online process. This digital alternative is preferred by many for its ease and accessibility. Four primary tourist visa options are available to Americans, catering to varying travel plans: a one-month single-entry visa, a one-month multiple-entry visa, a three-month single-entry visa, and a three-month multiple-entry visa.
The fees for a pre-approval letter for Americans, an essential component of the ’Visa on Arrival’ process, range from 17 USD to 65 USD. The fee increases relative to the visa’s duration and flexibility. The pre-approval letter can be converted into a visa upon their arrival at a Vietnamese port of entry.
One important prerequisite for this process is that the passport must have a validity that extends six months beyond the intended stay in Vietnam. Additionally, the passport must also have at least one blank page reserved for the visa stamp. Note that this visa option is temporarily unavailable for US citizens. They must contact the Vietnamese embassy to know the latest developments with regard to the Vietnamese visa on arrival.
The Vietnamese eVisa program is a highly convenient option available to American passport holders. This process is essentially a digital platform to secure a visa for Vietnam, simplifying the procedure immensely. To apply, travelers need to visit the official eVisa website. Once on the site, they must fill out the online application form. On this form, personal details and passport information need to be accurately filled out. In addition to the details, the platform requires the upload of a recent passport-style photo and a scanned copy of the biographical page of the applicant’s passport. Ensuring these uploads are clear and legible is crucial for the successful processing of the eVisa.
Upon the completion of the form and the necessary uploads, the next step is to pay the eVisa fee. The processing time is usually between three to five working days. An eVisa is typically processed within three business days upon receipt of the completed application and the eVisa fee by the Vietnam Immigration Department. It’s crucial for eVisa holders to present the printed eVisa along with their valid passports when entering at the designated port.
This seamless and efficient eVisa process has made it even easier for Americans to plan their trip to Vietnam.
For US citizens looking to tap into the business and investment landscape of Vietnam, the Vietnamese Investor Visa offers a fitting solution. This specific visa, known as the DT visa, is designed for foreign investors and lawyers collaborating with Vietnamese firms. Investor Visa eligibility for American citizens involves either holding a stake in a Vietnamese business, with a minimum capital contribution specified by Vietnamese immigration regulations, or being a legal representative of a foreign entity investing in Vietnam.
There are four types of Vietnam Investor Visas. DT1 Visa is for foreign investors with a capital contribution exceeding 100 billion VND in Vietnam, whereas DT2 Visa is designed for foreigners who can contribute 50 to under 100 billion VND. DT3 Visa is granted to investors with a capital contribution ranging from 3 to under 50 billion VND, and DT4 Visa is designed for investors who can contribute less than 3 billion VND in Vietnam.
The application for this visa involves submitting a form to a Vietnamese embassy. The necessary documentation includes a valid passport, a business registration certificate or investment license, and evidence of capital investment. Once granted, the investor visa not only permits US citizens to live in Vietnam during the visa period but also allows them to actively participate in Vietnam’s burgeoning economy.
Securing a Vietnamese visa at an embassy, while slightly more complicated and costlier, is essential for those planning to travel to Vietnam by bus or train from another country. It’s important to ensure that the passport has at least six months of validity from the intended arrival date in Vietnam and has an empty page for stamping.
To obtain a Vietnamese visa from an embassy prior to travel, applicants need to submit their passports and applications either by mail or in person. The application form requires essential details such as the full name, date of birth, nationality, passport number, passport photos, and the intended date of arrival. Visa applications can be personally submitted at the Embassy of Vietnam, located at 1233 20th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036. The embassy welcomes walk-ins from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 02:00 PM to 04:30 PM, Monday to Friday, barring holidays. No prior appointments are necessary.
Within a few weeks of submitting the request, applicants can revisit the embassy to collect their passports with stamped visas. It’s important to scrutinize all personal information printed on the visa immediately upon receipt. Any discrepancies should be reported to the embassy without delay for necessary corrections or adjustments, although fees may apply for amending visas due to applicants’ inadvertent errors.
Group travelers can make a combined payment via a single money order or check. All applications from a group can be dispatched in one envelope, and the visas will be returned in a single envelope as well.
The visa exemption, or more specifically, the five-year visa exemption, presents a special provision granted by Vietnamese authorities to US citizens who have a guarantor based in Vietnam. The guarantor and the US citizen must provide evidence of their familial relationship through relevant documentation to apply for this 5-year visa exemption.
Eligibility for this visa exemption is determined by several conditions. First, the US citizen’s passport or international travel document must maintain validity for at least a year. Second, the guarantor in Vietnam, who is usually a spouse or child, should be able to substantiate the family relationship through appropriate documents as per Vietnamese law. Examples of such documents include marriage or birth certificates. Lastly, the applicant should not fall under any cases of entry denial or exit suspension as described in the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit, and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam.
A certified copy of the original certificates should be submitted, or the original can be attached for comparison. This visa exemption provides an alternative entry route for US citizens with family ties to Vietnam.
Vietnamese citizens who were born and currently reside in the United States can secure a 5-year visa exemption. To apply for this, the following documents are required: An application form for visa exemption for foreign nationals needs to be filled out. Along with the form, two 4x6 portrait photographs with a white background are required, one of which should be attached to the application form and the other kept separately. Furthermore, a US passport or any valid international travel documents issued by a competent foreign authority, which has at least one year of validity, should be presented.
If available, supporting documents that establish the eligibility for a visa exemption should be included. These might consist of a Certificate of Vietnamese nationality, a Decision on the resumption or renunciation of Vietnamese nationality, or a Confirmation of renunciation of Vietnamese nationality, all of which should be either certified copies or extracts.
In addition, valid or expired Vietnamese passports or ID cards, birth certificates issued by competent authorities in Vietnam, original household registration books issued by competent authorities in Vietnam, travel permits or ID cards issued before 1975, or certified copies of birth certificates issued before 1975 can be presented as supporting documentation. This comprehensive set of documents allows Vietnamese nationals living in the US to obtain a 5-year visa exemption.
For US citizens seeking to travel to Vietnam, understanding the visa fee structure is essential. The ’Visa on Arrival’ option includes two distinct fees. First, there’s a service fee associated with obtaining the Vietnam visa approval letter, which varies based on the specific type of visa applied for and the chosen processing time.
Second, upon arrival at a Vietnamese international airport, a stamping fee is levied to get the visa stamped onto the passport. For a single-entry visa of one to three months, the stamping fee is USD 25. For a multiple-entry visa of one to three months, the fee increases to USD 50. For a multiple-entry visa that lasts for one year, the fee is set at USD 135.
In contrast, the eVisa system has a straightforward fee structure. This fee is non-refundable and must be paid online via credit card during the application process. Thus, the visa cost for US citizens largely depends on the visa type and the preferred mode of application.
In the unfortunate event that an American’s passport is lost or stolen in Vietnam, both a replacement passport and a new Vietnamese visa are necessary to remain in the country legally or to depart. Emergency replacement passports can typically be issued by the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City within one business day. However, acquiring a replacement visa from the Vietnamese government can take three to five working days.
For lost or stolen passports, a police report is required by the immigration officials. This report must be filed in the location where the passport was lost or stolen; otherwise, the authorities may refuse to accept it. Neither the U.S. Embassy nor the Consulate General has the authority to expedite the replacement of a Vietnamese visa.
American travelers planning to move from Vietnam to Laos by land should ask for an adhesive visa as opposed to a detachable one. This is crucial because Lao immigration officials need proof that travelers have exited Vietnam, something only possible with an adhesive visa. Detachable visas are removed by Vietnamese officials when travelers leave the country, leaving travelers without proof of their departure from Vietnam. Without this, Lao officials may require travelers to return to Vietnam.
The allure of Vietnam captivated over 3.36 million international visitors in 2022, with 388,873 hailing from the Americas, including North, Central, and South. Notably, the United States was a significant contributor, with over 215,000 Americans exploring Vietnam, ranking second only to South Korea in the volume of tourists.
Imbued with a rich cultural tapestry, Vietnam is a nascent nation dynamically adapting to a rapidly evolving world. For the intrepid American traveler, the frenetic energy of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City proves irresistible. These metropolises, with their labyrinthine streets, bustling markets, antiquated colonial buildings, and ancient temples, offer a tangible sense of Vietnam’s complex history and vibrant present.
Beyond the urban jungles, the bucolic beauty of Vietnam’s countryside beckons. From the verdant rice terraces sculpting the rolling hills of Sa Pa to the quaint villages and secluded pagodas nestled in Ninh Binh province, Vietnam abounds with scenes of rustic charm. Whether it’s the rich cultural heritage or the stunning natural beauty, Vietnam continues to draw American visitors in increasing numbers.
Navigating Vietnam’s visa process can seem complex, but with careful consideration of the available options, American travelers can find the most suitable method. From online eVisas and Visa on Arrival to embassy-issued visas and investor visas, numerous options cater to different visitation intents.
With mandatory visa or residence card requirements for entry and exit, compliance with Vietnamese immigration regulations is vital. As Vietnam continues to captivate American tourists with its cultural richness and natural beauty, understanding its visa procedures remains an essential step in planning an unforgettable journey.