Vietnam Travel Visa Cautions

by Dwight

This information regarding Vietnam Travel Visas points out several ways that even a valid Vietnam Travel Visa may be invalidated or cause you some travel problems.  They are highlighted in red bold.  Information is courtesy of U.S. State Department. No matter what your home country is, these cautions will probably apply to you.  Other important information is highlighted in purple bold.

VIETNAM ENTRY/EXIT VISA REQUIREMENTS: You will need a valid passport, with six months remaining validity, and a Vietnamese visa or a visa exemption document, or a written approval letter for a visa upon arrival in order to enter Vietnam. You may obtain a visa or a visa exemption document from a Vietnamese embassy or consulate prior to traveling to Vietnam. To obtain a written approval letter to enter, you must contact a travel agency prior to departure. U.S. Citizens have reported unscrupulous travel agencies taking advantage of travelers and charging extremely high fees upon landing.

If you arrive without an appropriate Vietnamese visa, exemption document, or written approval for a visa upon arrival, you will not be permitted to enter and will be subject to immediate deportation. Vietnamese visas are usually valid for only one entry, unless the traveler specifically requests a multiple-entry visa, where you may be charged an increased fee. If you are planning to leave Vietnam and re-enter from another country, be sure that your visa is multiple entry. If it is only single entry, you will have to obtain another visa prior to returning to Vietnam.

Please be aware that Vietnam has two fees: 1) the visa fee and 2) the visa processing fee. The visa fees are posted on the website, but U.S. Embassy and Consulate officials have received reports of processing fees varying from one applicant to another and from one issuing entity to another. We have brought this concern to the attention of Vietnamese officials, but the problem persists.

If you plan to travel to Laos by land, you must obtain the type of Vietnamese visa that adheres to the passport. Laos immigration requires proof that travelers have departed Vietnam, something that can only be shown with an adhesive visa. Vietnamese officials remove detachable visas from the passports of travelers when they depart Vietnam, leaving travelers with no proof of their recent Vietnam departure. This situation can result in Laos officials requiring the traveler to return to Vietnam. (CLICK HERE TO SEE EXAMPLE OF ADHESIVE VISA)

Even if you have a valid visa, you may be refused entry to Vietnam. We caution you that Vietnamese immigration regulations require foreigners entering Vietnam to undertake only the activity for which their visas were issued. If you change the purpose of your visit, you must get permission to do so in advance from the appropriate Vietnamese authority. (Note: An example of this is if you apply for a tourist visa and you arrive in Vietnam with a large amount of what could be seen as  “commercial material” in your baggage, this could be seen as a change of “activity” from tourist to business person by Vietnamese Customs and Immigration authorities.) If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen in Vietnam, you must obtain both a replacement passport and a replacement Vietnamese visa. If you have an emergency, the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General can issue you a limited validity replacement passport in as little as one day; however, the Vietnamese government requires three to five working days, in addition to the day of application, to issue a replacement visa. Neither the U.S. Embassy nor the Consulate General can expedite replacement Vietnamese visas.

Visit the Vietnamese Embassy’s website in USA for the most current visa information.

 

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