Visiting a country without the need for a visa is always very popular with tourists. Vietnam has been applying the visa-free policy for tourists for several years.
A stay of less than 15 days in Vietnam as a tourist does not require a visa. So who doesn’t need a visa to go to Vietnam? This article explains all about the Vietnam visa exemption & Vietnamese visa formalities.
1. Who can travel to Vietnam without a visa?
If you are planning to visit Vietnam as a tourist, it is possible to benefit from a visa waiver and therefore stay up to a maximum of 15 days (including entry and exit days) without a visa. You will automatically be eligible for visa exemption and you will not have to do anything if you have a passport from one of the following countries:
- France, Germany, It e, UK, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and Belarus
Important note: The extension of the visa exemption from 15 to 30 days for tourists of eligible nationalities has been proposed to the government and is pending confirmation in 2023.
However, a visa is required for those staying longer than 15 days. There are 3 options for obtaining a visa:
- Classic visa provided by the Vietnamese Embassy (or Consulate) in your country
- E-visa issued online on the Vietnamese immigration website (for a stay between 15 and 30 days)
- Visa on arrival (for a stay of 1 to 3 months with single or multiple entry)
We advise you to opt for the E-visa or the visa on arrival as they are easier to obtain and cheaper.
2. How do I qualify for the Vietnam visa waiver?
If you are eligible for Vietnam visa waiver, you are not required to do anything beforehand, including filling in a Vietnam visa waiver form. Just make sure you are up to date:
- Your passport must still be valid for at least 6 months when you enter Vietnam.
- Your passport must have at least 02 blank pages.
- A return air ticket reservation.
Those entering Vietnam under visa exemption will get the following exemption stamp on their passport:
3. Can the visa waiver for Vietnam be extended?
Before Covid, the Vietnam visa exemption could be extended. Currently, this cannot be done. Those who wish to stay in Vietnam after the end of the exemption period must leave Vietnam for a neighbouring country (such as Thailand, Cambodia or Laos) and return with a new visa exemption.
Previously, it was necessary to wait 30 days between two visa-free stays in Vietnam, however this constraint has been lifted since 2022. For eligible nationalities, it is possible to make several visits to Vietnam of less than 15 days, even close together.
Be careful not to exceed your 15-day stay! Otherwise, you risk a fine of $25 per day of delay. In addition, those who overstay a visa in Vietnam may be blacklisted and warned by the Vietnam Immigration Department.
4. Phu Quoc Island visa exemption for stays of less than 30 days
Phu Quoc is an island with beautiful beaches in the southernmost part of the country in the Gulf of Thailand. The island is a favourite place for beach goers from the region and also from Europe. Visa exemption on this island has been in place since then.
Foreign visitors do not need a Vietnamese visa if they stay in Phu Quoc for up to 30 days. If you wish to enter Phu Quoc without a visa, you must meet the following conditions:
- Your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of arrival in Phu Quoc.
- You must fly from an international country to Phu Quoc via Phu Quoc International Airport. This applies to direct and stopover flights, where your final destination is Phu Quoc. If you make a stopover at other international airports in Vietnam before arriving in Phu Quoc, you are still eligible.
- Your stay on the island must be less than 30 days. You must provide proof (return air ticket, cruise ship departure date, etc.) that you will be leaving Phu Quoc Island for another country outside Vietnam after 30 days.
- You are travelling to Phu Quoc by sea (boat or cruise) or by air (plane), not by land.
If you plan to visit other destinations in Vietnam after Phu Quoc or if you wish to stay longer than 30 days, a visa for Vietnam is required.
5. Vietnam visa exemption (5-year visa)
The 5-year visa exemption for Vietnam is eligible for Vietnamese nationals living abroad, foreign nationals of Vietnamese origin, spouses/children of Vietnamese nationals or foreigners of Vietnamese origin. Follow these steps below to obtain a 5-year visa exemption for Vietnam:
I. Prepare these documents
– 01 Vietnam 5-year visa waiver application form (Fill in form NA09)
– Foreign passport or document in lieu of passport with validity of at least 6 months from the date of entry into Vietnam and a copy of this document for records;
– 02 4×6 cm passport photos (01 of which must be affixed to the paper form)
– An authenticated copy of the original documents or attached to the original documents for reference of one of the following documents:
For Vietnamese nationals living abroad, foreign nationals of Vietnamese origin
Certificate of Vietnamese nationality
The decision to renounce Vietnamese nationality
Certificate of loss of Vietnamese nationality
Vietnamese passport (valid or invalid)
Identity card (valid or invalid)
Family record book
For spouses/children of Vietnamese or foreign nationals of Vietnamese origin
Certificate of relationship with father, mother, children
II. Submit the above prepared documents to the granting authority
Vietnamese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad
Vietnam Immigration Department (if you are in Vietnam).
II. Receive your original passport and the 5-year visa exemption certificate
No visa is required to travel to Vietnam within 05 years. Holders of a Vietnam 5 year visa waiver certificate are allowed to stay in Vietnam for a maximum of 180 days for each visit.
If they want to stay longer than 180 days without leaving the country, they can extend their visa to Vietnam. The extended period can be up to 6 months.
6. Work visa and work permit exemption
As a foreign national, you must apply for a work visa in Vietnam at the nearest Vietnamese embassy or consulate. However, before you apply for the visa and go to work in Vietnam, your Vietnamese company employer will need to obtain a Vietnam work permit on your behalf.
The work permit allows you to work legally in Vietnam for more than three months. However, not everyone who will be employed in Vietnam needs to obtain one. You may be eligible for a Vietnam work permit exemption if you are:
- An owner or contributor to the capital of a limited liability company whose capital contribution value complies with government regulations
- Chairman of the board of directors or member of the board of directors of a joint stock company with capital contribution value subject to government regulation
- Heads of representative offices, heads of project offices or a person working for a foreign non-governmental organisation in Vietnam
- Working in Vietnam for less than three months
- Coming to Vietnam for less than three months to solve an emergency or technologically complex situation that could affect production, which Vietnamese or foreign experts currently in Vietnam are not able to solve
- Lawyers holding a professional card in Vietnam
- Cases under the provisions of an international treaty to which Vietnam is a signatory
- Foreigners who marry Vietnamese and live in Vietnam
- Other special cases authorised by the government.
Vietnam visa formalities
Do I need a visa to go to Vietnam? How do I get a visa? Who is exempt from the visa and for how many days? These are questions that travellers often ask when preparing their trip to Vietnam. Discover with us in this article all you need to know about Vietnamese visas: how to get a visa, what are the steps to follow, how much it costs….
Foreign visitors must have a visa to enter Vietnam, except for citizens of certain countries (see visa exemption). The visa can be issued :
- Either by foreign missions of Vietnam in your country of residence (Embassy, Consulate or equivalent service)
- On the Vietnamese immigration website (E-visa)
- Directly on arrival at an international airport in Vietnam (Visa on Arrival).
Below are explanations of each type of visa. But first, you should note that whatever the duration and whatever the type of visa, your passport must be valid for 6 months after the expiry date of your visa (6 months after your return date).
1. Classic” visa requested at the Embassy before your departure
This is a classic formula that travellers often did in the past. If you opt for this visa, check with the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence. The required documents are:
- The NA1 visa application form (to be downloaded from the Embassy website) duly filled in
- 2 passport photos, one of which must be affixed to the form
- The original passport
Payment for the visa (in cash, by credit card or by cheque). The payment will be made in the currency of your country (euro, dollar…).
The processing time varies from 1 to 2 weeks depending on the time of year and the visa will be issued for a specific date (the date you indicate in the form). In other words, it is impossible to enter Vietnam before this date. However, you can arrive after this date. This type of classic visa is quite complicated because the procedure is long and expensive.
2. Electronic Visa (E-VISA)
Implemented since 2017, the electronic visa is issued to citizens of 80 countries around the world. As the name suggests, this option will allow you to obtain a Vietnamese visa directly online. You will need to go to the Vietnamese Immigration website (a department of the National Police that manages the entry and exit of foreign visitors). Here is its official website: Vietnamese Immigration
All you have to do is fill in a form with your details, a recent photo and scan the main pages of your passport. You will also need to pay a 25 USD fee online by credit card. The processing time for your application is 3 to 5 working days. You will be able to track the status of your application on the website. Once approved, Immigration will send you a “provisional” visa by email. You must print this visa to board your international flight to Vietnam. On arrival, you will hand it to the official in charge. After verification, he will affix your visa to your passport.
Please note that the E-visa is only valid for a maximum of 30 days. It is a single-entry visa and is valid at customs at international airports in Vietnam and at land/sea border posts.
3. Visa on arrival
Visa on arrival means that your visa will be ready on arrival at the airport and you do not need to do anything at the Vietnamese Embassy at home.
For this type of visa, you need a letter of invitation (or prior authorisation) from a travel agency such as ours (Vietnam Discovery). The latter is in charge of all the administrative procedures to obtain your visa. All you have to do is send the agency a scan of your passport. Then, they ask the Vietnamese Immigration Service for a prior authorization (the invitation letter) so that you can receive your visa upon arrival at the airport. You need to print the invitation letter to board your international flight to Vietnam. On arrival, once you are off the plane, you will hand it to the official in charge. After checking, he will affix your visa to your passport.
Visa fees are to be paid directly at customs. You can pay either in USD or EURO: $25 (or 25 euros) for a single-entry visa (1 or 3 months); $50 (or 50 euros) for a multiple-entry visa (1 or 3 months). It is advisable to pay in USD to avoid any unfavourable exchange rate. Helping you to obtain a visa on arrival is part of our service.
Of these three types of visa, we strongly advise you to opt for the E-visa or visa on arrival as they are easier to obtain and cheaper.
Please note: Visa formalities and fees are different for citizens of the African continent: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Kuwait, Oman… Please contact us for more information.
To help you with these procedures, you can go through a travel agency in Vietnam. Do not hesitate to contact us for further information.