Beside the traditional way to apply for a visa at the Vietnam Embassy, foreign travelers to Vietnam may find it easy to get a Vietnam visa as they now have one more option: getting a visa on arrival.

Since its appearance, this option has become increasingly popular among travelers to obtain a visa for Vietnam. Please keep in mind that foreign travelers could either apply for a visa at the nearest Vietnam embassy or use visa on arrival; however these two options are quite different in terms of applicable applicants and application procedure.

What is visa on arrival?

Visa on arrival is a kind of visa which is picked up at the arrival airport instead of being picked up at the Vietnam Embassy in the traditional way. To pick up visa on arrival, the travelers are required to apply online for a letter called visa approval letter which is issued by the Vietnam Immigration Airport as an official permission allowing them to get on flight and get visa stamped at the arrival airport.


Visa on arrival is 100% legitimate. Although you submit your online visa form to a travel agent and get your visa approval letter via email from the agent, the agent has worked with the Vietnam Immigration Department to return your visa approval letter to your registered email. And this visa approval letter is issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department, not the travel agent. So once you have your visa approval letter, you are ensured to have visa stamped onto your passport if you have full required documents (visa approval letter, passport, 02 passport-sized photos, Vietnamese visa application form and stamping fee).

Especially, the Article 6, Chapter III of the Ordinance No. 24/2000/PL- UBTVQH 10 dated April 28, 2000 on Entry, Exit and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam specifies that foreigners who enter Vietnam for visit under programs organized by international tour enterprises of Vietnam will have to deal with a travel agent who will forward their visa applications over to the immigration office.

The Pros

  1. The online visa application process is rather simple and straightforward.
  2. Visa-on-arrival saves time – especially for those who need a visa urgently.
  3. You do not need to send off your passport or go to Vietnam embassies in person. You just need to provide a scan (electronic copy) of your original passport.

The Cons

  1. Visa on arrival is only applicable for those traveling to Vietnam by air
  2. It may take up to 15 – 20 minutes to get visa stamp at your arrival airport due to long queues
  3. You may find your name on the visa approval letter along with names of other people you do not know – and the same goes for those people

Want to Apply? Download the Application form here!