Vietnam is a great place to visit in Southeast Asia. If you’ve recently lost your job and are watching your budget, you’ll find Vietnam a very affordable place to stay for a good while. Delicious and healthy pho is plentiful from a variety of street vendors at prices that are delightful. If you’ve never tried it, Vietnam is also known for a special type of “egg coffee”. I ate most meals in Hanoi for a price of around $1 to $2. Good luck doing that in America! Vietnam is a destination that promises fun, affordability and plenty of culture.
If you’re an American that has traveled abroad to man countries you’ll know that there’s a good list of countries Americans can visit with no visa. They will typically allow you to arrive and simply fill out visa on arrival paperwork and you’ll be on your way through the immigration gates to explore a new world.
The Vietnam visa process is a bit more complicated then that. If you’ve done a bit of research online, you may be asking yourself “How do I get a Vietnam Visa on arrival?” My initial research seemed to provide some conflicting answers so I’ll break out your options clearly. Heres’s an overview based on my experience and a fair amount of research to combat the confusion.
First of all you should understand you basically have three choices on how to go about getting your Vietnam Visa.
- Get your visa ahead of time prior to your trip in your home country at your local Vietnam embassy. This may be the best option if you’ve got a good deal of time and want to handle it all up front. You’ll have your visa ready to go and can precede to immigration immediately upon landing and go get an egg coffee.
- Get an e-visa. Another option is to first go the official Vietnam embassy website and get an e-visa .
This method can take a few days. It’s relatively simple and will cost you just $25 for the visa. It’s worth noting that there are several companies (some reputable some not) that have websites that seem to misrepresent themselves as representing Vietnam. This site is the true Vietnam embassy site and the only qualified to issue an e-visa directly. It seems like a great option as long as you have enough time. If you’re pressed for time, then you’ll want to do the third option.
- The third option is to work with a company that can get you a letter of approval very quickly, often within one day depending on the company. There’s a variety of sites that do this. With this option you’ll pay some fee that varies for your approval letter. And then you’ll also need to pay for your visa on arrival. This is the most expensive option of the three, but it’s the best option if you don’t have much time. This means after disembarking from the plane you’ll go to the visa area and you’ll probably need to wait a bit for them to review your letter of approval then process and issue the visa. You’ll need to pay $25US or $520,000 dong to get your actual visa. In my experience we needed to wait about 30 minutes to get the visa processed and then we were free to head out and explore the exciting things to do in Hanoi.
A quick review of Vietnam Visa Pro
We chose Vietnam Visa Pro to get our letter of approval. The approval letter really just acts as a sort of required first step to get your visa on arrival. I’m not being compensated for this review so it’s pretty unbiased. The price was good. I got expedited service to get the letter of approval in a day for around $11. It came the next day in email by PDF. It should be noted there are several companies that run websites that do this. These sites aren’t government organizations but rather they are companies that are qualified to create your approval letter to make you eligible to get your Visa on arrival. You can’t get a visa on arrival without an approval letter so it’s a necessary step for the third option.
It’s worth noting that Uber isn’t currently available in Vietnam at the time of this writing. A nice alternative we discovered is Grab which is an Uber like service.
If you’re currently not up for the challenge of the long flight to get to Vietnam but still would like to try their amazing coffee, you can purchase it on Amazon here:
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