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 and soak up
Delicious and healthy pho is plentiful from a variety of street vendors at prices that are a steal. 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 finding meals for that price in the US! Vietnam is a destination that promises fun, affordability, and
If you’re an American that has traveled abroad to several 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.
Getting a Visa for Vietnam
The Vietnam visa process is a bit more complicated. 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. Here’s an overview based on my experience and a fair amount of research to combat the confusion.
From my research, I discovered you have three main choices on how to go about getting your Vietnam Visa.
One Country. Three Visa Options
Visa Options for Vietnam
- Get Your Visa Ahead of time through the Vietnam Embassy
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 proceed 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. Method two can take a few days. It’s relatively simple and will cost you just $25 for the e-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. The above 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 in a hurry, then you’ll want to consider the third option.
- Get a letter of approval from a travel company and
pickup your visa at the airport.
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
several sites and companies that provide this service.
Getting a Letter of Approval Notes
For option three, there are a variety of sites that can assist with option three. With this option, you’ll pay a 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
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 getting your visa on arrival. I’m not being compensated for this review so it’s 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 an 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
Getting Around in Vietnam
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.
Experiencing Vietnam Culture at Home
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:
Once you have this you can easily make some Vietnamese style egg coffee by following instructions on youtube. Here’s a good tutorial.
If you speak Chinese, here’s a great page to get info on the Vietnam Visa process.
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