This article is written to guide you how to get the Vietnam visa basing on my experience. I usually fly to Viet Nam 6-7 times per year for my business and I choose visa on arrival service because of its convenience. The following steps are the general picture for who has not used this service.
STEP 1: APPLY VISA ONLINE AND GET THE VISA APPROVAL LETTER BEFORE YOUR DEPARTURE
It is wrong to think that no visa documents are required to handle before the departure and can get the Viet Nam visa on arrival easily upon the arrival like Laos or Cambodia. This misunderstanding might lead you to be not allowed to get on board and miss the flight. It is better to apply the visa online at least 2 working days and get the visa letter via email before your check-in time. The urgent process is also available for your urgent case but you have to pay the extra fee and the letter will be available within 1 working day. Of course, it is Viet Nam time, so please be careful with the time zone differences.
STEP 2: PREPARE EVERYTHING TO GET THE VISA SMOOTHLY
To check in and get the visa successfully, the compulsory documents you should prepare readily:
– Your passport which is valid for at least 6 months
– The visa approval letter: It is sent you via email and you have to print it out.
– The entry/exit form: You can download it from the internet and finish it before your departure; or you can do it upon the arrival airport since the form is available on the desk in front of the Immigration Checking Point.
– Stamping fee in cash: The fee depends on your type of visa:
+ Single entry: $25
+ Multiple entries: $50
The one month multiple entries visa stamp fee can be either $50 depending on the number of days determined by the valid date range stated on the visa stamped. If the days calculated to be full month (28 or 30 -31 days), you will pay $50. Just check your fixed schedule and decide how many days you actually need to save the money if possible.
This fee is paid in cash only and US dollar is the most preferred. With other currencies, you have to bear the exchange rate determined by the Immigration and it is normally higher than quotation in banks and costs you more in domestic currency.
STEP 3: GET THE VISA STAMP UPON THE ARRIVAL AIRPORT
After landing at Viet Nam airports, you will go to the Immigration Checking Point (VISA ON ARRIVAL) right after the downstairs. You are required to show all the documents in the step 2 and wait until the officer calls your name to get the passport back.
Then you will continue to go to the Immigration Booth for checking visa and passport and get the residence stamp. As my experience, remember to check carefully the stamps if they are issued correctly with your visa approval letter. My colleague already faced with this trouble. His visa is valid from 15/4 to 15/5 but the residence stamp stated from 15/4 to 15/4. He had not recognized this mistake until he wanted to extend the visa. The result is, beside the extension fee, he had to pay extra fee to correct this error although it was not his fault. Care is never enough.
All above is my advice for everyone who has not experience with Viet Nam visa on arrival. I did used a travel agent and get this experience from their advice, its name is http://vietnamvisaembassy.org. Hope it helps your plan trip to Vietnam.