How to get a Visa to Vietnam?

How to get a Visa to Vietnam?

Getting a Visa to Vietnam can be a draining and all around difficult process. From choosing the correct visa category, duration and fee, to arranging the right documents…

Getting a Visa to Vietnam can be a draining and all-around difficult process. From choosing the correct visa category, duration and fee, to arranging the right documents, checking your passport, and finally beginning the application process itself, for so many travelers entering Vietnam can seem almost impossible. Where do you even begin?

Do I Need to Get a Visa to Vietnam?

  • If you’re Australian or American then sadly the answer is still “yes”, but for some lucky nationals of other countries the answer may well be “no”. If they fly directly into Phu Quoc(which is designated a Special Economic Zone), anyone who fancies a beachside vacation can spend up to 30 days on the island without a visa. However, this is only valid in Phu Quoc, so if you plan to travel through Vietnam then buying a visa is the best plan.
  • The Vietnamese government has recently issued visa waivers for trips lasting up to 15 days in Vietnam, for nationals from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.
  • Finally, visitors from the ASEAN bloc (which includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, and Vietnam) receive a 30 days visa waiver, aside from Bruneians who receive 14 days.
  • For countries that get an exemption for the first X amount of days, travelers can instead buy a tourist visa the first time around, and any time they come into the country again, they can get their free visa. Alternatively, exempt travelers who take the free visa option the first time around must wait 30 days out of the country once their free visa expires, before coming back into Vietnam; they will still have the option to enter for free for the allotted number of days.

What Visa Do I Need?

get a visa to vietnam

  • As of 1 January 2015, Vietnamese immigration law was amended to include a much more specific array of visa categories. To some, this may seem scary! But never fear, it’s actually very useful since you’re now bound to find an exact fit for your purpose of entry. Check out this handy table for a list of visa categories, the appropriate applicant for that category, and how long that category allows you to stay in Vietnam.

Visa categories

Who is it for?

Duration of visa

NG1 – NG4

Diplomats and guests of the government, and their relatives or assistants

Up to 12 months

LV1 – LV2

People who work with the Vietnamese authorities

Up to 12 months


Foreign investors and foreign lawyers operating in Vietnam

Up to 5 years


Working partners of Vietnamese Businesses

Up to 12 months

NN1 – NN2

Chief’s and head representatives of representative offices of IOs and foreign NGOs in Vietnam

Up to 12 months


Staff members of NGOs, representative offices and branches of foreign businesses in Vietnam

Up to 12 months


Students or interns coming to study in Vietnam

Up to 12 months


Conference/seminar attendants

Up to 3 months


Journalists with permanent residence in Vietnam

Up to 12 months


Journalists with short term residence in Vietnam

Up to 12 months


Foreign workers/labourers coming to work in Vietnam

Up to 2 years



Up to 3 months


Dependents (wife, husband, or child under 18 years) of someone with an LV1, LV2, DT, NN1, NN2, DH, PV1, LD

Up to 12 months


People who will visit their relatives, or enters Vietnam for other purposes

Up to 6 months


People who enter Vietnam under special circumstances, for market research, tourism, visiting relatives or medical treatment

Up to 1 month

What About the New One-Year Visa for US Citizens?

get a visa vietnam
visa to vietnam

  • A new 12-month visa only for American citizens has been put into practice. For several months, there had been problems because the one-year visa had become the only option US citizens were given. However, this is not the case any more, and they can apply for one-month and three-month visas again.
  • There are two options to get a 1 year multiple entry visa for US citizens to Vietnam, including:
    1. Getting visa at Vietnam embassy (required documents depend on the embassy)
    2. Getting Vietnam visa on arrival (no required document for application – get visa approval letter online before departure and then get visa stamped upon arrival at Vietnam airport; highly recommended for those traveling to Vietnam by air).

Difference between 1 year business visa and 1 year Tourist Visa to Vietnam for US citizens

The main difference between this 2 type of visa for US citizens is in how long the US citizens can actually stay in Vietnam under 1 year tourist visa and 1 year business visa.

  • With 1 year tourist visa, maximum duration for each stay in Vietnam is 30 days. It means that you, with this type of visa, can’t stay in Vietnam for more than 30 days a time, and have to leave the country and return for another 30 days stay or consider extending visa in Vietnam.
  • With 1 year business visa, you can stay in Vietnam for maximum 6 months in one stay. As such, the 1 year multiple entry business visa is exactly what you should apply for if you wish to stay in Vietnam for more than 30 days consecutively extending visa every 30 days.

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