One of the countries in southeast Asia that I wasn’t planning to travel to was Vietnam. Why? Because U.S. citizens need a visa to enter. Whereas, many other countries are granted 15 days entry with their passports. I wasn’t sure how to get a visa for Vietnam and frankly, I don’t like applications.
Well, with a quick change of plans, I ended up looking into how I can enter Vietnam. I have a flight booked to Europe in October. So, I’ve been strategically planning out which countries I want to visit until then. I figured why not check out Ho Chi Minh City as the last new place on my list for a little bit.
I expected a visa process to be such a hassle, which is why I try to avoid them at all costs. To figure out how to get a visa for Vietnam, I had chatted with a friend to gain some insight of what I needed to do. And to my surprise, it was much easier than I expected!
Visa/Passport Photos for Vietnam
To be clear, passport and visa photos are separate things. But, because the size requirements are the same for Vietnam (which sometimes is what differentiates them), I’m going to call them “passport” photos throughout this post.
The first thing I had to was get an extra set of passport photos printed. I was staying in Lovina, Bali at the time and I was lucky to have a photo studio near my Airbnb. I asked the photographer about what was needed for passport photos and he told me to look into the requirements for Vietnam.
Which are as follows:
- Background: White
- Size: 4×6 cm (or 2×2 cm)
- Neutral face expression
- No headgear (except for religious purposes)
- Don’t wear white as it blends with the background
- No hair covering your face, must tuck behind your ears
- 2 copies needed
I ended up getting my photo taken and 4 copies printed for a total of only $1.50. If you can’t find somewhere to get your passport photos taken, the Saigon International Airport is able to provide that service.
The next thing I did was hire a Vietnam visa agent to help take care of the application process for me. I used the experts at Vietnam Visa Info and it went so smoothly and quickly!
It was super easy. I literally sent an inquiry email first because I had a few questions that I wanted clarified. After that, I sent in the application found on the website that allowed a single entry for a 3-month stay in Vietnam. I think a copy of my passport was needed and then I sent the service fee of $25 through PayPal.
You are able to pay through the website, but I saw it wasn’t secure, so I didn’t want to take any risks. Especially since this was my first time using an agent. If you also want to pay with PayPal, just address that in an inquiry email to the business. They will then provide their payment information.
A few days passed and the process was complete! The agent then sent me a couple things I had to print and bring to airport: my invitation letter to enter Vietnam, as well as a visa application form that I needed to complete (with a pen).
Also, I should mention that this application process I completed was for a visa on arrival. This means that I will get my visa when I arrive at the airport, not from this agent.
Arriving in Saigon
When you arrive in Vietnam, you must have your invitation letter, the visa application filled out, and 2 copies of your passport photo. If you’re anything like me, you will just end up following the crowd to figure out where to go. But, if you have no one to follow, look for an area called “Landing Visa”. This is where your visa will be processed and where you will take your passport photos if you still need to do that.
I gave them all my items, including my passport, waited about 20 minutes, and they returned my passport with the visa on arrival inside of it. I should also note that I paid an additional $25 to receive the visa and I did pay with U.S. notes. Lines were short when I arrived, maybe 15 people total were waiting for the same process. But, I read that sometimes people wait up to 2 hours.
After that, I proceeded to Immigration as normal. I found the entire process from getting my passport photos taken to arriving in Vietnam easy and as simple as possible. Although, I mention being a U.S. citizen throughout this post, this same method and visa agency has helped foreigners from many other countries. Hopefully this answers any questions you may have about how to get a visa for Vietnam. Let me know how else I can help in the comments!