Since the immigration law has recently changed and getting visa and extensions is becoming harder and more expensive, we believe the Vietnam visa application for the visa on arrival is much easier and cheaper at the moment.
Searching through internet, you will easily find that there are two ways for you to obtain a visa for Vietnam:
- Getting a visa at a local Vietnam embassy;
- Getting a Vietnam visa on arrival.
And after successfully getting a visa to Vietnam, we would like to introduce here a brief comparison between these two ways for visa application.
1.1 Both are legitimate. Both are issued by government authorities of Vietnam (visa at embassy is issued by Vietnam Embassy while visa on arrival is issued by Vietnam Immigration Department).
1.2 Both require a 6-month valid passport. Whether which way is used to obtain a Vietnam visa, you need a passport which is valid for at least 6 months from your arrival date.
1. Applicable travelers
While visa applied via Vietnam embassy is available for all travelers to Vietnam, visa on arrival is available for those who travel to Vietnam by air only.
2. Visa procedure
While applying for visa at Vietnam embassy is mainly completed offline, applying for Vietnam visa on arrival is completed online.
Following is procedure to get visa at embassy:
- Travel to the embassy to submit visa application documents including visa application form and original passport and photos;
- Pay for service fee at the embassy;
- Travel back home to wait for visa processing;
- Travel to the embassy to pick up full visa and original passport;
And this is the procedure to get a visa on arrival:
- Submit online Vietnam visa form and pay for service fee;
- Receive visa approval letter which is considered as an official permission allowing to get on board to Vietnam;
- Get visa stamped upon arrival at Vietnam airport.
The major difference between these two procedures is that applying for visa at embassy requires you to travel to the embassy while applying for visa on arrival requires no travel at all.
3. Visa fee
Total cost of Vietnam visa on arrival may be higher or lower than that of visa issued by Vietnam Embassy.
For example, I contacted Vietnamese consulate in Turin, Italy, and they told us that cost for a single entry 90-day visa is 170€, plus 40€ more to get the visa in less than 10 working days. But I got one via Vietnam consulate in Sihanoukville at 55$.
However, Vietnam visa fee may vary from embassy and embassy. And it is not an ideal option if you live far from the embassy, as even its cost is lower than visa on arrival, it will absolutely become higher when travel cost is added.
Total cost of Vietnam visa on arrival is always clearly announced online. For example, I found Vietnam-visa.com via great recommendations and reviews, I see that total cost for a 3-month single entry visa is 59$ (consisting of 34$ of service fee and 25$ of stamping fee without any travel or extra costs).
4. Processing time
While application for Vietnam visa on arrival takes only 2 working days at maximum, getting a visa at embassy may takes up to more 10 days, depending on each embassy.
Above is some major information about two ways to apply for Vietnam visa.
After all, we see that Vietnam visa on arrival seems to be more convenient. If we travel to Vietnam by air, we will absolutely choose this kind of visa.