Guide to Vietnam’s Visa Policy for Visitors
Did you know that travelling to Vietnam is easy? Travellers from dozens of countries, including the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia and India, either don’t need a visa to enter Vietnam or can get a simplified electronic visa online in advance!
In normal times, over 18 million foreign tourists visit Vietnam per year, with numbers climbing rapidly from just two million tourists in 2000. As such, if you’re thinking of visiting the home of such top locations as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Long Bay, you’re in good company. Keep reading to learn the entry requirements for your nationality.
Which countries don’t need a visa to enter Vietnam?
There are 25 nationalities in the world that don’t need a visa to enter Vietnam. Here’s a list of these 25, along with the number of days that you’re permitted to stay in the country:
- Belarus - 15 days
- Brunei - 14 days
- Cambodia - 30 days
- Chile - 90 days
- Denmark - 15 days
- Finland - 15 days
- France - 15 days
- Germany - 15 days
- Indonesia - 30 days
- Italy - 15 days
- Japan - 15 days
- Kyrgyzstan - 30 days
- Laos - 30 days
- Malaysia - 30 days
- Myanmar - 30 days
- Norway - 15 days
- Panama - 90 days
- Philippines - 21 days
- Russia - 15 days
- Singapore - 30 days
- South Korea - 15 days
- Spain - 15 days
- Sweden - 15 days
- Thailand - 30 days
- United Kingdom - 15 days
For all of these visa-free countries, you must have a printout of your return or onward travel bookings to be permitted entry to Vietnam.
It’s also worth noting that, for the European nations listed above, a gap of at least 30 days between each visa-free visit to Vietnam is required. As such, bear this in mind if you’re planning to visit this country and elsewhere in South East Asia multiple times.
Who can get an eVisa to enter Vietnam?
If you’re a Canadian, American, Indian or Australian, you’re in luck - you come from one of the 60 or so countries of the world that can enter Vietnam with an eVisa (electronic visa). Since 2017, Vietnam has managed an eVisa system for specific nationalities, which means you can avoid an embassy visit and make your entire application online. This is always the quickest option if it’s available.
If you’re a UK citizen you can apply for an eVisa if you want a 30-day stay rather than 15 days.
Of course, to get an e-Visa, you’ll have to complete the application form online with the correct details of your flight and stay, as well as some personal information. This is usually a simple process.
With an eVisa, you can enter Vietnam for up to 30 days. What’s more, because it’s all done electronically in advance, you can also usually clear passport control pretty quickly when you arrive.
The full list of eVisa-eligible countries for Vietnam is:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- Papua New Guinea
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- Timor Leste
- United Arab Emirates
- United States
The eVisa option is also available to citizens of the territories of both Hong Kong and Macao.
Can you extend your stay period?
Visa-exempt visitors may usually, for a fee and upon completing the paperwork, extend your stay in Vietnam. This can usually be done, as long as the total length of your stay is less than 6 months. For example, if you apply for a 3-month tourist visa, then you are able to extend it for a further 3 months. You can extend your visa for a single entry into Vietnam only.
Which nationalities require an embassy visa to enter Vietnam?
There are around 200 countries in the world, and the citizens of around 110 of these require a full visa application from an embassy to enter Vietnam.
If you come from a country not listed above, then in order to get a visa you will need to go through an embassy application process. The first step is contacting the Vietnamese diplomatic mission in your country. If one does not exist, then you’ll need to make contact with that facility in a nearby country.
Fortunately, you can usually get all the information you need online in order to prepare for your embassy visit and make a formal application. It’s also worth making contact with the relevant embassy in advance and booking a clear slot to go in and visit. Some embassies do this via video call but, again, you’ll need to check that.
Even if this sounds bureaucratic, it’s pretty standard and virtually every country in the world has some in-person visa processes for some nationalities. The aim of these systems is to structure applications, often from countries with fewer long-haul vacationers, so it’s clear who’s coming and going.
In general, you’ll need the following for your visa application to Vietnam:
- Valid passport
- Visa application forms
- Passport photos
- Proof of your financial status
- Confirmed flight tickets to and from Vietnam
- Accommodation details
- Cash on the day to cover your visa fees
So how do I travel to Vietnam?
The main airports of Vietnam are in the two major cities of Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Also, there’s another major airport in the tourist hotspot of Da Nang in the centre. These are the only ones that cater to international travellers.
In addition, it’s worth knowing that competitive flight prices in East and South Asia mean that you can often fly to Vietnam from another country in that part of the world for a very low price. This leads many people to see Vietnam as part of a broader trip through South East Asia.
So Vietnam is an accessible, exciting place to go - what’s holding you back? Happy travelling!