A Guide For Getting Your Tourist Or 5-Year Exemption Vietnam Visa
Getting into Vietnam can be complicated. Online resources all say different things. So for your traveling needs, we’ve assembled all the information you need to get 5 year exemption Vietnam visa.
The easiest way to get a visa to Vietnam is to apply for the e-visa, a shortcut given to citizens of 40 countries. Although Vietnam does have a visa on arrival, the process can take anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours waiting at the airport. Too many tourists don’t realize they need to prearrange their visa until it’s too late, so they end up waiting right in front of customs. The best rule of thumb is to get all of your paperwork done beforehand.
Those eligible can easily apply for a 5-year-visa at any of Vietnam’s embassies or consulates. As of May 2016, holders of the 5-year visa are required to get an exit stamp every six months. Previous to this, regulations were set at three months. For all the overseas Vietnamese out there, make sure to take advantage of this visa before you get to Vietnam because it’s not available on arrival. But, no matter what kind of visa you are after, we’ve got a rundown below that outlines all the different prices.
As of February 2017, Vietnam introduced an online e-visa system for citizens of 40 countries, including America. You apply online and in three days, you’ll receive notice of your status. To apply, go to the dual-language Vietnam E-Visa Web Portal.
For Asian travelers from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea, you can stay fewer than 15-30 days without needing to get a visa in advance. Europeans from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom can enjoy a free visa exemption for visits less than 15 days.
For those from anywhere else, including America, this section of the article is most important to you. The application may be submitted online, in-person, via mail or email.
Stamping or online visa fee:
- Single entry: US $25
- Multiple entries (1-3 months): US $50
- Multiple entries (3-6 months): US $95
- Multiple entries (6-12 months): US $135
- Multiple entries (1-2 years): US $145
- Multiple entries (2-5 years): US $155
Visa approval document fee for tourist visas (prices depends on each visa agency or embassy). Now, you can avoid this fee entirely if you apply using the e-visa.
- One-month single entry: US $13 (as of August 29th 2016, there is no longer a US $25 single-entry option for Americans)
- One-month multiple entry: US $14.50
- Three-month single entry: US $19.50
- Three-month multiple entry: US $49
- Five year Visa
If you or your parents have Vietnamese origins, you can apply for the five year visa.You’re also eligible if you’re married to a Vietnamese national. It’s basically a five year visa which requires you to leave Vietnam every six months (you could actually just cross the border in Cambodia and turn right back around). Most people take this as an opportunity to visit a neighboring country.
In order to get this visa, you usually don’t need much. Although the official website lists many different items, some of us at Vietcetera have actually got a visa with only our passports. All we needed was US $100 (an extra $20 for a quick completion). Keep in mind that the fee can vary so make sure to bring extra money just in case.
It’s also worth noting that if your passport expires before your five years is completed, you’ll have to get a new visa in your renewed passport. You can apply for a five year visa if you have at least one year left on your passport.
Our friend Tam Minh Le recently went through the process and provided us with a thorough update on the steps required to attain a 5-year visa. See her detailed guide below.
Step 1: Gather the necessary documents and fill out the paperwork.
- Application form: Complete it online here and print it out
- 2 passport photos: 4×6 cm (I ended up using photos that were about 3×4 cm), white background, straight face, bare head, no sunglasses
- Passport: Needs to be valid for at least 1 year, your current Vietnamese visa needs to have at least 7 days remaining (I only had 6 days remaining and had to find a Vietnamese travel agency and pay them US $80 for a one month, single entry visa extension)
- 1 original document proving you were either born in Vietnam or the child or spouse of a Vietnamese national: Could be a Vietnamese passport, birth certificate or verification of marriage (additional accepted documents listed here). My U.S. birth certificate stated that my parents were born in Vietnam so that was enough proof.
Step 2: Go to your country’s embassy or consulate to get your foreign document verified.
For U.S. citizens in Vietnam the address is: 4 Le Duan, Ben Nghe, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh
Cost: US $50
Timing: For a notarial service, you’ll have to make an appointment online ahead of time. The earliest appointment slots are usually four weekdays out. Once you arrive at the U.S. Consulate, the whole procedure takes less than an hour and is relatively painless.
Step 3: Go to the Vietnam Office of External Relations to get the verified birth certificate authenticated and translated to Vietnamese.
Address: 184 Bis 1, Pasteur, Ben Nghe, Quan 1, Ho Chí Minh
Cost: VND 210,000
Timing: about 1 week
Go up the stairs and into the glass office immediately to your right. There should be a tray on one of the counters for you to drop your verified foreign document in. Then, sit in one of the seats against the wall and wait for them to call your name. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.
Step 4: Go to the Vietnamese Department of Immigration to submit your application and documents.
Vietnamese name for department: Cục Quản lý Xuất nhập cảnh TP. HCM
Address: 333-337 Nguyen Trai, Nguyen Cu Trinh, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh
Cost: US $10
Timing: Exactly 7 days
When you enter the building, go straight to counter 14 (no need to take a number and wait). Hand them your application and documents and they should know what to do. After that, go towards the payment counter and wait on a nearby chair until they call your name to pay either US $10 or the equivalent VND. The whole process should take less than 30 minutes and was pretty straightforward.
In 7 days, return to the building and go straight to the counter indicated on your receipt, hand them the receipt in exchange for your passport, and enjoy your shiny new 5-Year Visa Exemption!
Alternatively: There are people lurking around the Vietnamese Department of Immigration who will offer to take care of everything for you for US $150. Because I was cheap and thought I could save money by doing it on my own, I refused help and ended up spending a lot more time and money than anticipated (because I needed my visa extended due to it being short by one day). In the end, I had to take hours off of work over a series of weeks to sort out everything and only saved $0.79.
Moral of the story: Don’t be cheap. You can just pay someone to run around Ho Chi Minh City for you and deal with the bureaucracy. Unless you were born in Vietnam, in which case it will only cost you US $10 and about an hour total of your time.