Vietnam Tourist Visa Process for Indians

Indian Passport Holders will need Visa to visit Vietnam. This post explains the process. It is not very complicated but not super easy either.
There're two ways to proceed in order to get a Vietnam visa. First one is a two stage process whereas second one is one step but may not be very convenient. Summary in below table, detail follows
Option
Cost
Time
Pros
Cons
Remarks
Get Visa approval letter while in India, exchange for proper visa at airport
15 USD for E-visa +
25 USD for actual visa
40 USD total
(INR 2700)
2 working days to process e-visa
About an hour at airport on arrival for actual visa (depends on crowd)
Easy
Have to wait at arrival airport for formalities
Most convenient way, cheaper
Get stamped visa in India
Close to 4000 INR (depends)
?
Saves time on Arrival
Time n cost
Might work for those in Delhi
Option 1: Get Visa Approval Letter and exchange for On Arrival Visa at Airport
This is the most convenient of the two options.
  1. When in India, at least 3 working days before your departure, apply for an visa on arrival approval letter on any of the several websites that provide this service. I used below website, visatovietnam.com . Upon submitting my details I was given a paypal link to pay 15 USD. Once done, my Approval Letter arrived within 1 day.
  2.  There’re few more websites offering this service such as https://greenvisa.io/ and many more. (I’ve several spam comments from these companies in my blog’s spam comment section)
  3. These websites charge USD 15 for their services. You will get an email with a letter that you can print and carry with you, which is acceptable at departure airports.
  4. Carry the following in your hand bag- a pen, a passport size photo, 25 USD in cash + copies of your return ticket, hotel confirmation etc if asked.
  5. Upon arrival in Vietnam, you need to show this letter and exchange it for stamped visa.
  6. Airports will have two separate areas- one for those with proper visa, who can clear immigration n proceed, another for Visa on Arrival. Those with Approval letter need to go to VOA section, fill a form, wait in line. Once your turn comes, staff will collect your application, photo and will ask you to wait. No token numbers, no waiting time display.
  7. After sometime your name will be called, go to the counter, pay USD 25 in cash (named Stamping Fee), your passport will be stamped with the tourist visa, usually single entry, 1 month validity.
  8. With this visa in hand you need to go back and join the immigration queue, show it and proceed to baggage area.

The entire process took about an hour for me at Ho Chi Minh airport. May be more, may be less, depending on how many flights land at same time and how many of them need VOA. While you lose an hour at the airport, it is probably better than spending several hours in India, to go to Vietnam embassy or travel agent to submit your passport n again to collect it (option 2). Most people who were waiting around me got their visa without any problem. Select individuals were asked to show their return tickets/additional details.

Note that Option 1 is applicable only if you're arriving in Vietnam by Air. If you're crossing into Vietnam via Land border from say either Cambodia or Thailand, you will have to get regular visa through option 2. Land borders are not equipped with stamping facilities. They are often used by friendly neighbors who can travel visa free.

Option 2: Get stamped Visa in India itself.
This is the traditional approach. You need to submit your passport n visa application form to Vietnam Embassy directly or via travel agent to get your passport stamped with Vietnam visa. This will need some running around when in India but once you arrive you can directly clear immigration without having to exchange approval letter at VOA counter like in Option 1.
Vietnam has embassy only in New Delhi. So those in other cities will have to depend on travel agents- like VFS Global or others. VFS charges Rs 3800 + tax/courier/sms alert extra for processing Vietnam tourist visa. Express service is also available for an additional fee. Details on their website here. Plus time, effort n money needed to visit VFS office. Option 1 is probably more convenient even if it means spending little more time in the airport.

Validity- Default validity is 1 month. Extensions are possible. If you really need longer, try including a cover letter and ask for longer duration. Alternate option would be to visit Thailand or Cambodia for a while and come back to Vietnam and get another 1 month.

2 comments:

  1. Absolutely. Great to have found this post. I was also wondering that generally, a lot of people combine their Vietnam trip with Cambodia. Are we suppose to apply for both Visas separately ? Or is there any other option ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. As far as I know there's no combi visa. You've to get both separately.

    People combine Vietnam and Cambodia as they are adjacent countries with land connectivity, cost effective to tour both countries one after another if you've enough time.

    ReplyDelete

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