Visa, a barrier of Vietnam tourism

Many European tourists would choose Indonesia, Thailand for long holiday instead of Vietnam because they don’t have to apply for visa when visiting these countries.

For the past 10 years, Thomas (France) and Araya, Thai girlfriend, have stayed in many places in Europe, Hong Kong, Japan … In August, they flew from France to Bangkok to visit Araya’s parents. On the way back, they visited Hanoi for the first time. They had a chance to meet with friends in Vietnam, took some nice tours and they just regretted not to visit the country earlier.

After the trip, Thomas explored more destinations throughout Vietnam. The 40-year-old engineer enjoyed the northern mountainous exploration. For his lover, he also plans to stay in Nha Trang and go to Ho Chi Minh City


Travelers from countries with prolonged cold winters prefer long-term stays at beautiful beaches in Vietnam.

Before getting new jobs in early December, Thomas plans to spend whole November in Vietnam. However, when he announced plans to his friends, he was informed that he cannot travel Vietnam with visa free as the previous trip. Vietnam’s visa policy stipulates: “The entry with visa free must be at least 30 days from the last exit from Vietnam” applies to visitors from the country who Vietnam have unilateral visa exemption with.

In addition, French citizens like Thomas are only exempted from visas within 15 days. If he keeps the plan, he has to apply for visa and pay the fee. This made Thomas uncomfortable because he did not encounter this barrier when traveling to other countries in Asia.

“I plan to go to Vietnam for a whole month, but in the meantime I have to fly back to Pattaya (Thailand) for friend’s wedding. This will make me to apply for a visa to enter Vietnam and it is both time and money consuming task “, Thomas said.

Later, he and his girlfriend decided to switch to a vacation in Bali, Indonesia, where they had been in before. “Bali has many fun spots, resort facilities with many nice routes. Moreover, the immigration procedure is more convenient so that we are able to start our trip anytime we can,” Says Thomas. At present, Indonesia gives 30 days visa exemption for the visitors from European countries.


The initial effect of open visa policy

According to Vu The Binh, vice chair of the Vietnam Tourism Association, visa procedures are one of the most important factors in the tourism industry as it demonstrates the openness of the country. Open visa policy can increase a significant number of visitors without affecting the other factors.

In 2017, the number of international visitors to Vietnam is nearly 13 million. One of the reasons for this success comes up with favorable policies, including visa exemptions for 24 countries (Russia, Japan, Korea, five Western European countries) and electronic visas for 46 countries.

However, compared to other countries in the region, the number of Vietnamese visitors is still quite low. Thailand gets 35 million international visitors and Malaysia gets 25 million visitors arriving every year…

European and American travelers often enjoy long journey to explore the mountains or to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Vietnam.

The benefits of “opened visa policy” have been acknowledged since Vietnam began the unilateral visa exemption more than a dozen years ago. According to the Tourism Administration, the number of Korean visitors from 230,000 in 2004 increased to 2.4 million by 2017 (10 times). In the same period, Japanese visitors increased from 267,000 to 700,000.

Similarly, other markets such as Britain, Germany, Spain… have also experienced an increase of 15% each year since the visa exempted.

Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, Deputy General Director of Vietravel, said that the visa exemption helps international visitors save time and money, thereby enhancing the attractiveness of Vietnam’s tourism. In fact, countries that can attract more than 20 million visitors each year,all have opened visa-free policy.

“If we have been considering tourism as leading economic sector, bringing in a large amount of foreign currency to the country, should it be open to visitors.” The number of international visitors coming and spending will be much higher than the income we get from visa, “Phuong Hoang shared.

Inadequacies in Vietnam’s visa policy

With Thomas, he would still be able to start his trip without minding to visa, as long as he only stayed less than 15 days in Vietnam. But many travelers in developed countries in Europe such as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal … still have to apply for visas at the representative offices of Vietnam abroad, or apply for visa on arrival or e-visa.

The visa policy of Vietnam is considered strict as there are only 24 countries exempted. This figure is 61 countries in Thailand, 158 countries in Malaysia, 155 in Malaysia and 169 countries in Indonesia. The competitiveness index of Vietnam in the category of visa requirements is in the last category: 116 out of 136 countries surveyed.

Visa, a barrier to tourism in Vietnam

In addition, the countries whose citizens spend much as Europe, America … do not enjoy significant incentives. Some countries still have to apply for Vietnam visas in different ways. The citizens of exempted countries are allowed to stay in Vietnam for only 15 days and a month later, they could return to Vietnam.

Southeast Asian countries have many similar characteristics of landscape such as long coastline, mountainous landscape, affordable prices … Therefore, many foreign visitors are easy to switch their vacation to other countries. The area is more convenient for entry and exit procedures.

Meanwhile, South Korea, Japan and other countries in Southeast Asia, China just has a short trip with little spending amount. According to Hoang Nhan Chinh, head of the Travel Advisory Board (TAB), Vietnam should focus on attracting foreign visitors from Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand. .. who have long travel and spend much.

Therefore, the TAB has proposed to adjust the visa policy for many years so that the tourism industry can achieve the goal of 18.5 million visitors and earn 35 billion USD by 2020. Accordingly, the visa exemption period should increase up to 30 days; abolish the regulation that “Foreigners who enter unilateral visa exemption must be at least 30 days from the last departure from Vietnam”; add more visa-free countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium);  and more countries are eligible for electronic visas. TAB hopes that by 2020, Vietnam will exempt visas for 60 countries and apply electronic visas to 80 countries.


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Near 50% visa stamping fee reduction from 23 November 2015


Decrease Vietnam visa stamping fee from 23, November 2015 under the new Circular 157/2015/TT-BTC on reduction of Vietnam visa fees for foreigners recently issued by the Vietnam Ministry of Finance

The Ministry of Finance has recently issued Circular 157/2015/TT-BTC setting up the regime of collection, remittance and use management of fee for issuance of passports, visas and papers sheet on entry, exit, transit and residence in Vietnam for two subjects including Vietnamese citizens and foreigners as well as overseas Vietnamese.

Starting November 23, the single-entry visa will cost US$25 instead of the current $45, whereas the fee for multiple-entry visas with validity of less than three months will go down from $95 to $50, according to a circular by the Ministry of Finance. Foreigners will still have to pay $95 for the multi-entry visa with validity between three and six months, and $135 for between six months and a year. The fee for a visa valid for between one and two years is $145, and from two to five years, $155.

Visa stamp fee is the amount that you must pay directly to immigration officers at arrival airport for visa stamp. The stamping fee is regulated by the Vietnam Ministry of Finance. Once you complete your visa stamping fee obligation, you will receive an invoice and a visa will be stamped onto your passport.

Stamping fees are to be collected in USD or VND, in cash. Please note that you have credit card with USD, but only VND cash can be withdraw sum of money from your account at ATM station in Vietnam and you have to pay for transaction service fee. Here is the first and very important reason that you should prepare your cash in USD before departure if you don’t want to change from your currency to USD with high exchange rate at the airport or pay for transaction service at ATM.

Visa stamping fee for foreigners changes from 23, November 2015

Visa categories Visa fee
from 23 November
Visa fee
before 23 November
Single entry visa
25 USD 45 USD – 20 USD
Multiple entry visa for 3 months or less
50 USD 95 USD – 45 USD
Upward 3 months to 6 months
95 USD 95 USD 0
Upward 6 months to 1 year
135 USD 135 USD 0
Upward 1 year to 2 years
145 USD 135 USD + 10 USD
Upward 2 years to 5 years
155 USD 135 USD + 20 USD

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Hoi An’s chicken rice

Together with Cao Lau, Hoi An’s chicken rice has now become the signature dish of cuisine culture of Hoi An’s people, which makes ​​up the famous brand in the culinary map for local and foreign tourists when visiting to this cultural world heritage. Chicken rice is a Hoi An’s specialty that you should  enjoy if given the opportunity to visit this place.

Walking through the alleies in Hoi An, tourists will be kept hold of seductive aroma of many delicacies. Plenty of snacks are scattered all over in the corner and the road. There is one thing that many people often transmit to each other that not eating Hoi An’s chicken rice is considered as not really visiting Quang Nam. Maybe this somewhat exaggerated saying stems from hometown pride when it comes to chicken rice – a strong and unforgettable home flavor of Hoi An’s people. However, the fame of Hoi An’s chicken rice is also rated by Lonely Planet – a well-known tourism magazine, as “A tasty dish, it’s something that makes people loving chicken have to give it a try … ”


What makes Hoi An’s chicken rice special features originates the distinction of chicken processing under the “style” of the Central area, ie, shredded chicken is saturatedly squeezed with onion, laksa leaves and spices. Skill of the cook is make the meat taste a little bit fragrant, spicy but not friable and chicken smelling loss.

There is also another way to cook Hoi An’s chicken rice, but people in the area of  Tam Ky – Quang Nam or Da Nang usually processe it in this way. Chicken meat is not only boiled and shredded but also cut into medium pieces, crispy golden fried. The rice in crimson orange color made from the red sweet gourd looks very eye-catching. And in accordance with the Vietnam folk poem ” The chicken clucked, pecked on a lime leaf “, the dish is presented with finely chopped lime leaves. This is similar to “style” of the North, but not makes the plate of chicken rice lose “feature” of the Central with orange-red rice grains cooked in chicken broth, specially flavored with pickled papaya combined with chutney and soy sauce.


Hoi An’s chicken rice is truly a delicious typical dish of the Quang Nam-Da Nang region which sold popularly on the streets. With many famous restuarants such as Ba Bui, Ba Minh, Cika chicken rice in Hoi An or Hong Ngoc and Hai chicken rice in Da Nang, etc,  people come here to enjoy “original” chicken rice with complete shredded chicken, roasted chicken served with onion, leaf lemon, peppermint, pickled papaya. “Hoi An’s chicken rice” will make any picky eater nod to compliment on its flavor.

Interesting experience of eating Hoi An’s chicken rice is that diners can both see a beautifully decorated plate and enjoy every yellow and sleeky rice grain as well as have a chance to sit happily chatting to friends. What a delicious meal! With all the ingenuity and meticulosity in the processing way, Hoi An’s people have created enough unique chicken rice to mark it a special name “Hoi An’s Chicken Rice”.

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How to get a Vietnam visa for Oman passport holders?

From Oman, visitors may apply for Vietnam visa on arrival in just a few hours by submitting visa application online via or get a visa at the Vietnam Embassy in Muscat, Oman in 3 – 5 working days.

Each type of visa application is offering some advantages and disadvantages. Visa on arrival is especially beneficial for those who are living far away from the Vietnamese Embassy; or those who do not want to send off their passport by post; or somebody who are tired of traveling a long distance from time to time and then wait for hours to submit a pile of documents. The other advantages of visa on arrival include faster processing, cost-saving and more efficient payment methods. However, Vietnam visa on arrival is available for air entry only.

Description Visa on arrival Local embassy issued visa
Issued by
Vietnam Immigration Department Vietnam Embassy
Processing time 2 working days (or 2 hours urgent) No information
Processing fee From US$9 (excluding stamp fee) No information
Additional fees
None Postal cost, driving, parking fees
Passport required Not required Required

Apply for Vietnam visa on arrival via

In order to apply for a visa on arrival, you are requested to complete 3 simple steps as follow:

– Firstly, fill in an online application form and make a payment for processing service fee

– Secondly, get a visa approval letter delivered via email within 2 hours (emergency service) or 2 working days (normal service)

– Thirdly, present the original passport, copy of approval letter (in hard copy), 2 photos (at passport sized) and pay the stamping fee to get visa attached on the passport at arrival airport



The citizens of Oman are NOT recommended to apply for visa on arrival since they might be subject to a high service fee (from US$180 – US$225 per visa, excluding stamping fee) to arrange their visa approval letter (more about Vietnam visa exception). If you try to apply for Vietnam visa at the local Vietnam Embassy in Oman or in neighbouring countries but you are denied finally then we are willing to assist. However, there is no guarantee it will be always approved by the Vietnam Immigration Department.
It should be noticed that, below document and information are required to process Vietnam visa on arrival for Omani:
– Your contact in Vietnam;
– Your passport copy;
– Your hotel booking receipt and round trip air ticket.

Learn more how a visa on arrival works

Apply for a Vietnam Embassy visa in Oman

At present, there is no Vietnam Embassy in Oman to issue a visa directly. You will need to apply for a visa on arrival instead or visit the nearest Embassy of Vietnam in neighbouring countries for the help.If you have any further queries, comments or feedback, please kindly call us by +84-912-685-141 or send an email to We are happy to assist you at our best.

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Arrival date changed, is the approval letter valid?


I applied and got the visa approval letter for 1 month single entry visa (from April 17 to May 17). But my plan changed and I will enter Vietnam about 5 days later (April 22). Does this approval letter work? If so, will I have 1 month in Vietnam or I must exit Vietnam by May 17 if I use this letter?


Be kindly informed that there is no problem if you actual entry date is later than the date issued in the approval letter. You are allowed to enter Vietnam 5 days later (April 22) without re-apply visa. However, the letter of approval is valid through 17 May that even you arrive later, your visa will be expired on May 17 as stated in the approval letter.

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How Indian living in Singapore apply for Vietnam visa?

Vietnam immigration policy regulated that all Indian citizens do need a visa to enter Vietnam for leisure or business purposes. From Singapore, Indian applicants may have 2 options to get a visa to Vietnam: getting a visa at the Vietnam Embassy in Singapore or applying for an online visa. Vietnam online visa (known as e-visa or visa on arrival) seems to be the easiest way for Indian citizens to get a visa for Vietnam if they want to avoid the complicated procedures and bureaucracy.

There are about 350,000 overseas Indian citizens who is living in Singapore nowadays. Many of them make a choice to depart for Vietnam from Singapore directly for leisure or business purposes. However, in order to enter Vietnam they are obliged to apply for a Vietnam visa. From Singapore, Indian applicants might choose to visit the Vietnam Embassy to apply for a visa in person as follow:

Embassy of Vietnam in Singapore, Singapore

Address: 10 Leedon Park St., SINGAPORE 267887
Phone: (65) 64625994
Fax: (65) 6462 5936

Office hours: Monday – Friday
Morning: 8.30 AM – 12.00 PM
Afternoon: 2.30 PM – 5.30 PM
Visa hours: Monday – Friday 9.00 AM – 12.00 PM
Normally, Vietnam embassy visa application will take 5 – 7 working days and the Indian applicants must prepare some qualified documents before queuing in font of the embassy to submit their Vietnam visa application, including:
– A valid passport is a passport claiming to have been issued by the applicant’s country which has at least 6 months validity and 2 blank pages for visa stamp
– Entry permit form (which can vary from one Vietnamese Embassy to another)
– Two photos (usually 4 cmx6 cm or 3 cmx4 cm)
– Visa fee
The Indian citizens who plan to travel Vietnam for business purpose then a business visa (3 months validity, single or multiple entry) is required and they need to provide a sponsorship letter by a licensed Vietnamese company. Vietnam visa processed by the Vietnam Embassy has been known as complicated and bureaucracy procedures. The applicants might not only wait for a long time to have their visa stamped on the passport but also spend much money on it. There is another choice that Indian visitors can make to simplify their application procedure, that is Vietnam visa on arrival.

Apply for Vietnam visa on arrival

To apply for a Vietnam visa on arrival, Indian citizens living in Singapore just follow some simple steps:

1. Complete an online application form (which take a few minutes)
2. Conduct a payment online via PayPal or Western Union or bank wire transfer (which take a few minutes to hours)
3. Wait for visa approval letter delivered by email (which can be done within 2 working days for normal processing visa or just 2 hours for emergency processing visa)
4. Get your visa approval letter printed and bring with your passport, 2 photos and stamping fee to board the flight. At arrival airport, an entry and exit form will be required to fill in and a visa will be stamped on the passport.

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Vietnam visa for transit flight in Ho Chi Minh City Airport


I am traveling from the UK to Phnom Penh with a 1 hour stop at HCM Airport Vietnam. Do I need a visa?


No, you don’t have to provide your Vietnam visa if you won’t leave the airport’s connecting counter. However, some airlines may require you to provide Vietnam visa before they allow you to board the flight to Vietnam so it is advised that you contact your airline for further information.


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Vietnam visa threaten to be canceled



Slightly complicated situation but if anyone can help me out and see if my company’s threats are bark or just bite. I just came back on a visa run and got a new 3 month B3 visa which they helped acquire for me. My company is saying that unless I sign a new contract with them (a very unfavorable one) they will inform the authorities and cancel my visa.

Thus my question is:
1. Can my visa actually be revoked/cancelled by my company
2. If it can be, what would my options for staying in Vietnam be? Visa Run? New Visa acquired in Vietnam?




Dear Mzonis,

We suppose that you use your business visa to work in Vietnam without work permit, that’s not allowed. You will have many troubles if your company inform the authorities and you might be deported then.

Your company couldn’t revoke or cancel your visa but you might be accused you of working illegally and that’s really annoying.

We suggest that you had better apply for a work permit as soon as possible and keep out of reach of your old boss and company. If you don’t want to have anything related to them, you can leave Vietnam for Cambodia and return with new 3 months visa. It’s should be noticed that all 3 months visa must be guaranteed by a commercial company or organisation and your current visa is sponsored by them.

When you return to Vietnam from Cambodia, please contact with a visa agency to arrange you another visa without any threat.

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Vietnam visa for volunteers


Hi there,

My partner and I are going to volunteer in Vietnam for a few months in early 2014. We will probably be there for about 3 months but I was wondering what kind of visas we will need to get?

From looking around I have found that we will need a business visa because what we will be doing is technically ‘work’ but other places have told me other wise.

Can anyone please advise what kind of visas we will need?




Dear Maddier,

We believe that being a volunteer you aren’t paid for what you are doing or your income might be from organization outside of Vietnam. In this case, a business visa (3 month single or multiple entry visa) is quite appropriate.

Best regards,


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Flying into Vietnam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Danang?



You have three popular choices for flying into Vietnam: Saigon, Hanoi, and Da Nang.

Before arriving at one of Vietnam’s three major international airports, you’ll have to have a travel visa already in your passport or a Visa Approval Letter to receive your visa on arrival at the airport. If you arrive without a visa, you will be denied entry into the country.

Should you fly to Saigon or Hanoi?

Obviously, your trip itinerary and plans should be taken into account, however, most people wishing to see the entire country start in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).

For different reasons, flying into Saigon (airport code: SGN) is almost always cheaper than flying into Hanoi (airport code: HAN). In fact, Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat Airport handles approximately 75% of all international traffic in and out of Vietnam. If you intend to see the entire country, consider starting in the south and then applying the difference in flight costs to take the scenic Reunification Express train from Saigon to places of interest in the north, including Hanoi. When leaving Vietnam to fly home, structure your trip so that you can fly out of Saigon.

The cheapest flights to Vietnam typically originate from Bangkok, Singapore, and China. The state-run Vietnam Airlines handles international flights to Australia, Europe and the United States.International flights depart from Terminal 2 at the airport in Saigon.

Vietnam Airlines is a member of the SkyTeam alliance; with a little luck you’ll be rewarded with Delta SkyMiles when flying with them.

Airports in Vietnam

The airports in Saigon and Hanoi are functional and very easy to navigate.

Because the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Saigon is located within the city and cannot be easily expanded, construction on a new international airport is already underway. The new Long Thanh International Airport will be located around 31 miles northeast of Saigon and is expected to start handling flights in 2020.

Vietnam Departure Tax

An international departure tax of US $14 for adults and US $7 for children is levied when you fly out of Vietnam. Some airlines include the tax in the price of your ticket. If the departure tax is not included in your ticket price, you’ll need to go to a counter to pay before you get to your gate.

A very insignificant tax (less than US $1) is added to domestic departures.

Tip: Spend all of your Vietnamese dong before exiting the country. Exchanging dong outside of Vietnam is nearly impossible. The airport in Hanoi does not have money-changing facilities once you pass through the immigration checkpoint.

Getting around Vietnam

Getting around Vietnam has its challenges, however, fares are still surprisingly cheap for the distances covered. Vietnam’s unique shape means that most tourist stops are strung out along the north-south route between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

Aside from the most expensive option of hiring a private driver, you have three primary options for getting around Vietnam: flights, buses, and trains. Foreigners are not allowed to rent or drive cars.

While foreigners can get away with driving scooters in Vietnam without a license, make sure you’ve got what it takes to contend in the famously congested streets of Saigon or Hanoi before renting one. Scooters are a great way to reach the sights in smaller places such as the sand dunes in Mui Ne.



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