My Experience Applying For A Vietnam E-Visa With A US Passport

I’ll be headed to Vietnam soon thanks to some great business class fares that Qatar Airways published earlier in the year. While I could just do a “direct turn” in Vietnam, I figured I’d spend a couple of nights in Ho Chi Minh City, as it has been about a decade since I last visited.

Last year my entry into Vietnam was a mess. I totally forgot that Vietnam required visas in advance, so I ended up having to pay an arm and a leg to use a last minute emergency visa service.

The great news is that earlier this year Vietnam introduced single entry e-visas for nationals of 40 countries (here are the eligible countries), including the United States. I just went through the process of applying for an e-visa, and figured I’d report back on the process, which was quite easy.

To request an e-visa for Vietnam first visit this page, which has all the basics. The whole process took maybe 10 minutes, and within two days my e-visa was approved (it’s not an instant process).

You’ll want to select the “for foreigners” option, which will bring you to a page explaining what you’ll need.

The only slightly annoying part is that you have to upload a copy of both your passport picture page and a portrait picture. The good news is that neither of these pictures have to be “professional.” I just used my iPhone to take a picture of my passport’s picture page, and then took a portrait picture with my iPhone, and uploaded that. That did the trick.

The rest of the form is easy to fill out, as they just ask for the basics.

The one area of the form that confused me was that I wasn’t sure if I should enter my exact arrival and departure date for requesting when the e-visa should be valid. I could see them giving me issues if the dates didn’t match. However, after entering my exact dates, the next page automatically showed the “valid” dates as being a month around my dates, so it seems that answered my question.

After verifying my information I was given a verification code. It’s very important that you take note of your verification code, as you’ll need it later on.

I was then brought to a separate website where I was asked to pay the $25 visa fee. Note that they don’t take American Express cards, and there’s also a ~$1 fee for paying by credit card.

For what it’s worth, this payment doesn’t seem to qualify as any sort of travel bonus category, as I earned a single point per dollar on my Sapphire Reserve.

Once that was processed I received a payment invoice confirming my payment.

I was told that it typically takes about three days to have your visa approved. My expectation was that I’d receive an email confirming my visa application and the registration code. However, I never received that, and also never received an email confirming that my visa was approved.

So make sure you take a screenshot of your registration code, because you’ll need it in order to get your e-visa later on. It could be I did something wrong during the process, but I find it bizarre that they don’t email you when it’s approved, or send you an email with that code.

After a few days I went to the e-visa search menu to check on the status of my application. There I entered my registration code, email, and date of birth.

That page confirmed that my e-visa had been approved, and gave me a link where I could download and print the one page e-visa.

Bottom line

The process of applying for a Vietnamese e-visa was super easy. It took about 10 minutes, cost $25, and was approved within a couple of days, so that’s a great improvement over the old system. There are a few things to be aware of during the process, but otherwise this is a really user-friendly system they have, in my opinion.

If you’ve applied for a Vietnamese e-visa, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. Watch your stuff at vietnam airports. The staff there has been known to swipe items even when just going through the metal detectors. Members of their own government have fallen victim to this as well.

  2. Similar experience – easy. Took a photo with my iphone as well and that worked just fine. A lot better than handing my passport over at the Consulate prior to travel as before. One less full page visa in the passport, extending its life a little longer.

  3. I would add, bring a printout of the visa approval. I am sure they could look it up, but they did ask for it when I went through customs at Hanoi airport this year.

  4. Where are you staying in HCMC? I had a great stay at the Park Hyatt! Enjoy Vietnam..I can’t wait to return in December.

  5. @smitty. They do offer multiple entry visas, but unfortunately have to go the old fashioned way (no eVisa).

  6. I just got mine last night for a trip starting next week. The process was exactly as you explained. Rather than take a separate portrait photo I just cropped the photo from my passport and that, along with the passport data page was accepted.

    I have another series of trips beginning in January and need a 3 month multi entry visa for that. Thus far have found the Vietnam Government website to be problematic. I think for that I will use a visa service.

  7. Man, I wish Australia was on the list for eVisa’s. Getting a visa prior to arrival at the Embassy cost $140AUD (~$110USD) and was a bit of a cluster. You can get a VoA at SGN but if you’re coming in on a full plane (or with multiple planes), you will likely be waiting an hour or more just to get the visa and then another hour to clear security.

  8. Hi Ben, just wondering why you are getting a Vietnam visa with your US passport?
    Are you aware German citizens can enter Vietnam visa-free (no fee at all) for up to 14 days?

  9. I went last year and used Vietnam Visa Pro. Things may have changed, but then your evisa was a voucher to get a real visa or something and you had to wait in line at the airport and exchange it and pay something like another $45 stamp fee and there were rumors that this process could take more than an hour. It was my first visit to Vietnam and I didn’t want to deal with it. I don’t remember the details, but for around $40 I paid for my wife and I to use the Visa Pro and they met us at the plane with a sign, dealt quickly with the stamp and drove us to our hotel.

    Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi was great for 10,000 Honors points/night 4th night free. We stayed 10 nights. Free breakfast and self-serve laundry too.

  10. I was highly skeptical when I did this back for my trip in May of this year. I was happy that I saved and PDF printed everything especially that code you mentioned though I remember getting an email, not sure I recall if it was contained there. Smooth process, no issues getting through either as I heard some agents try to haggle for a “cash pay” upon entry.

    Stayed at both Renaissance and Park Hyatt, both amazing options. Loved the Renaissance breakfast buffet and afternoon coffee/snacks. Didn’t have globalist until now to enjoy the buffet but it looked glorious.

  11. The really interesting part is when you want to take advantage of Vietnam’s visa waiver for visiting Phu Quoc island. At least when I went in May, it’s totally allowed, but it seemed like immigration staff had no idea how to process me on entry. If you plan on doing this, I’d advise going straight to the immigration assistance counter (don’t even bother getting in the passport control line) and having a very simple, concise printout with your dates and flight numbers to prove you’re only transiting through and you’re not spending any time in HCMC or Hanoi, etc.

    At SGN, an airport employee eventually escorted me through the checkpoint, I got my entry stamp, and he walked me out of the airport and over to the domestic terminal for my flight to Phu Quoc. I figured since I had a stamp, the return would be easy, so I made the mistake of getting right into the passport control line line. The immigration official seemed completely flustered when he opened my passport and saw no visa. I was whisked away and spent a very nervous 20 minutes or so inside a roped-off area before I was cleared to proceed. I was happy to save the money but the process of taking advantage of the waiver was about as confusing as possible. Anyone have better luck than me? Did I miss something obvious?

  12. ‘Tis a pity Australia is not on the list. Had to use an agent, and say goodbye to my passport for a couple of weeks to get my last visa. If you stay in Saigon – I strongly recommend you stay at the Intercontinental Asiana (my review and trip reports: http://wp.me/p99oNJ-T ). The Park Hyatt is tempting, but I think in terms of service the Asiana is better.

  13. I’m lucky we Singaporeans do not need visa for Vietnam if were visiting up to 30 days. I stayed at the majestic hotel in HCM. Not part of any chain but I do recommend the really nice and awesome service given at Majestic

  14. This recently changed, I got dinged with the 1 year multi-entry visa as being the only visa available to Americans. $135 out of pocket.

  15. Hi Ben, yes – I agree with PW – pretty sure your German passport would have got you in for 15 days Visa free? I think Germany currently has a similar exemption to the U.K. (although the UK’s runs out at the end of June 2018).

  16. Visa processing has become much easier over the last years. Been living in Saigon for the last 4 years. Would recommend to stay at Hotel des Arts – nicer than the PH and still walking distance from all central attractions. Many good restaurants (The Deck in Thao Dien for a unique experience by the river, Shri on top of Centec Tower, Qui for good cocktails on a Thursday/ Friday night, Cafe Runam on Pasteur for best Coffee in town – or the Workshop Coffee, Propaganda for a good Vn inspired food experience, L Usine, Sorae for best sushi, etc) – let me know when you re in town. Lots to see and do.

  17. I am traveling next week. I got my approval letter for $15 and will get Visa on arrival at the airport for $25. Your way was less expensive, had I known this was an option, I would have got an e-visa.

  18. I just used a visa service and it was even easier for me, absolutely no problems, although just like you, they didn’t notify me by email either.

  19. The process was super easy. Remember to print out the PDF. Also they look at at exit immigration to stamp you out. PH HCMC is worth a stay.

  20. Just went to Vietnam on my German passport 2 months ago and can confirm I had no issues getting in without prior visa/eVisa as long as you stay less than 15 days.

  21. Much easier and legit process than a couple years ago with those somewhat sketchy third party websites you had to use.

  22. Richard is right. You’ll need the e-Visa for exit as well. I folded it, and kept it paper-clipped in my passport.

    But it was super easy an no problems for entry or exit in HCMC.

  23. I avoided going to Vietnam previously because the visa process was a pain and seemed super shady, and some have pointed out. I have choices and I chose to spend my money where they made it easy. Now that this e-visa is in place I will totally start planning a trip to Vietnam in the next year or two.

  24. I got an eVisa in a similar way, and went to Da Nang, Vietnam in August this year. The customs process was very quick and painless; the officer didn’t speak a lick of English, looked at my passport and printed out visa, stamped me, and I was on my way. Very easy.

  25. I also booked the Qatar Airways Sale flight. Later I saw that Germans may enter visafree for 15 days, if 30 days leavning Vietnam the last time passed. Between my Qatar Airways flights were only 8 days, so I flew LUX-LHR-DOH-SGN-DOH-GRU-EZE in 54 hours. On return I entered Vietnam. Nevertheless, every time I was asked at the CheckIn for a Vietnam visa, after comment that Germans do not need a visa and I want to stay anyway in the transit area, I passed all areas.

  26. i applied 2 days ago, and it is still in “processing”.

    do i need to bring another photo or anything besides the printed out e-visa (and my passport, of course)?

    and thank you for telling me to make sure i keep it handy for exiting the country as well!

  27. Entry into Vietnam is a little confusing: I’ve been doing some research and acquiring a visa seems to be a two-step process: 1) a pre-approved visa with a letter stating such and 2) final approval given either at the airport or directly from the consulate/embassy.

    The latter involves sending them a copy (or original!) passport to the embassy with an $80 check, return mailing label, and additional passport size photos. They would then send back an approval letter. Is the e-visa process mentioned here the final stop to entering the country, or is there something else one must deal with/pay for upon arrival? Thank you!

  28. What order do you put your name in??? Is it last name followed by given names (like in the photo example of SPECIMEN MARTIN) or is it First name, middle name, last name like it asks for in the PNR section????

    Confused now,

    I assume it should follow the format of SPECIMEN (surname) then MARTIN (given name).

  29. I applied for the Evisa 5 days ago and application still shows in processing. Emailed there support but no response. Flights in 2 days, What to do???

  30. Rody, I’m in the same situation. I sent my application on 13th December. I plan to wait one more day and if it’s still ‘in processing’ I’ll apply for ‘Visa on Arrival’. I’m flying out on 22nd December.

  31. Hello! I’m terribly dumb and didn’t even think about getting a visa. Having done Singapore and other countries in Asia and Europe – it did t cross my mind until researching. I applied for the e-Visa on Wednesday 12/20 (which was 12/21 for them) I fly on Wednesday the 26th. I put 12/27 as my arrival but realized I couldn’t even get to HKG (first leg) w/out the visa. I wonder if they prirotirze based on arrival date? Has anyone missed their flight due to this? Any tips on the visa upon arrival?

  32. So, I downloaded my evisa. It’s one page as you said but….

    The photo I sent them is not included on the visa? Is this normal? It’s a text only doccument. Wondering why they ask for the photo if they don’t use it?

    Should I be concerned?

  33. I tried to apply but at after filling up my personal details and after waiting for the “loading…” icon to disappear, nothing happens, and no registration code is showed.
    I also checked if pop ups are blocked, and unblocked them on my Chrome browser and tried again, but with same result. Anyone else experiencing this?

  34. I am a monk and will be traveling through Vietnam as a connecting flight to Honolulu. I need to get a visa for my boarding pass (!). Does anyone know if this really really works and there is no more money to pay? I do not touch money and I will be arranging this with a donor. If I need money at the gate, things could be difficult for my life.

    Also, how long in advance can one apply for a trip? I would guess I should do this LESS than 30 days from my connecting flight.

  35. Hi all there is an updated country list for E-Visa and Australia is included.

    Is the E-Visa well established with no hassle entry thru Vietnam immigration or are you better getting a preissued visa from the consulate before travel?

  36. This page was very helpful, thanks! Just to be clear, a letter isn’t needed with this e-visa correct? Also, the evisa ended up processing with a departure date two days after I actually leave. Will this be an issue? Thanks so much!

  37. Awesome blog post, thanks for the information – really detailed and useful.

    I’m having a bit of a dilemma. I applied 7 days ago for my e-visa and I’m going to Vietnam tomorrow. After they processed my visa, I noticed that the last two digits of my passport were incorrect in the application. However, they still granted me my visa, even with the error. I’ve tried to contact them over 10 times, email phone and the rest of it, to see if I can still enter with this error on the visa?

    After all, they did approve it and grant me the visa, right? Just concerned about being stopped when trying to board the flight, or being denied entry upon arrival.

    Thank you in advance

    BTW – I hold an Australian passport

    Nat

  38. Ok i applied. Got an email confirming application. Confirming payment. Confirming processed. Received them in 3 business days.
    Downloaded it easy process.

  39. Hey everyone, thanks for a great blog on this process. I’ve been reading everyone’s comments which has been very helpful.
    o
    I’m traveling to Vietnam in a couple of weeks and flying into Saigon (HCM) and will be going down to Phu Quoc for a week and then flying from Hanoi into Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and then finally back to Saigon.

    I guess my questions are:

    1. Do I need a visa traveling to Phu Quoc since it’s an island off of the Southern Coast of Vietnam?

    2. Do I simply apply a separate visa for Cambodia?

    Thanks.

  40. Has anyone had any issues with entry if their intended entry and exit airports were different from their actual VISA? I’m still trying to figure out if I’m going to fly into Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.

    Thanks for any help!

  41. Do you still have to bring a few passport sized photos to the airport if you uploaded the digital image?

  42. March 29, 2018 – American traveler. This will be my 20th trip to Vietnam (for work). In January I used VOA letter at Hanoi as usual. This trip I applied for the eVIsa. It’s about 3 days now and still IN PROCESSING but no rush as I don’t depart until April 10.

    The form and payment is easy enough but one small thing I did not like. When you upload your photos, their display is distorted (bad HTML programming there) which could be confusing for some people.

    The VOA letter is great but you could wind up stuck at the VOA arrival area for a long time if it’s really busy. There has been times I was waiting there and then one guy shows up with 26 passports and hands them over the desk. I am looking forward to proceeding to the immigration desk.

  43. I found this article and the previously posted comments super helpful in my e-visa application process, so I thought I’d share some details from my experience that others might find useful.

    First of all, I am a U.S. passport holder and I applied for a 1 month, single entry e-visa. My husband applied for the same. He is also American. We both submitted our e-visa applications yesterday afternoon following the tips provided in the article. I used the website linked in the article and also used photos (passport page & portrait) snapped on my iPhone. The application will only allow photos smaller than 1 megabyte (I believe) to be uploaded, so you’d do well to pay attention to photo size before trying to fill out your application.

    I woke up this morning (less than 24 hours later) and my visa was already approved. However, my husband’s visa application is still in “processing” status. It seems as though they’ve improved their email notification system. I received a confirmation email and a payment confirmation email after submitting my visa application. I also received an email notice this morning letting me know that my visa had been approved.

    We aren’t going to arrive in Vietnam until April 18th, so I can’t say how things will go with the e-visa when we get there…I am going to print a couple copies of our visa approval letters (assuming my husband’s visa gets approved in the next few days) and I think I’ll also save a copy of the letter (just in case) on my phone. I’ll let everyone know how it goes when we get there. Fingers crossed!!

  44. Hi thank you for all your info it was a great help. I followed your link on Tuesday evening & completed the Vietnam online e-visa for myself & my husband, everything was very straightforward but I did have a little difficulty with the passport page download as it kept coming up as too large but I just cropped the photo & it loaded fine. We got email confirmations for both the payments & acknowledgement of applications immediately. Wednesday evening my husband received an email confirming his visa had been granted & I received mine Friday am so all great so far. I will print out the visas and see how it all goes at the airport. … fingers crossed x

  45. Anybody from 2018 that did this process and has come back with no problems care to share their story?

    Thanks

  46. I used it for a transfer April 9th 2018. I went through the immigration line with no problems at all.
    Easy as pie.
    Follow the instructions carefully and give good pictures.

  47. Just arrived in Hanoi yesterday (25/4/2018) from Manilla no problems whatsoever with our e-visas.
    At Manilla we had to show our e-visa at the check in desk (Cebu Pacific ), on arrival at Hanoi we went straight to the immigration desk, we handed over our passports & e-visa printouts, passports were stamped & off we went… so much easier & cheaper than going via an agent x
    P’S get a print out the e-visa i’m not sure if its necessary but it made things a lot easier

  48. I applied for the e-visa online this week (April 24, 2018) and it was very easy. Pay attention to the questions and format, keep your reference # and have Visa or MC for payment. I received back confirmation via e-mail in 2 days and followed the link to print the visa approval form and now I am ready to go! Thanks for the info!!

  49. I and my husband will be flying into Ho Chi Mien City and taking a flight to Cambodia the same day. Then we will be return to Viet Nam via a cruise on the Mekong Delta nine days later. Do I need two visas or should I get a multi entry visa?

    Thanks !

  50. I just took a photo of my passport page, then cropped it with paint to create a photo needed, so lets see if thats good enough ;). Thing is, my passport was issues in August 2014, but I look exactly the same, so hopefully, they approve it…fingers crossed.

  51. Hi i just got my e-visa for Vietnam, i don’t see my scanned photo on it.
    Only a QR code and some details i filled in
    Do they scan the QR code and get all the info?

  52. I’ve trying to apply E-Visa from the mentioned site by using either Chrome Browser or Internet Explorer. After filling out all required field and click on review. The screen was displaying “Loading” for a few seconds and stopped on the same page again. No confirmation number displayed or error message. I clicked on the “review” button again, and same happened. Does anyone has the same problem like mine lately? Glad to hear your story

  53. Don’t worry. The person who complained about a missing photo made everyone worried including me. I USED THE EVISA in VIETNAM April 9th, 2018 and IT WORKED. It will have the letter head and qr code on it. It is real and works.

  54. Did anyone have to pay a “stamping fee” on arrival? I obtained my e-visa with no worries, but have now read on other websites of the need to have Vietnamese dong or USD ready for this additional fee? TIA, Fiona.

  55. Stamping Fee? Last time I went never had to and did the invitation letter last time. This time I’m pretty sure you should be good with just this E-visa, your passport for ID and maybe Flight Details. Stamping Fee sounds like a scam or corrupt officer if you run into that BS.

    Anyways……..

    This still works and is the best way to go about it as it saves money and time.

    I’m a U.S. Citizen who applied with the e-visa at the official site described HERE on this blog: https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/trang-chu-ttdt

    I clicked to the page and filled in the information requested as best as I could as a “outside Vietnam foreigners”. Things like religion I just put None and I put my last address I lived at which honestly doesn’t matter to them.

    The tricky part I thought would be the portrait photo so I took a gamble and just got my android phone and took a selfie and cropped it to mid height of my shoulders like the example they had, differences being my weight decreased dramatically since my passport (2016), had a teal shirt on this time and a pink wall in the background lol. Either way they accepted it since I submitted and paid (05/30/2018). I got the e-visa today (06/01/2018). Quick and easy.

  56. I have successfully used the e-visa twice, for entering Hanoi. First, to answer some poster’s concerns.
    1. There is no photo appearing on the final visa. It is on their computer from your submission.
    2. There is no additional fee – $25 is the total amount, plus $1 CC fee.
    3. Works fine for me via Microsoft Edge. 3 days elapsed both times. Sure is an improvement over visiting an Embassy.

    I do have two questions generated via my experience:
    1. Upon arriving Hanoi the first time, I went straight to the Immigration queue and was told I must get the visa stamped at the VOA counter first. The second arrival I went to the VOA counter first and it was implied I did not have to – however they stamped it anyhow. Anyone know which is correct?
    2. At the time of both entries, you could use the e-visa to enter via airports at Hanoi, Danang or HCM only. However, I did exit (naively, perhaps) via Dalat. I am not sure this is formerly allowed and it seemed to confuse the Immigration agents, but no objections were raised. Does anyone know if exiting Vietnam has any restrictions as to which cities are allowed for exits with an e-visa?

  57. Hello guys! Could I get a multiple entry visa from this website? Or does the visa they grant you include this? I’m going to travel to vietnam soon but I won’t just stay here I’ll travel around asia and will come back to Vietnam again.

  58. Thanks for a helpful article. I’m about to apply for the first time, and one point of confusion for me is that the Vietnam Embassy site ( http://visa.vietnamembassy-usa.org/) also has an application for visas for US passport holders, and they offer 3, 6, and 1 year options, but the website this article links to says it is 30 days max. Has anyone successfully applied for a 3-month visa (or any visa) using the Embassy site?

  59. Some answers to questions I experienced myself.
    It is a single entry visa not mulsti entry.
    It works and works easy.
    I didn’t have to go to any other place to get stmps.. only the immigration desk.
    You don’t have to pay more.
    US passport is a US passport and most of US Vietnam immigrants are Chinese anyway.
    The Vietnam emabassy in the USA and Myanmar refuses to recognize that this is a valid visa. Don’t worry.
    It works . The scammer sites wish to confuse people and maybe some questions here are from them.

  60. Question: Planning to apply for the evisa. Flying into Ho Chi Minh from Male, Maldives via Singapore. After two days in HCM, we are flying to Hanoi. I assume one entry is good, correct? Because I am not leaving the country and re-entering?
    Afterward, we are going to Laos and Cambodia. I read something that you can’t enter those countries by land or something like that from Vietnam. Does this sound correct?

  61. You are correct – one e-visa is good for all of Vietnam and you can enter via HCM and exit via Hanoi (air). If you are leaving via a land border into another country, you should be able to exit via the land borders that are supported by the e-visa (as listed on the site. I am not certain about the e-visa for exiting Vietnam from other borders or entry requirements into those countries. I did exit Vietnam once on an e-visa via Dalat (air), which is not listed on the site as an entry port; the officers seemed confused, but it was accepted without any hassle.

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