Note: I arrived in Vietnam on a Business Visa since I was supposed to volunteer here. But, the Vietnam Visa on Arrival process is pretty much the same as their Business Visa
After my third attempt to come to Vietnam, I have finally made it here! And, I cannot even begin to explain how awesome it has been so far. As an Indian passport holder, we are eligible to get a Vietnam Visa on Arrival. But, the process is slightly different than usual.
In Vietnam, you must already have a visa invitation letter to get the visa stamp at any of the designated Vietnam airports. However, it isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
To get a Vietnam Visa on arrival, you need the following documents:
- Your original passport with at least 6 months validity and two blank pages
- 2 recent photographs
- Visa pre-approval letter
- $25 Stamping fee
Now, let us talk about this in detail.
A visa pre-approval letter is nothing but a visa invitation letter that you can easily get through a trusted travel agent. You can get it from an agent in person or just use one of the many agencies available online. I cannot really recommend anyone because I didn’t have to go through this, but I would suggest to check for reviews online before you decide to pick one.
Also, at this point, I must let you know that you will have to pay a processing fee to the agent responsible to get you the pre-approval letter. And, this fee is not the same as the stamping fee.
Once you have the letter and the rest of the documents, you only have to walk up to the visa fee counter at the airport and show them the letter. The officer at the counter will take the letter along with your passport and the photos. Wait a few minutes for your passport to return with the visa stamp on it and hand over the Vietnam visa stamping fee of $25 to the officer.
From what I hear and read, if you are planning to stay longer that 30 days in the country, it is better to get the visa on arrival that an e-visa. I am guessing that is because you cannot extend the e-visa.
In my case, I have a business visa for Vietnam for three months since I am here volunteering with a school. The process has been fairly similar for me.
I am teaching near Ha Noi, but I arrived at Da Nang International Airport. My school had arranged the invitation letter for me and sent it via email. At the visa counter, I showed the invitation letter to the officer who then asked for my passport and photos. I waited less than 5 minutes and she returned with my passport and visa stamp. And, then she asked for the stamping fee. That’s it. No questions asked!
Exchanging your currency to Vietnamese Dong is extremely easy as long as you carry one of the major currencies with you. Personally, I exchanged my Indian Rupees to USD and had no problem getting Vietnamese Dong in exchange.
Also, you can easily exchange money at one of the many souvenir and jewelry shops. I would avoid to do it at the airport because of high transaction fee. Also, some of the exchange counters didn’t deal in INR.
You can always use your credit or debit card here as far as your bank has been notified of your travel plans and you are allowed to use the cards internationally. I was told that my international card may not work online here, but I booked my train from Da Nang to Ha Noi with it, and it worked perfectly. Be ready to pay a service fee though.
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