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We have visited Vietnam many times; in fact, one of our team members is about to head to Vietnam in a few weeks. As an American, we need to get a visa to enter Vietnam. There are three methods:
- Visit your local Vietnamese Consulate. There are four: Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco and Houston. In terms of expense, this falls in the ‘medium’ range — anywhere from $80 – $135.
- Hire a visa service here in the United States to do it for you. This is generally the most expensive option, where you pay the fees from Option #1 in addition to their service charge.
- Email a vendor in Vietnam for Visa-on-Arrival. This is by far the cheapest option, which will cost you $25 for the visa + $20 or so for the vendor.
The downside of option 1 and 2 is that you will be without your passport for a few days. Option 3, while the least expensive, always makes us a bit hesitant – you will receive an email with the approval letter and passport numbers of everyone who applied through that vendor in that time period. We have always gone with Option 3 as the turnaround time is pretty quick, despite the lack of data privacy.
But all this is now obsolete! As of February 1st, 2017, Vietnam has introduced an online e-Visa system for citizens of 40 countries. Lucky for Americans, we are one of them. You apply online and in 3 days, you’ll know whether or not you are approved.
The benefits are:
- You keep your passport in your possession during the process
- You are not dealing with another vendor like the old Visa-on-Arrival process
- A flat $25 fee for a single entry, 30-day visa. This is the cheapest option now. The old Visa-on-Arrival was $25 for the visa plus the vendor fee which is usually another $20.
To apply, go to the Vietnam Web Portal on Immigration e-Visa Page. The page is available in English and Vietnamese.
We are excited about this beneficial change. Not only is this cheaper than all the other options out there, but we deal directly with the Vietnamese Government versus some third party vendor to get this done. We hope you get to take advantage of this new system!
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