The Complete Guide to Getting a Vietnam Visa in 2023

As a seasoned Vietnam travel expert with over 5 years of experience helping travelers obtain visas, I’ve seen all the ins and outs of Vietnam’s visa process. For 2023, the rules and regulations around getting a visa for Vietnam remain largely the same. Here is my complete expert guide to getting your visa easily and smoothly.

The first decision is choosing between a visa on arrival vs. visa in advance. Getting a visa on arrival is the simplest option, but can mean long waits in airport lines. A visa in advance takes more planning but means faster airport entry.

Visa on Arrival

Vietnam offers visa on arrival approval letters, which you present at the airport along with passport photos and a stamping fee to get your actual visa. The pros of this option are that you don’t need to send in your passport in advance. The cons are notoriously long arrival lines that can take 2+ hours to clear. This can ruin your first day in Vietnam recovering from a long flight.

Visa on Arrival (Vietnam Visa)

To get a visa on arrival letter, you must apply online in advance on a site like This costs around $25. Be sure to apply at least 5 days before your trip, earlier if possible. The approval letter will be emailed to you. Print multiple copies to be safe.

Visa in Advance

With this option, you send your passport, application form, photos, and a visa fee to the Vietnamese consulate closest to you. They stick the full visa in your passport and mail it back. I recommend this method as wait times are much shorter on arrival. The consulate in San Francisco charges $110 for a 1-month single-entry visa taking 5-7 business days.

Visa in Advance

The consulate in Houston charges $95 for a faster 1-day service. Check for the consulate covering your state. Pay the extra fee for guaranteed fast return shipping. Track your passport closely to ensure it arrives back in time for your trip.

Other Tips

Make sure your passport has 6+ months of validity left, as Vietnam requires this.

Get visa photos from pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, etc. Don’t cut corners with bad photos that could cause rejection.

Request 30-day double or multiple-entry visas if planning trips to Cambodia or Laos and re-entry to Vietnam.

Vietnam no longer offers visas-on-arrival for U.S. citizens, only approval letters. Know the difference.

If visiting just Phu Quoc Island, you can get a 30-day visa-exempt entry, saving the hassle of visas!

Hope this guide has been helpful and provides everything you need to know to get your Vietnam visa with minimum hassle in 2023! Let me know if you have any other specific questions.

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