One of the most common questions we hear from U.S. travelers planning a trip to Vietnam is not typically about where to find the ultimate gifts or tastiest food (although those are excellent questions!). More often than not, travelers ask “Do you need a visa to go to Vietnam?”
The short answer is yes – U.S. citizens need a visa to enter Vietnam. Below, we outline the different visa options you have, as well as what you need to do to obtain a visa before your trip.
Types of Vietnam Visas
Two types of Vietnam visas are available, with your choice depending on the intent of your trip. If you’re traveling primarily for business, you’ll want to obtain a business visa. Those heading overseas for leisure will want to get a tourist visa.
Both visa types have different entry and validity parameters. Your business or tourist visa can be valid for single entry or multiple entries, for periods that range from one month to one year.
How to Get a Vietnam Visa
While U.S. citizens can technically apply for an e-visa online or try to get approval for a visa upon arrival, the recommendation is to obtain a visa in advance. E-visas are not accepted at every port of entry, and travelers have reported issues with unexpected and exorbitant fees involved with getting a visa upon arrival.
Obtaining a Vietnam visa in advance also gives you peace of mind that you have the required documentation on hand and can enter the country with the least amount of worry, surprises, or hassle. You can go about it one of two ways:
- Visit a Vietnamese consulate or embassy directly to provide your required visa application materials.
- Use a third-party service, such as Swift, to handle all the details for you. If you need a visa quickly, this is a great option – you can have your visa in hand in one or two business days if needed.
All applications for a Vietnam visa require submitting a number of documents:
- Valid passport: Must be valid for six months beyond your intended stay and contain at least two blank, consecutive pages
- Visa application: Must be completed online and then printed and signed for submission
- Passport photos: Submit two photos that align with passport photo guidelines
Business visas also require:
- Letter of intent: Include a letter from a U.S.-based company that outlines your intended business activity during your trip as well as details on the number of entries and validity of your requested visa.
Swift or other third-party applications also require:
- Letter of authorization: A letter allowing the third-party service to submit required application materials for you.