Unlike my China Tourist Visa (where I kept forgetting what forms I needed – seriously, my marriage certificate?), the Vietnam visa was a walk in the park.
If you are arriving by air at Ho Chi Minh, Danang or Hanoi airport, you can buy a visa on arrival (some advance paperwork still required). However, if you are travelling with kids, I would advise to organize your visa in advance. I watched the VOA queues as I quickly waltzed through HCM airport and was delighted I had been so organized. The queue looked like a bit of a bun fight and given the fact my two year old was sprinting around the immigration hall, I can’t imagine the wait would have been much fun. The only major upside of buying on arrival is that it is cheaper.
Organising Your Vietnam Visa
- Check if you require one. Some lucky people don’t e.g. Japanese, Norwegians, Danes (max. 15 days stay)
- Go on to your local Vietnamese embassy website and print off the visa application form. The link for the application form from Vietnam embassy in Hong Kong is here
- Check your passport is not due to expire (Vietnam requires at least one month)
- Check your passport has blank pages remaining
- Get your passport photo taken (background colour doesn’t matter)
- Allow yourself time to get the visa (mine took 4 working days to process). Factor in any upcoming public holidays etc
- Take your passport, completed form, photos and cash to the embassy (Vietnam visa in Hong Kong is HKD $500 for 3-4 days or $650 for rush 1-2 days). I wasn’t required to produce any other letters from airline, hotel etc
- Take a photo of your receipt, just in case you lose it.
- Be prepared to queue at the visa office. When I dropped off our passports, there was hardly anyone there but when I picked them up, the place was mobbed (I blame Easter travel). Typically visa offices are at their busiest first thing on a Monday morning so try going later in the week to avoid the queue.
- When you are picking up the visa, always check the details are correct before you leave the visa counter!
If you don’t have time to do it yourself, your travel agent can arrange your Vietnam visa for an additional fee.
For those travelling to Phu Quoc, you can get a Vietnam visa exemption. We didn’t do this as we were staying in Ho Chi Minh but it’s good to know!
For more information:
Vietnam Consulate for Hong Kong & Macau
Application Form For Vietnam Visa