Vietnam Visa on Arrival experiences

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Sprucegoose

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Having done both ways I would recommend getting the Visa before travel. Cost is a little more but the saving of time and sanity on arrival is worth it.


Agree Bill. Just sent our passports to CBR with $520. You need to put a value on your time and patience.
 

Austman

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Data point. I now have the boarding pass for the flight to Hanoi. I didn't need to show the pre-approval invitation letter at check-in.
 

Austman

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Data point. Before going to the gate today one of us needed to check a bag. This time the agent wanted to see the invitation letter.
 

Austman

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Arriving at Hanoi was a breeze. There was a Visa on Arrival counter and office. We handed over passports, the invitation letter, a filled out form and a photo. Five minutes later we paid USD45.00 each and were given back our passports which now had the visa. Then through migration to baggage claim just as the bags were coming out.

So for us it was quick, quite easy and certainly cheaper than getting the visa in Australia.
 

leadman

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Yes just the normal visa, another page taken! I know people love seeing stamps, but i chew through a 69 page passport in just over two years and hate paying the $400++ to get a new one. And then all the extended visas are worthless.

I'm glad the Veitnamese Gov have not closed this avenue, but do hope they drop the visa soon.
 

Cambodia7

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+1 for myvietnamvisa I used them in 2012 and had no trouble. They also send you a pdf of the form you need at the airport. At HCMC it took no more than 10 minutes to get through. Get $25 USD cash ready as they won't give change.
 

smcgrego

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If you're doing visa on arrival, they key is to make sure you're at the front of the queue. If you get stuck behind a tour group, you can wait over an hour - but if you're first in, only about 10 minutes. Look up on a map exactly where the office is in the terminal, and make sure you have your US Dollars and photo ready to go.
Having said this however, it can test your nerves seeing your passport bundled off to who knows where for who knows how long. You also have to really listen for your name being called when the passports are returned, as some of the pronunciation of Western names is a little bit interesting ;)
I did see a girl once have her passport 'lost' somehow by the office. I'm fairly sure it was handed back to the wrong person - they literally call what could be any name out and whoever grabs the passport gets it - it's a little bit loose. She was beside herself and after witnessing the event I now get my visa from the Embassy. Costs more, but as everyone else has pointed out, what price piece of mind?
 

Austman

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I thought the whole process was handled very well at Hanoi. You don't give your passport to randoms - there is a proper visa on arrival counter and office and a process.

With Vietnam allowing more and more nationals to enter visa free, waiting times are likely to be less and less. Our waiting time was a few minutes - so it was either there at the visa office or at the baggage carousel.
 
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Melburnian1

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I too found it similarly efficient at Hanoi.

It took about 10 - 15 minutes (with about five passengers ahead of me) but was not bothersome.

On balance, given the paperwork required prior to entry (which I did at home), Vietnam should be the same as paperwork free neighbour Philippines, where Australian nationals may not obtain a 30 day visa waiver without any difficulty, provided that one has a flight booked out of Philippines and the usual six months' plus passport validity.
 

john john

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There is quite a detailed article on visas on arrival on tripadvisor that I stumbled across. It's not straight forward to find using tripadvisor's search since it is drowned out in search results by the many forum posts on the topic.
Vietnam: FAQ Visa on arrival (VOA) - TripAdvisor

We're going in November but with two infants and the thought of us being stuck at SGN for over an hour with little ones means I'm going to get ours from the embassy or hang out a little longer for a change to Visa requirements. Not hopeful of the change happening soon though. The inconsistent information from official sources on VOA tends me to think that this won't happen quickly.
 

MEL_Traveller

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There is quite a detailed article on visas on arrival on tripadvisor that I stumbled across. It's not straight forward to find using tripadvisor's search since it is drowned out in search results by the many forum posts on the topic.
Vietnam: FAQ Visa on arrival (VOA) - TripAdvisor

We're going in November but with two infants and the thought of us being stuck at SGN for over an hour with little ones means I'm going to get ours from the embassy or hang out a little longer for a change to Visa requirements. Not hopeful of the change happening soon though. The inconsistent information from official sources on VOA tends me to think that this won't happen quickly.

thanks for the link. Explains a lot around the embassy websites discouraging VOA agencies.

I'm wondering if there is a 'meet and greet' service available in SGN like Denpasar? An agent meets you at the door of the plane, escorts you all the way to baggage reclaim and helps with all the visa issues. In DPS is was about USD30 - but well worth it for the time we saved.
 

Austman

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By end of year 2014 is my bet. Vietnam has already done this for many places. They know they need to do it for more.
 

leadman

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It will also cut out their mistakes! a few years back i had a multiple visa and going out one trip the Customs Officer accidently stamped it [used]. He realised the mistake and called me back and preceded to use liquid paper to cover it up. Boy, did it cause me problems, even going into other countries!
 
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