It is quiet difficult to find solid information online about how to get a Vietnam visa and what the cost is. We kept googling and no solid answers. Why I think it’s so difficult is because the rules are constantly changing. Anywho, here is the experience of two Canadians and one New Zealander during July of 2016.
By now you have probably researched enough to realize that you cannot get a visa on arrival, like all of Vietnam’s neighbouring countries. But don’t fret, applying is easy.
How to apply?
We applied from Sihanoukville in Cambodia. I understand that there are Vietnamese embassies in Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, and Phnom Penh, so you can get it done any of the main towns. Any travel agency that will be able to do this for you and it usually just takes one day. It’ll be much easier than going to the office yourself because the agent will handle the paperwork.
PRO TIP: To our dismay, we applied for the visa on a Saturday, hoping to leave on Sunday to the boarder. The embassy is closed on weekends so we had to spend an extra night because our visas would not be processed until Monday.
How much does it cost?
We asked around to a handful of the many travel agencies in town. They varied a bit in price from around $45-60 USD, and they didn’t even ask us our nationality. We ended up paying $45 USD each for the visas and handling of the paperwork.
There are some nationalities that are now offered a 15-day free tourist visa at the border including France and England. We met some travelers that were granted this. You may want to do more research on that. Unfortunately Canadians and Kiwis don’t make the list yet.
Apparently it’s a million times more expensive if you try to get your visa back one before your travels. We talked to an American guy who got his Vietnamese visa for $70 USD in New York. So if you’re coming through Cambodia before Vietnam, you can hold off and wait.
Are there anymore fees at the border?
We read rumours about some stamping fee? We crossed the border on a bus from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City. Our bus was full of tourists. Our bus driver took everyone’s passports and gave them all to the border officer. Then they one by one called our names, handed out passport back, and let us through. No fees, nothing, easy.
The full overnight bus ride from Sihanoukville, through Phnom Penh, to Ho Chi Minh City is a story in itself. Had we expected to sleep in the travel travel agent’s bedroom, we might had at least bright a housewarming gift. But that’s for another time. Happy travels!
Love Sara and Matti