Apr 06 2011
Getting a visa for Vietnam while in Phnom Penh is no problem, and in fact, is probably cheaper than in your home country. The cost of visas for Vietnam vary embassy by embassy, but are almost always cheaper to get in Asia, and particularly in Cambodia.
Citizens of most Western countries need to obtain a visa in advance before entering Vietnam. Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Japanese and South Korean citizens can enter Vietnam for 15 days without a visa, and citizens of Cambodia, as well as Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore can visit for 30 days without a visa. Everyone else needs to secure a visa before entering Vietnam.
Despite rumours to the contrary, there are no visa-on-arrival schemes for Vietnam. There are, however, pre-arranged visas that one can purchase online and pickup at certain airports. These visas are often cheaper than the embassy visas. Just Google “Vietnam visa on arrival” to find an agent. Last year, I used MyVietnamVisa.com with no complaints. If you’re looking for a one- or three-month single or multiple-entry visa, getting one pre-arranged is easy and reliable. Six-month visas are no longer available, either online or at the embassy.
The one option available in Phnom Penh that isn’t available online is a 15-day tourist visa. These can be only obtained through travel agents and not through the embassy directly.
In general, going to a travel agent in Phnom Penh will get you a visa in the same amount of time and surprisingly, it’s often significantly cheaper than going directly to the embassy. Travel agents are generally able to offer the service for less because they reportedly shuttle your passport down to the Vietnamese consulate in Sihanoukville (which does the visas super-cheap). There are hundreds of travel agents all over town, so ask around and check prices.
Here are some prices that I was quoted in March:
15-day visa Embassy: Does not offer this type. Travel agent: $34-38
1 month visa, single entry Embassy: $45 Travel agent: $39-45
1 month visa, multiple entry Embassy: $70 Travel agent: $55-59
3 month visa, single entry Embassy: $80 Travel agent: $65
3 month visa multiple entry Embassy: $110 Travel agent: $80
You’ll also need one passport photo for all visa types. Visas are typically processed in one to three business days, both by the embassy and through agents. Expect to pay a surcharge for express processing.
As long as you’re not worried about your passport heading down to Sihanoukville, there’s no real reason to go to the Vietnam Embassy in Phnom Penh, as you can get most visas more quickly and for less money either online or from a travel agent.
However, if you feel safer going directly to the embassy, or find it’s a good place to meet new friends, the Vietnam Embassy’s Office of Consular Affairs is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 – 11:45 and later from 13:30 to 17:00. On Saturdays they are open from 8:00 till 11:30. They are closed on both Vietnamese and Cambodian public holidays.
Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam #436 Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh.
T: (023) 726 274.
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