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Vietnam forum

Confusion over Visa

Posted by MLSinclair on 27/3/2010 at 02:14

Hi,

I'm starting my trip in a couple of weeks. I'm heading to Oz and NZ (for 2 months combined), Singapore, KL, Thailand (3 weeks), Laos (1 1/2 weeks), Vietnam (2 1/2 weeks), Cambodia (1 week).

I have had to send off for a new passport recently, and have yet to receive my new one. I do think I will have time to send my new passport down to the Vietnamese embassy before I leave. I have read on some other posts that I can get a Vietnamese visa from Thai embassies in Sydney (?), and Bangkok, but that, as soon as the 30 day visa has been issued, it starts to expire? Is this correct?

If it is, then it means that even if I get one issued in Bangkok, it would not last me until Vietnam, or if it did, it would run out before I was leaving there.

Can anybody please clear this up for me?

Cheers

#1 MLSinclair has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 4

Posted by Archmichael on 27/3/2010 at 09:39

You cannot get a visa to enter Viet Nam from a Thai Embassy or consulate. You can get it from a Vietnamese embassy or consulate in most countries. Given what I gather from the time line (and sequence) you noted, it probably makes sense for you to obtain this visa in BKK or wherever you're going to be in Lao (well, if it's Luang Prabang or Vientiene). You'll then be close enough to your arrival time in Viet Nam to have no issues with visa expiration.

Those are my thoughts, anyway.......

#2 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396
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Posted by MLSinclair on 27/3/2010 at 16:02

Apologies, there were a couple of errors in my post.

1) I DON'T think I will have time to send my passport to the Vietnamese embassy in the UK

2) I meant to say the Vietnamese embassy in BKK.

Do you know how much it would cost and how long it would take if I tried to get it in Laos? I know there are threads on gettin it in BKK.

So it's true that as soon as it is issued, it begins to run out?

#3 MLSinclair has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 4

Posted by Indoluso on 27/3/2010 at 17:38

Hello,

Visas which start expiring on date of issue, in my experience, mean that they give you certain time to get in the country. It may be for example valid for 3 months from date of issue, thus you'll have to get in the country in that period of time. When in the country you'll have one month from the day you entered.

If the place where you'll get the visa from issues this type of visa you can ask them to put the issue date that you want, as to be sure you'll be able to use it.

#4 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133

Posted by rawjer on 27/3/2010 at 19:57

Posted from within Vietnam.

As Indoluso says, I am fairly sure Vietnam does its visas with a set start date in mind, which isn't the same as the date issued. I didn't get one at an embassy or consulate for the trip I'm currently on, as I took advantage of the Visa On Arrival program. I believe those are only available when arriving by air to either Hanoi or Saigon, but either way, they ask when you are entering Vietnam and that is when the clock starts ticking on your visa time.

In other words, I applied for my 3-month visa in mid January, and the 3 months began on the date I arrived in early February.

I believe visas that begin expiring upon issue are only for countries that issue them at borders with no paperwork needed in advance.

#5 rawjer has been a member since 20/1/2010. Posts: 104
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Posted by Archmichael on 27/3/2010 at 21:42

There is a Vietnamese consulate in Luang Prabang, Lao, and of course an embassy in Vientiene. Search around on the site here...pretty sure I've seen a post/thread specifically regarding the VN consulate in Luang Prabang.

Perhaps someone else has had experience getting a visa at one of these locations and can help out with time/cost information.

If you get a VN visa through the Visa On Arrival route, time starts when you arrive in Viet Nam. This can be arranged pretty quickly through a travel agent in Viet Nam or other means. We've worked with a man in Ha Noi a few times, who has proven to be quite honest and trustworthy. I can send you his e-mail address, if you wish. We e-mailed him our information (and money via Moneygram) and a couple days later he e-mailed approval letters to us, which we presented on arrival and got visas placed in our passports.

BTW, if for some reason you will enter Viet Nam more than once, you'll want to get a multi- rather than single-entry visa.

Enjoy the journey!

#6 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396
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Posted by MLSinclair on 28/3/2010 at 00:48

Thanks very much for the info. Can you please give me a bit more info on the Via on Arrival for Vietnam? I thought this wasn't possible. Where would you get these from etc

Thanks again

#7 MLSinclair has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 4

Posted by Archmichael on 28/3/2010 at 02:57

Hi MLSinclair:

Actually, Visa on Arrival is a bit of a misnomer. You get the visa on arrival, but only with prior approval. Going back to my earlier post (#6), we worked with a travel agent in Ha Noi (Vu Tuyen, with TCD Travel). He's helped arranged a few things for us. One was a multi-entry visa for VN last year.

We e-mailed to him our passport information, sent payment via Moneygram (you can use Western Union, wire transfer or whatever). He went to the authorities in Ha Noi, got the stamped approval letters for us, and e-mailed them back to us.

Whe we arrived at Noi Bai airport (HAN), we went to the separate line for "Visa on Arrival", showed them the letters, and after a short wait, picked up our passports with the visas in them.

I guess they refer to it as VOA, since you're actually receiving the visa itself (the piece stuck into your passport) on arrival to VN. The other way to do it, as discussed elsewhere above, is to go to/mail passport to the VN embassy in your country, or go to an embassy or consulate in some other country on the road. Sounds like you're too short on time now, to mail to the VN embassy in London.

BTW, regarding the "on arrival" approval: there are a lot of travel agents and other services offering to arrange this for people. Shop around, and check out related threads here and on other websites.

Cheers!

#8 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396
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Posted by travellingsarah on 29/3/2010 at 17:38 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

We got a 1 month tourist visa at the Vietnamese Embassy in Vientiene in January this year. They started it from the date we stated we were going to enter the country. We got a 1 day turnaround as we didn't want to stay long in Vientiene and it cost somewhere around $50 (maybe $52, I can't remember exactly) which was roughly the same as it would have cost had we bought it in the UK. A 2 day turnaround was $40-something. It only cost a bit more if you went to a travel agent but we had bikes so just cycled to the Embassy. They only accepted US$ at the Embassy.

As you're only in Vietnam for a couple of weeks a 1 month visa will be fine. For anyone reading this who wants a 3-month visa - we weren't able to get this at the Embassy in Vientiene. No idea why but it was a real pain as we were moving here and really needed 3-months.

#9 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 681
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Posted by travellingsarah on 29/3/2010 at 17:38 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

We got a 1 month tourist visa at the Vietnamese Embassy in Vientiene in January this year. They started it from the date we stated we were going to enter the country. We got a 1 day turnaround as we didn't want to stay long in Vientiene and it cost somewhere around $50 (maybe $52, I can't remember exactly) which was roughly the same as it would have cost had we bought it in the UK. A 2 day turnaround was $40-something. It only cost a bit more if you went to a travel agent but we had bikes so just cycled to the Embassy. They only accepted US$ at the Embassy.

As you're only in Vietnam for a couple of weeks a 1 month visa will be fine. For anyone reading this who wants a 3-month visa - we weren't able to get this at the Embassy in Vientiene. No idea why but it was a real pain as we were moving here and really needed 3-months.

#10 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 681
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Posted by Doniwarner on 30/3/2010 at 06:43

I got my visa through a company online - do a search and you will come back with a list of companies that will do it. You have to fly into Vietnam to do visa on arrival, they are not available at land crossings and you can't use an approval letter crossing the border. Not sure about getting one in Laos or BKK, Vietnam is my point of entry.

#11 Doniwarner has been a member since 12/2/2010. Posts: 19


Posted by 69bertie on 31/3/2010 at 22:51

Posted from within Vietnam.

If you do go VOA, be aware that the earliest you can arrive is the date that is on your approval letter. If you arrive later than the date shown it isn't a problem as long as your arrival date isn't after the exit date. :-) If you do arrive after your original stated arrival date this doesn't mean that your exit date will be extended to be one month afterwards.

VOA can be done at Ha Noi, Da Nang and HCMC airports only. Don't forget to take the entire approval letter, not just the part with your name on it. There is another form that you have to fill in when you get there. This is available to download from various websites. Fill it in before you get there to save time. You only need one photo. Payment is in USD. There are no ATM machines between the aircraft and the VOA office. No payment means no visa = no entry!

I have had two experiences of getting VOA at HCMC. One was a 20 min wait. The other was a 2hr and 10 min wait. I got a three month visa by going VOA. 6 month visas are no longer available.

For land crossings you have to go the embassy route at the moment.

#12 69bertie has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 90


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