It was recommended at another forum to post these questions here. After several hours of searching and finding conflicting info, I figure I could post several rapid fire questions that educated travelers could easily answer. Will be flying in/out of HCMC with bus trip to Siem Reap in middle. Here goes:
1) Vietnam Visa On Arrival seems like best/cheapest bet as will be landing around midnight and hopefully won't be too much of a wait. Total cost per person should be ~$15 (pre-approval letter) + $65 stamping fee (1 month, multiple entry). True?
2) VN VOA pre-approval letter: is it valid for 30 days from when it is issued from website or is it valid 30 days upon arrival in VN? I don't want to order it early only to have it expire before I even get to VN.
3) Cambodia offers e-visa, and while it is also called Visa On Arrival, it is not the same as the VN Visa On Arrival. That's confusing. Cambodia's VOA is an actual visa and costs $28 total through their Kingdom of Cambodia site. Is it worth getting the e-visa? I read it is only accepted at certain crossings...which leads to:
4) Planning on using Mekong Express bus from HCMC to SR ($27). The bus website says they can obtain the visa quickly and easily at the border crossing. Does e-visa work at the crossing the bus takes, or best to let the bus company take car of it (or is this a possible scam opportunity?)?
If you have experience with any of these issues and wouldn't mind dropping knowledge on me, I'd greatly appreciate it. Cheers.
#1 abs004 has been a member since 10/10/2013. Posts: 5
Vietnam visa on arrival only works if you are arriving by air. You pay the pre approval letter plus stamping fee at the airport. Stamping fee is $45 for single entry, $65 for multiple entry. Not sure about the whole 30 day thing but I would just order it say 2 weeks before and then you are safe either way. Only takes a couple days to receive the letter so that isn't an issue if that is what you are worried about.
For Cambodia I would just get the visa at the border. You may possibly have to pay an extra couple dollars but that is minor.
My Vietnam Visa puts it quite simply: The arrival date you provide should be the earliest you plan to arrive, but you can arrive after that date. The departure date is the last day you are permitted to be in the country, unless you get a visa extension.
For example: If you apply for a 1-month visa and submit your arrival date as Jan 1, 2011, the visa letter will be valid from Jan 1, 2011 â€“ Feb 1, 2011. You can arrive anytime between Jan 1 - Feb 1 but must leave the country by Feb 1, 2011.
As mentioned above, VOA is valid from the day you state is your earliest arrival date, ie not from when you get the VOA stuff from your agent so all good.
eVisa is accepted at the Bavet border crossing into Cambodia. Chances you'll be waiting for the bus guys arranging visas for other passengers so its really up to you whether you have it done before hand or not. Scam? Maybe the bus guys might hit u up for a couple if dollars service charge. Enjoy the trip.
#4 MotHaiBa has been a member since 3/5/2011. Posts: 57
Excellent, thank you all. To verify:
1 and 2) When ordering the pre-arrange VN letter (for $10-$25 on various sites), I will be able to state the arrival date. I will state that date as a few days before I am scheduled to fly into HCMC, just to be safe, and I will have up to 30 days to use that letter to obtain the actual Visa at the airport (which will cost $65 stamp fee for 1 month, multiple entry). The actual Visa is then valid for 1 month from that day I obtain it at the airport. The pre-arranged letter's dates of validity will no longer matter as I will have already used it to acquire the Visa, and therefore only the date of the Visa matters from that time point on. To be extra safe, I could wait to order the pre-arranged letter until less than 30 days before my arrival at HCMC, as it only takes a few days to obtain the letter from one of those various sites.
3 and 4) Regarding the Cambodia land border crossing on bus trip to SR from HCMC, tt should be easy to do nothing beforehand and simply purchase the actual Visa at the border, along with other people on the bus. It sounds like the bus company employees will help me do this and if it costs a few extra dollars, then no problem, happy to pay for their help.
Is that correct...can I get an amen?
Thanks again. Absolutely excited for my first trip to VN and Cambodia. Now with the technical details out of the way, it's time to start the important research...what to do/see/eat. Nom nom! Cheers.
#5 abs004 has been a member since 10/10/2013. Posts: 5
Use your actual date of arrival otherwise that could potentially create questions. On myvietnamvisa they as for date of arrival, make you confirm it and even ask for your flight number if you know it. Other companies are likely the same, just fill out the forms properly and you won't have an issue.
Cambodia visa at the border is easy, I wouldn't worry about that one.
You pay $20 at Bavit crossing for the Cambodian visa on the trip from HCMC to PP. Very simple just have a passport sized photo with you.
The Mekong Express staff are helpful and will guide you.
#8 gwapo has been a member since 4/6/2011. Posts: 49
I would suggest you get a multiple entry Visa for Vietnam before you begin your travels
#9 NYTim has been a member since 11/9/2009. Posts: 106
You have now information and maybe you have different information, because there are many countries who have special agreement with Vietnam government. Like Finland passport, you dont need visa at all, you can be 2 weeks with out visa in Vietnam. It does not cost anything to come to country. I live here and if you have any questions please ask, I will answer here!
#10 pekkas has been a member since 2/10/2013. Posts: 6
Thank you all. On another forum, someone posted that I was incorrect regarding the valid dates for VN pre-arranged letter. If so, I think the correct answer is that when applying for the pre-arranged letter, I will state the date of entry (for example: Nov 1). Then I will receive the pre-arranged letter that will be valid for 1 month, starting on Nov 1. If I arrive at HCMC on Nov 1, I will obtain a Visa that will be valid for 1 month, also starting Nov 1. If I were to arrive at HCMC on Nov 5, I would obtain a Visa that is only valid for 25 more days (Nov 1 + 1 month). Is that correct?
#11 abs004 has been a member since 10/10/2013. Posts: 5
The flights have already been booked. I'd like to know the details of the pre-arranged letter and Visa before I order them. I'm getting different answers at different forums. Anyone recently made this trip from the US, and ordered the pre-arranged letter ahead of time?
#13 abs004 has been a member since 10/10/2013. Posts: 5
If you know you are entering vietnam on 1 November, thats the date you put on your voa application - why would you need any other date? And thats the date from when the visa is valid from. Dont over complicate it. Get on the plane and enjoy yourself.
#15 MotHaiBa has been a member since 3/5/2011. Posts: 57
Yes stop worrying and for the love of god fill out the forms properly. They ask for the date you arrive in Vietnam. Not the fictional date you think works best with how you may or may not believe the evisa system works...
Just use a reputable company and fill out the forms properly and you will not have an issue. If there is some strange anomaly that you are trying to book too far in advance etc they will let you know.