After the sponsoring entity has completed the procedures for requesting an entry permit for a foreign national into Vietnam, the foreign national will proceed with the COVID-19 testing before their flight and complete the visa issuance procedure at the international border gate. This article provides guidance on the procedures for receiving an entry visa at the international border gate.

Procedures for Receiving an Entry Visa at the International Border Gate in Vietnam

Eligible Applicants for Visa Issuance at the International Border Gate

  • In order to apply for a visa at the international border gate, the applicant must meet one of the following requirements:
    • The applicant’s point of origin before arriving in Vietnam is a country without an authorized agency to issue Vietnam entry visas.
    • The applicant has traveled through multiple countries before stopping in Vietnam.
    • The applicant is coming to Vietnam for tourism and sightseeing as part of a program organized by an international travel company based in Vietnam.
    • The applicant is a foreign crew member, and their ship is currently moored at a Vietnamese seaport with a need to exit through another border gate.
    • The applicant needs to enter Vietnam to attend the funeral of a relative or visit someone who is seriously ill.
    • The applicant is a specialist entering Vietnam to support emergency incidents such as rescue, disaster relief, natural disaster prevention, disease prevention, or for another reason upon the request of a competent authority in Vietnam.

Procedures for Receiving a Visa at the Border Gate

  • Foreign nationals can only receive a visa at the international border gate successfully by following these procedures:(Note: The specific steps and requirements may vary depending on the border gate and current regulations, so it’s advisable to check with the relevant authorities or the specific border gate for the most up-to-date information).

Step 1: Prepare the documents, including

  • Visa application form for Vietnam – Form NA1 (for foreigners or Vietnamese residents abroad)
  • 02 photos, either 4×6 cm or 3×4 cm, taken within the last 6 months.
  • Original passport with a minimum validity of 6 months.
  • Immigration approval letter issued by a relative in Vietnam, an organization, or a Vietnamese entity.
  • Note: The immigration approval letter is the most crucial document for your visa approval by the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam. This process should be carried out 2-3 days in advance. Without this document, you may be deported.

Step 2: Present your passport and pre-prepared documents.

Step 3: Follow the instructions of the staff at the international border checkpoint and pay the visa fee as required.

Vietnam’s international border checkpoints that support visa processing include:

  • Airports: Noi Bai International Airport, Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Da Nang International Airport.
  • Land border crossings: Huu Nghi Quan, Ha Khau, Moc Bai, Cau Treo.
  • Sea border crossings.

The authorities authorized to issue visas for foreigners who wish to enter Vietnam directly at international border checkpoints include:

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Consular Department)
  • Ministry of Public Security (Immigration Department)
  • Foreign diplomatic missions, consulates, or authorized agencies.

Foreigners who have prepared all the required documents and followed the procedures correctly will receive their visa results more quickly. This is because visas issued at international border checkpoints are intended for urgent cases, and the processing time is typically faster than the regular visa application process at Vietnamese embassies.

Procedures for receiving a visa at the airport

What is an airport-issued visa in Vietnam?

  • An airport-issued visa in Vietnam (also known as an airport entry visa) is a convenient and straightforward way to obtain a visa to enter Vietnam. This type of visa is issued at one of Vietnam’s international airports when travelers arrive in the country.

To apply for an airport-issued visa, travelers need to complete an online visa application form to obtain a pre-approved visa letter before traveling to Vietnam. With this letter, travelers are allowed to board a flight to Vietnam and obtain a visa stamp upon arrival at a Vietnamese airport. When applying for this type of visa, travelers do not need to prepare any documents or send their original passport to any authorities.

Is the airport entry visa in Vietnam legal, or is it a scam?

  • The airport entry visa in Vietnam via air travel is entirely legal. Although travelers submit their visa application through a service provider, the approval letter permitting entry and visa issuance upon arrival in Vietnam is granted by the Vietnamese Immigration Department, not the service provider. The service provider acts as an intermediary connecting travelers with the Vietnamese Immigration Department because travelers cannot directly interact with the Immigration Department for visa matters.

Below are some legal regulations related to this type of visa for entering Vietnam:

  • Decree on entry, exit, and residence of foreigners in Vietnam
  • Government Decree No. 21/2001/ND-CP
  • Joint Circular No. 04/2002/TTLT/BCA-BNG

Currently, many service providers offer this service to simplify the visa application process and save time for travelers coming to Vietnam.

Types of visas available for on-arrival issuance at Vietnamese airports

The most common types of visas available for on-arrival issuance at Vietnamese airports include tourist visas (designated as DL), business visas (designated as DN), work visas (designated as LD), and study visas (designated as DH). However, with on-arrival visas at airports, travelers can only apply for one of the following two types of visas:

  • Tourist Visa
  • Business Visa

Who can apply for an on-arrival visa at Vietnamese airports?

  • Most travelers who are required to obtain a visa to enter Vietnam can apply for an on-arrival visa as long as they are arriving in Vietnam by air. Travelers can check whether they fall under the visa exemption or visa-required category here.

List of Vietnamese airports that issue visas on arrival

If you are entering Vietnam through one of the following eight international airports, you can apply for a visa on arrival:

  • Noi Bai (Hanoi)
  • Tan Son Nhat (Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Cat Bi (Hai Phong)
  • Da Nang (Da Nang)
  • Cam Ranh (Khanh Hoa)
  • Lien Khuong (Da Lat)
  • Can Tho (Can Tho)
  • Phu Quoc (Phu Quoc)

Why choose a visa on arrival at Vietnamese airports?

If you have ever applied for a visa on arrival in Vietnam at an international airport, you will easily notice the following advantages:

  • Speed: For urgent visa applications, the processing time for the approval letter typically takes less than 2 working hours.
  • Convenience: When applying for a visa on arrival, applicants do not need to prepare any documents or submit their original passports. This is particularly convenient for those who need to travel frequently using their passports. The information required in the visa application form is minimal and includes details such as name, gender, nationality, date of birth, passport number, passport expiration date, and intended date of entry into Vietnam. The visa application and approval letter process is done online.
  • Lower cost: The cost of obtaining a visa on arrival at Vietnamese airports may be higher or lower than the cost of obtaining a visa at the Vietnamese embassy abroad. However, considering the overall expenses, including postal fees and document preparation costs, the cost of obtaining a visa on arrival at the airport is often lower because travelers do not need to pay any additional fees other than the visa application fee.

Fees for obtaining a visa on arrival at Vietnamese airports

When applying for a visa on arrival, travelers will need to pay two types of fees:

  • Service fee: Paid online to the visa service provider to obtain the Approval Letter (permitting entry into Vietnam).
  • Visa stamping fee: Paid in cash at the Vietnamese airport to have the visa stamped.

These fees depend on the type of on-arrival visa you wish to obtain. You can find more details on the Visa on Arrival Fees page.

Visa on arrival application process at airports

Below are three simple steps to obtain a visa on arrival at Vietnamese airports:

  • Submit an online visa application form.
  • Receive the Approval Letter via email and print it out. Additionally, prepare the Entry and Exit Form, two 4×6 cm passport photos, your original passport, and the visa stamping fee in cash.
  • Present the aforementioned documents to the Visa on Arrival (VOA) counter at the Vietnamese airport and pay the visa stamping fee to have the visa stamped in your passport.

Processing time

The processing time for the issuance of the visa approval letter can range from 1 working hour to 2 working hours (for tourist visas) or from 2 working days to 7 working days (for business visas). This timeframe does not apply to Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays.

Important Notes

  • Unlike visas issued upon arrival in countries like Cambodia, Thailand, or Laos, which can be obtained directly at the border by completing a form on-site, obtaining a visa on arrival at Vietnamese airports requires travelers to have an approval letter in hand before departing to Vietnam.
  • Visa on arrival in Vietnam is only applicable for travelers arriving in Vietnam by air. If travelers are entering Vietnam by land or sea, they must obtain a visa through the embassy or apply for an e-visa (if eligible) before traveling to Vietnam.
  • To enter Vietnam, the traveler’s passport must have a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of entry.
  • Visa fees for children holding their own passports are the same as those for adults.
  • Currently, all websites offering visa approval letter services for on-arrival visas at Vietnamese airports are commercial websites operated by private companies. Therefore, these websites are not government-affiliated websites.