Vietnam Visa sticker shock

Gone are the days of showing up at the border and having a nice man stamp your passport and welcome you to his country.

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We’re planning our next trip to Vietnam and just got our 30-day multiple entry tourist visas. Almost C$200 each. Yikes! Here’s the painful bill:

Note that a multiple entry visa is required if you plan to make side trips to other countries such as Cambodia and then return to Vietnam.

A bit of advice. Be very careful that you are looking at the actual Vietnam embassy site for your country. There are a bunch of third-party operators which, according to the embassy, give dodgy advice. For example, getting a visa on arrival is possible but only for emergencies. It may or may not be granted despite what the scammers say. Canadian residents should go to https://vietnamembassy.ca/consular-services/visa-application/

To email your visa application each person needs to scan an acceptable visa photo and the picture page of their passport. You can fill out their visa application online which generates a PDF you can save to include with your e-mailed application. I found the online form to be awkward so downloaded a blank PDF of their application form (available on their website), filled it in (once for each of us) and saved it. No need to sign the application form or attach your photo to the PDF.

You’ll also need to print out their credit card authorization form and complete it. I printed it out, signed it and then scanned the signed paper copy for inclusion with the other required email attachments. A little convoluted but that’s what they need.

Attach all the documents to an email (photo, passport, application PDF for each person & credit card authorization) and be sure to specify your mailing address in the body of the email and tell them if  you want all your visas sent together in a single package (C$35 by FedEx).

Canadian residents should send the email to visa@vietnamembassy.ca and look for their emailed acknowledgement which, in my case, took several hours to arrive. They claim you can check the status of your application online but it didn’t work for me. Nonetheless, the visas arrived at our door within the time promised.

Staple the visa in your passport and away you go! Woohoo!

Footnote: A friend took a chance on one of the third-party services the Vietnam embassy warns against and showed up in Hanoi with a letter but no visa. They gave him his visa on-the-spot at the airport. The choice (and the risk) is all yours.

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