Entry Requirements: You must have a valid passport and a visa (or pre-approval for a visa on arrival) to enter Vietnam. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay, and you must have at least one blank visa page. Visit the Embassy of Vietnam website for the most current information. If you arrive in Vietnam without an appropriate visa (which could be an e-visa) or pre-approval for a visa on arrival, you will be denied entry.
Visas: When you apply for a visa to enter Vietnam, be sure to request the visa category that corresponds to your purpose of travel. Please refer to Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for information detailing Visa Categories and Descriptions. If you plan to work in Vietnam, you must obtain a work permit before applying for your visa. If you change the purpose of your visit after you have received your visa, you must obtain a new visa outside of Vietnam appropriate for your new activities before beginning those activities. Please consult the Embassy of Vietnam website for more information.
If you plan to travel from Vietnam to Laos by land, you should request that an adhesive visa be affixed to your passport instead of a detachable one. Lao immigration officials require proof that travelers have departed Vietnam, something that can only be shown with an adhesive visa. Vietnamese officials remove detachable visas from passports when travelers depart Vietnam, leaving travelers with no proof of their Vietnam departure. This situation can result in Lao officials requiring travelers to return to Vietnam.
If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen in Vietnam, you will need both a replacement passport and a replacement Vietnamese visa in order to arrive AND depart Vietnam. The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City can usually issue you a limited validity replacement passport in as little as one business day for emergency purposes; however, the Vietnamese government requires three to five working days to issue a replacement visa. The U.S. Embassy and the Consulate General cannot expedite the replacement of your Vietnamese visa.
Pre-approval for Visa on Arrival: All U.S. citizens must have a visa to enter Vietnam. The Government of Vietnam has authorized some businesses and travel agencies to arrange for pre-approval for a “visa on arrival” at the airport. However, some American citizens have reported being charged unexpectedly high fees and additional charges upon landing in Vietnam. The Government of Vietnam and the U.S. Department of State recommend that travelers obtain a visa directly from an embassy or consulate of Vietnam prior to arrival.
E-visa: U.S. citizens can apply online for a single entry E-visa on the Vietnam Immigration website. The E-visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days for the purpose of tourism. An E-visa is usually processed within three working days after the Vietnam Immigration Department receives the completed application and E-visa fee. E-visa holders must present the printed E-visa and valid passport at the port of entry. Prior to making travel arrangements with an E-visa it is advisable to review the List of Ports of Entry that allow for foreigners to enter and exit Vietnam by E-visa. When applying for an E-visa, carefully review and follow the E-visa application steps.
Certificate of Visa Exemption: Vietnamese nationals residing abroad indefinitely, their spouses, and their children may apply for a Certificate of Visa Exemption. The certificate has a maximum validity of five years, during which time the holder can enter Vietnam and stay for up to six months without applying for a visa. More information can be found on the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Vietnam.