The Most Pain-Free Way to Receive a Vietnam Visa as a US Citizen
Vietnam recently rolled out changes to the visa program for US nationals. You used to be able to receive a visa pre-approval letter for either a 1 or 3-month single-entry or a 1 or 3-month multiple entry/exit visa. Now you can only get a one-year multiple entry/exit visa.
|Type of Visa||Cost|
|OLD – 1-month single entry||$25|
|OLD – 1-month multiple entry||$50|
|OLD – 3-month single entry||$25|
|OLD – 3-monthh multiple entry||$50|
|NEW – 1-year multiple entry||$135 on arrival|
You can see from the chart above that the visa fees & costs have risen dramatically. Visa prices for other countries, as far as I know, stayed stagnant. Vietnam also introduced a rule that if you are from certain countries and travel to Vietnam between certain months, you do not have to pay a visa fee.
In order to have a pain-free way to receive a Vietnam visa as a US Citizen, I highly recommend going thru an online travel agency that will secure your visa pre-approval letter. This process costs anywhere from $15 per person to $35 per person, depending on your group size & the agency. These agencies are also not associated with the government, so, do take their word worth a grain of salt. We had no issues with our company, Vietnam-Visa.org.
This sharp increase in fees seems rather inexplicable considering just in May, President Obama visited the country and lifted the sale of deadly weapons to Vietnam. This is a huge increase in price for Tourists looking to visit and explore everything that Vietnam has to offer. I can see why it might be lucrative if the business visa might be raised to $135 per year because the employees are probably not footing the bill and will be in Vietnam multiple times per year. I’m about 95% certain that I will not be travelling back to Vietnam within the calendar year – so, the $135 for a one-time entry/exit for 12 months is a steep price to pay for a week in Vietnam.
If you’re looking to save a few bucks on the pre-approval letter, you can always fill out the form on the Vietnam Embassy’s website, mail it to the proper address, and wait a week or two for it to be returned. For the $15 to $35 for the pre-approval letter, it provides peace of mind – especially considering there are typos on the official form from the government.
Vietnam, I think, is finding its identity as a Southeast Asia tourist destination. Over 8,000,000 tourists visit Ha Long Bay each year – which is a 23% increase year-over-year.