19th of October 2015 – Great news! I applied for a rushed online letter of approval and have been accepted for a visa, my flight departs at 7.10pm tonight… $300 later. So for those who are wondering, for Australia passports, you can still obtain a visa on arrival IF you have first obtained a letter of approval. It cost approx. $20USD when applying for your letter of approval and a further $25USD when your visa is processed on arrival. There are different visas/costs for multiple people are multiple entries. Please find a list of those visas and prices within the link below.
If you apply (like I tried) on a Saturday, Sunday or a Holiday you will incur a $200USD processing fee.
The ‘URGENT’ visa is an additional $20USD and take 4-8hours to process (this is what I purchase first thing Monday morning- I came through within 2 hours and I was booked and on a flight that night)
The ‘EMERGENCY’ visa is an additional $50USD and takes 30mins.
The website listed above also has an online chat option, the person whom I was speaking with told me to process the URGENT visa as they knew it would come through quickly and it wasn’t worth me paying the extra for the Emergency. Never hurts to ask! Money all adds up when you’re travelling!
Once you have obtained your letter of approval you will need to print it out and glue on your passport photos.
Please also be aware there are a number of false websites advertising Vietnamese visas, here is a list of some,
http://vietnam-embassy.org, http://myvietnamvisa.com, http://vietnamvisacorp.com, http://vietnam-visa.com,http://visavietnam.gov.vn, http://vietnamvisa.gov.vn, http://visatovietnam.gov.vn, http://vietnam-visa.gov.vn
If you head to an embassy to process the visa ( I have done this once before ) you will incur different fees. In Bangkok its approx.. 3000 Thai baht ($100 AUD) if you would like the visa ready the next day or 2400 Thai Baht ($95 AUD) if you’re happy to wait 4 days (these fees to tend to change a lot). The embassy is open between 9am-11.30am, closes for two hours and reopens from 1.30pm -4.30pm. Be sure to say whether you need single entry or multiple entry, at this point in time there is no ‘same day visa’ that can be obtained from Bangkok embassy.
If you are land crossing via Cambodia, there is one place that will complete a same day visa – This is listed in the Lonely Planet Guide. The Sihanoukville Vietnamese Embassy is the only place that will issue this – it’s a bit of a clever trick. You just need to walk in, (the earlier the better) and your request will be processed, you will receive a visa on the spot.
As of July 2015 If you’re a citizen from Britain, Germany, France, Italy or Spain you don’t need to apply for a visa or approval letter if your stay is no longer than 15 days. You simply walk right in with your passport!
When deciding which visa to get, keep in mind the embassy is more expensive however it will save you from waiting for your visa to get processed in a Vietnamese airport. It took me three hours to have my visa issued and to clear security – my organised driver thought I’d missed the flight and tried to leave without me. Luckily Rowan (who walked straight through with his UK passport the day prior) had seen the wait time that I would be in and had come to the airport with the driver.
If you are looking to cross the border from Vientiane in Laos, there is once again no ‘same day’ visa. There is a next day service though. The embassy is located at 23 Singha Road, just north of Patuxuay Monument on the road to Pha That Luang. It’s an easy walking distance from the main bus station. Look for a Toyota dealership –Tuk tuk drivers know this name as Patuxay Toyota. The embassy is open Monday – 9.30am-12pm and 1.30pm – 5pm, Tuesday – Friday 8.30am -12pm and 1.30pm -5pm. Visa collections are 5-00pm-5.30pm Monday – Friday. The visa costs about $70USD you can pay in dollars or Kip and will take 15mins to apply for.
Things to keep in mind
*Keep in mind the embassy will hold your passport whilst they are processing your visa.
*Be sure to always carry passports photos with you – I’ve been stuck a few times running around like crazy trying to get passport photos taken.
*Always make sure the cash you are paying with are clean, crisp new notes, they will not accept damaged bills.
*Always have cash, most embassy’s do not accept card.