If you are planning to travel to Vietnam and stay for 30 days, you may very well need a tourist visa. While some nationalities are exempt from visas for up to 15 days, Australian citizens do require a visa to enter the country for any length of time. Visas can be applied for online or at your local embassy in Australia or you can get a visa-on-arrival at the major Vietnamese airports.
But what if you are already overseas, say, in Cambodia, and are planning to enter Vietnam by land? I have good news for you. You can still get a month-long Vietnamese visa and it will probably be cheaper and less stressful than applying for it in Australia.
We were in Siem Reap when we decided to get our Vietnam visas. We were planning to google the question and find out where the best place was to get it because we had misgivings about how simple the process would be. However, we were walking along Sivatha Blvd one evening and saw a modest-looking sign saying “Vietnam Visa”. How peculiar!
We decided to pop in and have a chat to the travel agent. He spoke English quite well and informed us that we could get a Vietnamese tourist visa for 30 days through his agency. It would cost us $45 (about $70AUD at time of writing) per person and would take 1 day.
All we had to do was fill in a form, hand over our passports and one passport photo, and pay the money. Too easy. Although we were suspicious of how straightforward this seemed, we decided to give it a go.
The next day we returned to the agency, eager to check out our new visas. Alas, visas there were not. It turns out we had applied for a visa on Vietnamese Independence Day. A public holiday for Vietnamese officials! Needless to say, all embassy workers were still resting after the day’s lively celebrations and we were told that our visa would be ready the NEXT day.
And this time there were no problems. We picked up our passports, visas and all, the next evening, problem free.
My mother, who was to meet us in Vietnam, had applied for her visa in Australia. She had paid $99AUD and had had to send a copy of her passport ID page and a separate passport photo to the Vietnamese embassy in Australia. Whaaat?? Turns out that we had a much simpler time getting ours, despite the public holiday!
What’s more, it turns out that Vietnamese e-visas can be somewhat problematic. There have been reports of e-visa holders not being allowed to LEAVE Vietnam at specific land crossings, such as the one near Dien Bien Phu (on the way to Laos). Check out THIS LIST to make sure that your e-visa allows you to leave as you’ve planned.