There are various reasons why you may want to travel to Vietnam. With its fascinating history, incredible landscapes and hospitable culture, more people are travelling to Vietnam for work, business or leisure. However, once you have plans to go to Vietnam, it is important to ensure you are able to get the right visa to enter the country legally and avoid any problems that may arise.
Types of Visas for Vietnam
There are different types of visas available, these may vary depending on the purpose of travel, length of stay and other requirements that may need to be met. Among the various types of visas, the most common are:
- Business visa
- Working visa
- Tourist visa
Business Visa for Vietnam
A business visa (DN) is granted to those persons wishing to enter Vietnam for the purpose of conducting business. The term ‘business purposes’ includes (but is not limited to) attending meetings or consultations, signing of commercial contracts and attending conferences or conventions. The period of time granted for a business visa varies from 1 month to 1 year, with both single entry and multiple entry available.
There are certain countries from which the citizens of those countries are permitted to enter Vietnam, for a certain period of time, without obtaining a visa. Citizens from all other countries are required to obtain a business visa to carry out any business activities in Vietnam. The requirements for a business visa are:
- A valid passport, which will remain valid for a period of at least 6 months after arrival;
- At least 2 blank pages for visa and immigration stamps; and
- If you apply through an embassy in your local country, a sponsorship letter from a licensed company in Vietnam is required.
Process to get a business visa for Vietnam
There are 2 ways a business visa can be obtained:
- Visa on arrival – this requires you to complete an online application, in which you are required to detail the purpose of your travel. Thereafter you will receive email confirmation which must be printed and presented at the airport in order to obtain a visa stamp.
- Through the Vietnam embassy – this requires you to go to a local embassy or consulate and make an application.
The processing time of business visa is dependent on the method chosen. For an online application it takes 5 – 7 working days for the application letter to be received. An urgent application can also be made, at an extra cost, in which case the letter will be received within 2 – 3 working days. An application that is made through a local embassy or consulate may vary in processing time dependent on that particular embassy.
Working Visa for Vietnam
In order to work in Vietnam legally you are required to obtain a work visa (LD visa). The Vietnam work visa is valid for a period of 1 year (maximum) and the validity of the work visa is to correspond with the work permit (a work permit differs from a visa and is very important in a work visa application). A work visa would need to be obtained by the following persons:
- A foreign employee with a valid Vietnam work permit or a work permit exemption certificate
- The head of a representative office of an NGO
- A foreign investor
- A lawyer whose practice license has been issued by the Ministry of Justice in Vietnam
The company based in Vietnam is to act as a guarantor and therefore should assist in obtaining the visa. These are the requirements to apply for a work visa:
- Copy of a valid passport;
- A recent passport sized picture (4cm x 6cm);
- Work permit or work permit exemption certificate;
- Copy of the operation license of the company the foreign employee is employed by (this can be either the business registration certificate, investment license or operation license);
- Statement of seal or certificate of the seal;
- Form NA16 – this is a registration form that contains the signature and seal of the legal representative of the company in Vietnam; and
- Form NA5 – This application needs to be filled in for all visa applications, visa extensions or extensions of stay.
Process to get a work visa in Vietnam
Once all the relevant documents have been collected, the following steps should be taken:
- Submission of documents – the documents should be submitted to the Vietnam Immigration Department or the Immigration Office under the Department of Public Security;
- Receive work visa letter – work visa letter is received from the Immigration Department; and
- Pay fee and obtain visa – pay the visa fee at the embassy or consulate, who then get the work visa stamped into the passport.
The Vietnam Immigration Department usually takes 5 working days from the time all the required documents are received.
Tourist visa for Vietnam
A Vietnam tourist visa (DL visa) is the visa obtained for purposes of tourism and leisure. The validity of this kind of visa ranges from 15 days to 3 months. You can apply for a single or multiple entry visa, depending on your travel itinerary, and it can be extended or renewed (only once) after arrival in Vietnam.
The following requirements have to be met in order to obtain a tourist visa for Vietnam:
- A passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of intended arrival;
- At least 2 blank pages for visa and immigration stamps; and
- 2 passport sized photos (4cm x 6cm).
Note: a tourist visa for Vietnam is not required for citizens of certain countries, for a particular duration of stay, as those countries have visa waiver arrangements with Vietnam.
Types of tourist visas for Vietnam
Currently, these are the available tourist visas for Vietnam:
- 1-month single entry;
- 1-month multiple entry;
- 3-month single entry;
- 3-month multiple entry; and
- 1-year multiple entry (available only to citizens of the United States).
Process to get a tourist visa in Vietnam
a) Visa on arrival:
- Submit an online visa application;
- Confirm information and pay Vietnam visa fee;
- Receive and print approval letter (typically within 2 business days); and
- Upon arrival in Vietnam, pay visa stamp fee ($25 for single entry and $50 for multiple entry) and submit two passport size photos (4cm x 6cm).
The processing time for the approval letter is usually within 2 days, however in urgent situations it can be processed within 4 hours or 2 hours, for a higher fee.
b) Visa at the embassy:
- Contact a local Vietnamese embassy or consulate.
- They will provide you with the necessary information regarding the required documents, procedure and fees (the procedure and process time may differ in different embassies).
- Once all the documents have been submitted and the fee has been paid, they will provide you with a return date on which you can receive the visa and your passport.
The general processing time for a visa from an embassy is around 5 working days, however there may be additional time if you request that your passport be delivered by mail.
Other important visas in Vietnam
There are numerous other visas available including visas for journalists, dependents, family visits and conferences, amongst others.
A student visa is provided to those who wish to attend university or do a university course in Vietnam. This type of visa is usually arranged after you enter Vietnam. The individual would usually enter Vietnam on a tourist visa and then apply to change status at an immigration office after enrolling or registering for the course.
A diplomatic visa is granted to high ranking government officials or members of a visiting delegation. This visa is also granted to consulate personnel who are appointed to work in Vietnam and those appointed to assist them.
Unless there has been another arrangement made between the Vietnam government and the home country of the applicant, there is generally no fee for a diplomatic visa. A diplomatic visa is valid for a period of 1 year.
How INS Global can help you
Contact INS Global today if you would like to do business or expand operations in Vietnam. We can assist you with your human resource matters in Vietnam, including immigration affairs, while you focus on your core business. Whether it be recruitment, compliance, payroll or immigration, let INS Global reduce your administrative burden today.