Getting a Visa for Vietnam, if you are flying into the country is fairly straightforward, with lots of agencies to help you get a Visa on arrival. I’ve described the Vietnam Visa on Arrival process here. However, there is far less information and no online agencies to help you get a Visa if you are crossing the land border into Vietnam and you usually cannot get a visa at the border. Here I will describe the straightforward and relatively easy process of getting a land border crossing Visa for Vietnam through a Vietnam Embassy. This Visa, of course, can also be used if you arriving by airplane into Vietnam.
Vietnam Visa on Arrival (VOA) vs Visa through the Vietnam Embassy
The Visa on Arrival can only be used if you are arriving in Vietnam through an International Airport. If you are in Laos, Cambodia or China, and would like to cross the land border into Vietnam you have 2 options: 1. Visa through a Vietnam Embassy 2. E Visa (Valid for 30 days single entry). This post lays out the process to get a Visa through a Vietnam Embassy. I got mine in Savannakhet, Laos. But it will be similar at any Vietnam Embassy in Laos, Cambodia or China.
1. Locate the Vietnam Embassy
The first step is to locate the Vietnamese embassy in the city you are in or the closest one to you. I was in Thakhek, Laos and the Vietnam Embassy in Savannakhet was closest to me so this is the one I will describe, however they should all be similar. (Vietnam Embassies/Consulates in Laos are listed below)
2. Apply for the Visa in person at the Embassy/Consulate
Bring your passport (With at least 6 months validity) and 1 additional passport photo, fill out the paperwork, choose the length of stay and the date you will arrive in Vietnam. Double check your dates as you cannot change them once the Visa is issued. I was not required to leave my passport at the Vietnam Embassy.
3. Pay the Visa Fee and pick up your Visa
Return in one business day (or however long they tell you. It shouldn’t take much longer than 1 business day). Pay the Visa fee (they only accepted US Dollars but there was a currency exchange with a very good rate across the street — Savannakhet) and get the Visa sticker in your passport.
1. Call the agency before you arrive (unless it’s very close to you) to ensure it will be open.
2. You will pay for the Visa when you pick it up but they will likely only accept US dollars.
3. The Visa should only take 1 business day but schedule 2 days to be safe.
3-month single entry: $55
3-month multiple entries: $95
Vietnam Embassy Laos
Embassy of Vietnam in Vientiane, Laos
* Address: 23 Singha Rd, Vientiane, Lao PDR
* Phone: +856 21 451 990
* Fax: +856 21 413 379
* Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vietnamese Consulate General in Luangprabang, Laos
* Address: No. 15/II, Wat That Village, Phothisalath Road, Luangprabang Town, Luangprabang Province, Laos
* Phone: +856 71 254 748
* Fax: +856 71 254 746
* Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Consulate General of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Paksé, Laos
* Address: No 31 Phabat, Paksé, Champasak, Laos
* Phone: +856–31 214 199
* Fax: +856 31 214 140
* Email: email@example.com
Vietnamese Consulate General in Savannakhet
* Address: No.118, Sisavangvong, Kayson Phomvihan district, Savannakhet province, Laos
* Phone: +856 41 212 418
* Fax: +856 41 212 182
* Hours: Monday to Friday
Morning: 7:30 AM — 11:00 AM
Afternoon: 1:30 PM — 4:30 PM
The Visa fees and procedures have changed a few times over the recent years so it’s best to call the Vietnam Embassy and double check the fee and application process if there is any doubt. Please comment on your experience or updates you’ve encountered.