Have you always wanted to visit Vietnam? Does the thought of visiting exotic Southeast Asia thrill you? Well, that as may be, you will still have to negotiate the tricky tourist visa process before you can land in Vietnam. There are certain things to keep in mind when applying for a new tourist visa, or an extension of a tourist visa to Vietnam.

Vietnam does not offer any tourist visas on arrival: There are other countries in Southeast Asia that offer visas on arrival, but not Vietnam. So, you will have to go through the lengthy visa application process.

Vietnam offers different types of tourist visas: There are a few options when it comes to a Vietnam tourist visa. You can opt for a one-month or three-month visa, and you can also apply for single-entry or multiple-entry. Vietnam does not offer six-month tourist or business visas for visitors anymore, so if you are planning on visiting Vietnam for more than three months you will need a visa extension (more on this in another article).

Vietnam tourist visas do not have fixed visa costs: If you go directly through the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate, prices range from US $ 70 for a single-entry visa, to US $ 150 for a multiple-entry visa. However, there are several different private companies that will help you get a Vietnamese tourist visa for a price. Using the services of these companies will lower your tourist visa cost by about US $ 5 to US $30. If you are traveling in a large group, the visa costs are reduced…the more the merrier!

The Vietnamese consulate’s visa process is expensive and time-consuming: The consulate will ask you to hand over your passport to them for five working days, so that they can process and stamp the visa. It may take more or less time, depending on the situation.

A way around all of this: You can apply for an official visa approval letter, which will allow you to get a Vietnam tourist visa on arrival. You can apply through your computer, it’s cheaper, and your passport does not have to leave your possession. On the other hand, you need to be flying in to one of the international airports and you should be prepared to pay a US $ 25 to US $ 50 “stamping fee”. You can use a private company to get this visa approval letter, for which you will probably pay US $ 30 for a three-month multiple-entry visa.

How you can extend your tourist visa to Vietnam: It is easy to extend your visa to Vietnam for a longer stay through a travel agency. Renewal for the first time may cost you US $ 25 to $ 30, including a handling fee and takes three working days to process. You can also ask for an extension of a maximum period of 30 days and it costs the same whether it is for one day or 30 days. You can also ask for a second extension of 10 days for a fee of US $ 35 to $ 40.

So, now you know what you need to do to apply for a new visa, or extend your current visa, so you can visit Vietnam. Bon voyage!