This is a question I’ve been receiving a lot on Sun Scribes’ social media recently, so I will give a detailed breakdown of applying for an E-Visa for Vietnam. A Vietnamese visa is required for an Irish passport, no matter the length of stay.
The process is actually quite simple once you know what you’re doing. Many opt for the Visa On Arrival option as it is easier and travellers do not have to part with their passports.
Different Visa Applications
Currently, there are two ways to apply for a Vietnamese visa. One can either apply directly from the Vietnamese Embassy in your country, or you can opt for a visa on arrival.
Applying for a visa through your nearest embassy means surrendering your passport for a few days. You must send your passport via post, which can be troublesome, as if you are in Ireland, there is currently no Vietnamese Embassy in the country. The closest embassy is in London, meaning you must post your passport to Britain. Alternatively, if you are currently on the road, you can apply to the nearest Vietnamese embassy in the country you are in.
Visa on Arrival
Also known as VOA or E-Visa this is by far the easier option, however, the downside being you will have queue in the airport at immigration to receive your visa on arrival. If you have previously applied through your nearest Vietnamese embassy, you will get a sticker on your passport that will fast-track you through the queue.
British Passport Versus Irish Passport
The one huge piece of advice I can give you while going through this process is make sure you are following the visa requirements for your home country! Follow the directions for your passport alone. While researching this online I read so many horror stories of people taking the advice of friends of different nationalities, and ending up with the wrong requirements!
For example, British and Republic of Ireland passports have different visa requirements for Vietnam – do not mix these up! British nationals do not need to apply for a visa if their trip is less than 15 days, Irish passports, however, are not exempt and must apply for a visa regardless of the duration of their stay. There is a list of countries who are exempt from a visa, you can view it here.
Applying For a VOA
This process is very, very simple, yet is often over-complicated by many in the stress of organising a big trip. Below I have laid out a step-by-step guide on how to apply for your visa simply.
1 – Choose an online visa agency. There is rumour of a lot of dodgy sites out there, which has made people wary of the VOA process. Just do your research and ask around. I chose www.vietnam-evisa.org
2 – Fill out the application form on the website with all your details. Make sure you copy your EXACT details from your passport, including any fada vowels from the Irish language and your middle name.
Note – While filling out this form, you are asked to provide details of arrival dates and intended airport destination. This is not a necessity and can be filled out at a later date.
3 – Make the payment of $9.99 (USD) per visa (credit cards, visa, Paypal all accepted). If you are travelling as a pair/group you are also given the option of paying an extra $9.99 to have your visas all processed at once while at immigration, this is called the “Private Letter” ie: your names both called out together.
3 – Make the payment of $9.99 (USD) per visa (credit cards, visa, Paypal all accepted).
Note – If you are travelling as a pair/group you are also given the option of paying an extra $9.99 to have your visas all processed at once while at immigration, this is called the “Private Letter” ie: your names both called out together.
We paid this in advance as fears of us waiting different time lengths loomed over our heads, but in hindsight, this was unnecessary. It’s basically just another tourist trap they add on in Vietnam (get used to it!).
4 – Once you’ve filled out your form and made the payment, you will be sent a confirmation email once your application has been approved. There is usually a one/two business day waiting period where they are checking your credentials and investigating your background.
With the confirmation email, you will be sent an entry-and-exit form.
5 – Print off the entry-and-exit form and fill it out.
6 – Prepare two passport-sized photos.
Note – They are not too fussed with this photo. I did mine on an app on my phone and printed them off myself. My boyfriend forgot his photos, so simply asked a shop assistant in Kuala Lumpar Airport to photocopy his passport and he used those photos! If you can’t get your hands on passport photos for whatever reason, they can snap your pic at immigration for $5.
7 – Prepare your cash for your VOA. Once you arrive in the airport, you must pay a stamping fee in cash.
Currently, there are different visa prices for different nationalities. An Vietnamese visa for an Irish passport will cost $25 (USD).
Note – You MUST pay in USD. You must have the exact cash or be willing to part with your change. Notes MUST be crisp and clean, with NO tears, no heavy folding marks and no frayed edges. If you are buying USD from your local bank, do not be afraid to insist they give you clean money.
8 – Gather all your necessary documents and money and put them in a big envelope, ready to hand over to immigration.
9 – Get your visa stamped on arrival. Once you are off the plane, make a beeline as fast as you can to immigration. The quicker you get there, the less of a queue in front of you. We waited approx. one hour for our visas.
Note – Do NOT get mixed up with the different queues. There is a separate area for those applying for their VOAs and those already have their visas, as well as Vietnamese nationals.
10 – Once you approach the immigration desk, hand over all your documents, passport, photos, and cash. There isn’t much instruction here, and not much English is spoken. Sit patiently and listen carefully as your name will be called out in a Vietnamese accent.
11 – When your name is finally called, you will be given back your passport with a brand new shiny visa inside! You may now proceed to the next queue of immigration, where they will stamp your entry into the country.
Note – After a loonnnnnnng journey and exhausting immigration process, you are prime meat for the local taxi drivers outside. Do not let them fluster you, take a step back, make sure they have a meter on (that starts a normal price!!) and be clear you do not want any “premier taxi” or “first-class” journey. If this is all too stressful for you, you may organise a taxi from one of the desks inside – read my Ho Chi Minh blog here to find out more about navigating its airport.
And that is it! Once you have your visa, you are free to explore the beautiful country of Vietnam and all its history! I hope this visa application guide has answered your questions and eased some of the visa process burden! Keep an eye out on the blog for more upcoming posts on Vietnam. Happy travelling Sun Scribers 🙂