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Another Vietnam Visa Question

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We fly from the US to Hanoi in October. We will be getting a pre arranged visa (VOA). I have 2 questions:

1. When an American airline checks your passport before flying, do you have to show the pre approval letter and if so, has anyone had an issue not having the visa in their passport?

2. Tripadvisor has an updated article on applying for the approval letter. We will be getting a 1 month multiple entry. The article gives an example on how to apply.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g293921-c148049/Vietnam:Faq.Visa.On.Arrival.Voa.html

I don't understand why in the example given in the article, it suggests putting the arrival date a few days earlier than you will actually arrive. The article says that day 1 will actually be on arrival and the visa will be stamped accordingly, but I don't understand why you wouldn't apply with the actual date of arrival. I do understand that time zones are to be taken into consideration.

Les

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