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VCM Sep 17th, 2012 11:47 PM

visas at the airport in Vietnam
My husband and I reside in Guangzhou, China. There is a Vietnamese Consulate in the area but not close. We are headed to Vietnam and need to secure our visas. I have been online and there are a number of agencies offering to help process our visas as "visas on arrival or VOA". Has anyone used this type of visa service before? What can you tell me?


Stac2109 Sep 18th, 2012 02:01 AM

Hi VCM - I used VOA when I was in Vietnam (Hanoi) in May this year. It all went very smoothly and I would do this again in a heartbeat. You need to ensure you have US$25 per person on arrival to pay the stamping fee. It was cheaper than doing it in Australia through the embassy. Make sure you take a pen with you to complete the forms as I didn't and this held us back as we had to borrow from other travellers. Also take a passport photo with you. Vietnam was amazing - enjoy :)

rhkkmk Sep 18th, 2012 06:06 AM

we did our VOA at hanoi airport with no problem, except they were slow... i think we may have done an on-line sign-up before leaving home

Kathie Sep 18th, 2012 06:24 AM

Note that what the travel agencies call a VOA is NOT a visa on arrival, but a pre-arranged visa. You have to have the email confirmation of your pre-arranged visa in order to board the plane to VN.

VCM Sep 18th, 2012 03:22 PM

Thank you for the quick response and I feel more comfortable now with this option. It is definitely cheaper than the Embassy! Less than half what they are quoting which was one reason I was hesitant...too good of a deal.
One last question. Our travel plans are not through an agent, we are more DIY travelers, so I am looking at online companies. They all promise the letter of confirmation to present on arrival. Still sound ok? I could also go to the local travel agency in Guangzhou of which we are not lacking and ask them to assist me...thoughts?

Kathie Sep 18th, 2012 03:49 PM

You will have to have a VN company to arrange the pre-arranged visa. A Chinese agency cannot arrange a VN visa. Note that there is usually an upfront cost, plus a "stamping" fee upon arrival in VN.

Stac2109 Sep 19th, 2012 01:36 AM

My visa on arrival letter was sent to me as a PDF and I just printed it in colour to take with me. They will list your name, passport number and country of origin in the body of the letter. Other posters are correct in saying it is a pre-arranged visa but most agencies call them visa on arrival. While it was recommended to take the confirmation letter for presentation before boarding the plane, we were never asked to show it. I would take it though none-the-less as I am guessing we experienced a lapse in what would be normal entry/boarding requirements for Vietnam.

Kathie Sep 19th, 2012 05:43 AM

Yes, you certainly did experience a lapse! The airlines are responsible for you if they fly you to VN without a visa, so normally they are quite vigilant about making sure the visa is in your passport or you have the email confirmation of the pre-arranged visa.

VCM Oct 7th, 2012 09:19 PM

Thank you to everyone for your responses. We did use VOA and everything went very smoothly. Just a couple tips should anyone else consider this option. Your passport number and country are printed on the letter along with 15 or 20 other people. so if you are concerned about that being available to others this might not be the way to go. Seconldy, have the exact amount of money. We had people scrambling in line trying to make change. Also, the recommendation to bring a pen...priceless!

Kathie Oct 8th, 2012 07:46 AM

I'm glad it went so well for you, VCM.

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