As of July 1st of this year, Vietnam announced new visa exemptions for single-entry visits of up to 14 days for visitors from 5 new European countries. Visitors that hold German, French, British, Italian or Spanish passports no longer need to go through the process of acquiring and paying for a Vietnam tourist visa or visa-on-arrival paperwork before arriving, as long as their stay in Vietnam is shorter than 15 days. While this is most certainly good news for some European visitors on their way to Asia, there are lots of questions still unanswered – but we’re here to help!
We’ve rounded up all of the information you need about what these new visa exemptions mean for you, and what you need to do before boarding your plane bound for Vietnam.
Is it just these 5 European nationalities who have visa exemptions?
As of this July 1st decision, these 5 European nationalities join a list of many other nations who do not require tourist visas before entering the country for certain periods of time. As of now, the following nationalities are exempt from tourist visas:
29 Days or less: Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia
20 Days or less: Philippines
14 Days or less: Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Brunei, Finland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom
As of now, these visa exemptions for European nations are only valid until June 30th, 2016 – so if you haven’t booked your ticket yet, you should soon!
Note: If you’re of a nationality not listed above, you will need to get either a visa through your local Vietnam Embassy prior to your departure, or get an approval letter for a visa-on-arrival.When travelling with us, Buffalo Tours can help you with the visa process – go here for more information about travel visas in Vietnam.
What do I need to gain entry into Vietnam when I arrive?
If you’re one of the above nationalities and plan to stay less than the exemption limit (if you’re European, that’s 14 days or less), you no longer have to pay a fee to enter the country. Make sure to bypass the visa desk – you can proceed straight to the passport inspection lines.
When you get to the immigration desk at the airport in Vietnam, make sure you have the following:
Your arrival/departure form (standard paperwork for international flights – ask your flight attendant for this)
An outbound ticket that proves you are leaving Vietnam in 14 days or less (immigration officials may ask for this)
AND… Your passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your departure from Vietnam
If you have all of the above paperwork, you’ll have your passport stamped and invited to enter the country without a fee. Remember – your plans to leave the country (i.e. an outbound flight, train or bus ticket) are very important.
Note: When you are getting ready to board your plane to Vietnam, your boarding agent may ask you to show the paperwork above, as well as proof of your outbound ticket. Make sure it’s ready before arriving.
What if I want to extend my stay in Vietnam after entering the country on a 14-day visa exemption?
That depends. If you are already in Vietnam on a 14-day visa exemption, and you’re not travelling with a tour company, you will need to leave Vietnam and return on another visa exemption or longer tourist visa. Plus, you’ll need to make sure that your next entry (after you leave Vietnam on your first visa-exemption) is at least 30 days later. For example – if you leave Vietnam on July 1, you can return again for another 14-day visa exemption on August 1 or later.
If you are travelling with a tour company and would like to extend your stay, your company can assist you in extending your stay without additional paperwork, or needing to leave the country. If you’re already in the country, you can also book a tour within Vietnam – then, your company can help you extend your visa without submitting any additional paperwork.
If you’d like the flexibility of extending your stay or the ability to leave and re-enter Vietnam multiple times during your stay in Asia, make sure you apply for either a single-entry or multiple-entry tourist visa. These must be handled either through the Vietnamese Embassy in your home country, or with a company that can provide a letter of approval for a visa-on-arrival. Help in acquiring a single-entry and multiple-entry visa is available when travelling with Buffalo Tours.
Can I leave Vietnam and re-enter during my 14-day visa exemption?
Your 14 days on your visa exemption must be spent within the borders of Vietnam. If you leave the country, you will need to re-enter on another visa exemption (if your visit is less than 14 days) or apply for a multiple-entry visa before arriving in Vietnam.
Can I get my visa exemption at a land crossing, or am I required to enter Vietnam at an airport?
You can gain entry into Vietnam on a visa-exemption at land crossings, too! That means if you enter Vietnam by bus, train or by plane, you can still enter the country without additional visa paperwork and a visa fee. Just make sure you have your outbound ticket to show to immigration officials.
Is 14 days enough time to experience Vietnam?
It most certainly is – and we can help! Our tours make the most of your time in Vietnam with in-depth journeys to the country’s must-see destinations. Check out all of our Vietnam tours and customise your journey to Vietnam!
Disclaimer: While we do our best to provide you detailed and accurate information about visa requirements, unexpected changes or decisions by immigration police can sometimes occur. This information is meant to provide a basic guide to the new procedures.