Visa On Arrival (VOA) for Vietnam no longer available
In 2018, Vietnam introduced an electronic visa that can be applied for online. Prior to the introduction of this e-visa and for some time afterwards, it was still possible to apply for a Visa On Arrival upon arrival. At this time, it is no longer possible, and the visa has to be applied for before departure.
Visa On Arrival no longer available
Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, travellers could still apply for a visa upon arrival at the airport in Vietnam. This Visa On Arrival (VOA) was popular among travellers, as it allowed them to meet the visa requirement without having to make many arrangements in advance. When Vietnam closed its borders to international travellers because of Covid-19, visas were no longer issued. After the reopening of the country in March 2022, the Vietnamese immigration service has not restarted the issuance of the Visa On Arrival. It has never been officially confirmed that the VOA will no longer be available.
The Vietnam e-visa
Back in 2018, Vietnam introduced an electronic visa, a visa that could be completely applied for online and that was sent by email upon issuance. By applying for an e-visa, travellers already have a valid visa before they arrive in Vietnam. Travellers with a valid Vietnam e-visa can pass through customs immediately. This was not possible with a VOA. When the VOA was still available, travellers could leave for Vietnam without a visa, but they had to queue up after arrival to get the actual visa.
Getting an approval letter
In addition, travellers could not apply for the VOA outright, as some preparations had to be made. So, the "on arrival" aspect of this visa title was not very accurate. First, to use the Visa On Arrival, travellers had to purchase an approval letter before departure. Without this letter, travellers were not able to apply for a VOA after arriving in Vietnam. The approval letter could be obtained online through a visa agency or at a visa agency in Vietnam. In fact, the approval letter was comparable to the application form for the e-visa. An advantage of the VOA was that an approval letter could be obtained several hours in advance, which at the time was faster than applying for an electronic visa.
Stamping fee - the cost of a VOA
Upon arrival, travellers had to queue in a special line with their approval letter to get a stamp in their passport. For this stamp, the actual visa had to be paid for again. After paying this stamping fee, the traveller got a stamp, and he or she could pass through customs. Note that travellers with a VOA paid for both this stamp (the stamping fee) and an approval letter.
E-visa is easier to apply for
It is currently no longer possible to obtain a VOA upon arrival in Vietnam. Most travellers, including those from the UK and Ireland, have to meet the visa requirement. They can easily do so by applying for an e-visa online. This visa is approved within 1 week on average. To apply for the visa, you have to meet all the requirements. One of the advantages of applying for an e-visa online, is that you do not have to queue in an extra line upon arrival in Vietnam. Additionally, you do not have to pay extra costs, such as the stamping fee of the VOA. You apply for the visa before departure, and you do not have to get an approval letter. The the e-visa application procedure is, all in all, much easier than the one for a VOA.Apply for the Vietnam e-visa now