Planning your trip

Vietnam Visa

Nobody enjoys immigration procedures, but for most travellers it is a fact of life. Fortunately Vietnam is not a particularly hard country to get a visas for - but like any process people love to hate there are often a lot of unanswered questions as nobody likes the stern looks you get when you forget something. Here are a selection of questions we get asked about visa applications and requirements for Vietnam. Please note though that visa regulations can change so do check with your local consulate before arriving.

Do I need a visa to visit Vietnam?

Most travellers to Vietnam will need to arrange a valid visa before they enter the country, so the answer is usually yes. There are some exceptions, however - most citizens of south east Asian countries (specifically Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Laos) do not need a visa if they intend to stay less than 30 days.

Furthermore, visitors from Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and South Korea can visit for 15 days without a visa.

How long can I stay on a tourist visa?

Tourist visas are generally issued for 1 month or 3 months, while business visas can be 6 months or a year. Both single and multiple entry visas are available; while the latter generally cost slightly more it is usually worth it for flexibility's sake.

Is it possible to extend my visa once in Vietnam?

Don't forget your travel insurance!

Yes, it seems very basic indeed, but it is amazing how many people 'forget' to buy travel insurance before they leave for faraway shores. Perhaps its a particularly British trait - we're used to our government covering us across Europe so when we venture further we just don't think - but getting stuck on the wrong side of the world with no insurance is no joke when the worst happens.

A friend of mine came to visit me in Saigon - he'd been working on a yacht from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean and so had been covered by his employer for that stretch of the journey. He decided to leave his job and come and visit, but didn't think to get cover for the rest of his travels. One night in Saigon he came off his motorbike and managed to break his jaw in five places - very nasty but it could have been far worse. It still meant getting his jaw wired shut for six weeks and metal plates in his mouth, as well as a whopping medical bill for thousands of pounds.

Happily he is healed and scar free, but I doubt he'll make the same mistake again. I felt very sorry for the family when I read this article in the Telegraph - a family was left with a £25,000 medical bill when a motorbike accident landed their son in hospital.

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