When you travel as much as most of us do, there will be a time when visa requirements for visiting a country get confusing… and expensive. For instance, I have family I visit in Chile, so before the visa requirements for U.S. citizens were changed, I was paying a hefty visa fee each time I went to Chile. My cousins are worth it – thanks cousins for reading TWG :)
Checking each country’s visa requirements, even when you think you know what they are, should be on everyone’s pre-trip travel checklist. For a trip to Vietnam, I checked about visa requirements for U.S. citizens in two places. The Wikipedia page shows that Vietnam does require a visa and it mentions an eVisa. But there is no link that tells me more about what that is.
Then I went to this page, CIBTvisas. It’s an easy site to check for visa requirements. It shows that Vietnam does require a visa and when you click Start Visa Application Process, you’ll see a page that allows you to start the process and also explains that you’ll need to send in your passport and follow their process.
I also asked a Vietnamese friend of mine, and his research sent him to this site. It’s interesting but not particularly helpful unless you live in a city with a Vietnamese embassy. He did tell me that you can get a visa upon arrival, but his suggestion was to have all this sorted out before arriving. I also asked my travel agent cousins what they recommend for their clients and they suggested two good visa service companies, one of which was CIBT, the site I mentioned above.
But what about the eVisa process that was mentioned on the Wikipedia page? After doing some research on eVisa, that turned out to be an easy, no hassle, quick, small fee elegant solution. And it didn’t require me sending my passport anywhere! Why didn’t more people, especially travel agents, know about this? I know it’s a relatively new way to apply for a single-use eVisa for Vietnam, which speaks even more to my point about checking visa options and requirements carefully before traveling.
From the eVisa home page, choose the For Foreigners option. Besides filling out a form, you’ll be required to upload two photos, enter your date of arrival, and pay $25. You’ll receive an email with a verification code. Be sure to copy this or take a screen shot because you’ll need this code if you want to check on your eVisa. It’s easy to check on the process, and you’ll receive a message that says “Still in Process”. But even if you don’t check, you’ll receive an email telling you your eVisa has been processed. You can then go and print out your eVisa. I printed out a few copies of mine just to have extra copies.
Easy process all done in 3 business days. I applied on Thursday and by Monday, I received my email telling me my eVisa was ready. Be sure to check out all your options when applying for a visa, and if you need one for Vietnam, eVisa is the way to go. Have you used eVisa before? Did it go as smoothly for you as the process went for me? Any questions? Let me know!