E-Visa vs Visa on Arrival for Vietnam: Pros and Cons

vietnam evisa visa on arrival

What is an E-Visa? What is the difference between a visa on arrival, Approval Letter and a eVisa? Which one is better? How do you know which one you need? These are only a few of the questions that can come to mind when traveling to Vietnam. Perhaps you are trying to figure out if you need a E-Visa or if a visa on arrival would be better instead. We’re going to clarify the biggest difference between the two and share the pros and cons of each one.

At the moment, there are 2 types of visas for foreign visitors who wish to travel to Vietnam: the E-Visa and the visa-on-arrival. In order to obtain either one, you are required to have a valid passport. Note that citizens of most countries do need to obtain a visa to visit Vietnam and should have one before boarding the plane.

Pros and Cons of the Vietnam eVisa

One of the main advantages of the Vietnam E-Visa is that you can complete an online form with all of your personal and travel details. The Vietnam eVisa application must be done online and all you need is an Internet connection and a tablet, mobile or computer.

If you complete the online E-Visa form for Vietnam you do not need to pay a stamp fee upon arrival at the airport. Most applications are processed within 3 business days.

Once approved, the Vietnam E-Visa will have a 30-day validity to travel within the country. You will be able to use the electronic visa to enter Vietnam through 28 different ports of entry.

However, some of the disadvantages of an E-Visa for Vietnam are that only 81 countries are eligible to get it. An online visa is non-extendable and it is a single entry visa. Travelers should also consider that if the online visa application is denied, they cannot obtain a refund from the government of Vietnam.


To apply for an eVisa or online Visa for Vietnam you need:

  • A digital passport photo, in which you are strongly advised not to wear glasses, scarves, etc. Both ears must be shown.
  • A digital scan of the passport photo page. It can be in color or black and white but the info should be readable.
  • A credit or debit card to pay for the visa fee.

When completing the Vietnam E-Visa form you should provide details of your port of entry and your exit point. You will also need to provide an address in the country, the address of your accommodation in Vietnam will suffice. Your passport should have a minimum validity of 6 months from the expected date of arrival in Vietnam and must have two blank pages.

When the E-Visa is approved, you should print a copy to present at the airport. With your electronic visa, you can skip the visa on arrival line and head straight to border control where the immigration officers will stamp your passport.


Pros and Cons of the Visa-on-Arrival or Approval Letter

The visa-on-arrival, also called Approval Letter, has certain advantages worth considering. It is available to all travelers arriving by air and there are types of duration available. Travelers can choose between a 30-day stay or a 60-day stay. American citizens can request a one-year stay visa upon arrival in Vietnam. The processing time takes up to two working days and the visa can be extended.

However, there is a downside to the Vietnam visa on arrival. The total price of this type of visa is unclear. It is available only at five main airports in Vietnam. The visa-on-arrival requires more paperwork than the electronic visa.

To obtain this visa, you need to have a digital passport photo, with the same requirements as those for the e-Visa. You are required to scan the passport photo page. You also need a debit or credit card to pay for the visa fee.

There are a few things you need to know before you apply for a visa-on-arrival. You will need to print the Vietnamese Approval Letter and prepare two passport-sized photos for obtain a visa on arrival. Upon arrival, you should present the Approval Letter and the passport-sized photos at the immigration office located at the airport before getting in the regular immigration line.

You will need to pay an additional “stamping fee” at the airport, besides the fee of the visa. This fee must be paid in cash, and you can use USD or Vietnamese Dong. ATMs are outside the customs area and you will not be able to take out money to pay for the fee.

If you need to obtain the visa-on-arrival, you still need to complete an online form with your personal detail and passport information and pay a fee with a debit or credit card.

The eVisa speeds up the process of obtaining a visa and makes arriving in Vietnam a smoother experience. Before applying verify that you meet the E-Visa requirements.