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As you plan your trip to Vietnam, navigating the country's immigration system is an important first step. Vietnam has strict entry requirements that you must understand to avoid legal trouble or deportation. Whether traveling for tourism, business, education, or long-term residency, you will need to obtain the proper visa to enter Vietnam. The specific requirements depend on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. With some advance planning, you can have a smooth experience passing through immigration at one of Vietnam's international airports or land border crossings. This guide provides an overview of Vietnam's visa policy, the application process, and key considerations for your trip. Follow these steps carefully and you'll be exploring the vibrant streets of Hanoi or relaxing on the beaches of Da Nang in no time.

Do I need a visa to enter Vietnam?

Most foreign nationals traveling to Vietnam for tourism or business require a visa to enter the country. Vietnam offers visa exemptions for citizens of certain countries, including members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). If you are not from an exempt country, you will need to obtain a visa before your trip.

What types of visas does Vietnam offer?

Vietnam offers several types of visas for different purposes:

  • Tourist visa (VN): For tourism and non-business visits up to 30 days. Can be single or multiple entry.

  • Business visa (DN): For business visits and work. Can be single, multiple, or long-term entry.

  • Student visa (VN): For studying at a Vietnamese educational institution. Long-term entry only.

  • Work permit (NN): Required in addition to a business or student visa for long-term work or study in Vietnam.

Types of Vietnam Visas for Tourists

To enter Vietnam as a tourist, you will need to obtain a proper visa. Vietnam offers several types of visas for tourism purposes:

Single-Entry Visa

A single-entry visa allows you to enter Vietnam once for a maximum stay of 30 days. It is suitable if you plan to visit Vietnam for a short trip. You will need to apply for a new visa for any subsequent trips.

Multiple-Entry Visa

A multiple-entry visa permits multiple entries into Vietnam for a maximum of 90 days total stay within a 6-month period. It is ideal if you intend to make several short trips or business visits to Vietnam. With a multiple-entry visa, you do not need to apply for a new visa for each visit within the permitted timeframe.

Visa on Arrival (VOA)

VOA allows you to obtain a single-entry visa upon landing in Vietnam at certain international airports. You need to apply for an approval letter in advance, then obtain the actual visa at the airport. VOA is valid for 30 days and cannot be extended. It is convenient but often more expensive than other visa types.

No matter which type of visa you need, you will have to apply through a Vietnamese embassy/consulate or an online visa service that can process applications on your behalf. The requirements typically include a completed application form, one or two photos, an approval letter (if applying for VOA), and a visa fee. The process usually takes 3 to 5 business days but can be expedited for an additional fee.

How to Apply for a Vietnam Tourist Visa

To enter Vietnam as a tourist, you will need to obtain a proper visa. Vietnam offers visa exemptions for citizens of certain countries, but if you do not qualify for an exemption, you will need to apply for a visa. The most common type is the single-entry tourist visa.

To apply for a Vietnam tourist visa, you have two options:

  1. Apply through a Vietnamese embassy or consulate: This process typically takes 3 to 5 business days. You will need to submit an application form, one 2-inch photo, your original passport, and a letter of invitation (if required). Fees range from $80 to $135 USD depending on the embassy/consulate and processing time.

  2. Apply for an e-Visa online: This is a more convenient option as it only takes 3 business days to process. You can apply on the official Vietnam Immigration Department website. The requirements are similar but can be submitted electronically. E-Visa fees are $25 USD. Once approved, you will receive an e-Visa approval letter to print and present upon arrival in Vietnam.

Upon entry into Vietnam, immigration officers will stamp your passport and either staple in your visa (for embassy/consulate visas) or stamp your e-Visa approval letter (for e-Visas). The single-entry tourist visa is valid for 30 days. Extensions up to 90 days total are possible for an additional fee.

To avoid complications, check current Vietnam visa requirements and policies on the official government websites before your trip. Carefully review the details and ensure you understand the specific requirements for your nationality and the purpose of your visit. With some advance preparation, obtaining a Vietnam tourist visa can be a straightforward process. Enjoy your trip to this amazing country!

Vietnam Business Visas: Who Needs Them and How to Apply

To conduct business in Vietnam, many foreign nationals will require a proper business visa. If you plan to work for a Vietnam-based company, start a business, or invest in Vietnam, you will likely need a business visa.

Who Needs a Business Visa?

Foreign employees, business owners, investors, and representatives of foreign companies operating in Vietnam are required to obtain a business visa. Some examples include:

  • Foreign employees working for companies in Vietnam

  • Business owners establishing a company or branch in Vietnam

  • Foreign investors involved in investment projects in Vietnam

  • Representatives of foreign suppliers, buyers, and partners visiting Vietnam for business

How to Apply for a Business Visa

Business visas must be sponsored by a Vietnam-based company, organization, or individual. The sponsor will provide an invitation letter to support your business visa application. To apply:

  1. Obtain the invitation letter from your Vietnam sponsor. The letter should specify the purpose and duration of your visit.

  2. Submit your application at the nearest Vietnam embassy or consulate in your home country. You will need to provide:

  3. A completed visa application form

  4. Your original passport with at least 6 months of validity

  5. Two passport-size photos

  6. The invitation letter from your sponsor

  7. A letter from your company explaining the purpose of your trip (for company representatives)

  8. Pay the required visa fees. The fees vary depending on the duration of your stay, single or multiple entry, and processing time.

  9. Your passport with the approved business visa will be returned to you within 4 to 7 business days. Some embassies offer express 1 to 2-day processing for an additional fee.

  10. Enter Vietnam within 90 days of receiving your business visa. The permitted duration of stay is specified in your visa.

Business visas can be extended for up to 12 months at a time. Extensions require additional paperwork and fees. It is best to apply for the proper duration based on the length of your business activities in Vietnam.

Work Permits and Visas for Foreigners in Vietnam

To legally work or live long-term in Vietnam as a foreigner, you will need to obtain the proper work permit and visa. Vietnam’s immigration system has several options available depending on the purpose and duration of your stay.

Work Permits

Foreigners looking to work legally in Vietnam must obtain a work permit, which is sponsored by your Vietnam-based employer. The process typically takes 6 to 8 weeks and requires submitting documents like a university degree, health check, and police clearance. Work permits are initially valid for 2 years and must be renewed to continue working in Vietnam.

Business Visas

For short-term business travel, visitors can apply for a business visa (DL) valid for up to 6 months. You will need an invitation letter from a Vietnam-based company to apply for a business visa. Business visas allow multiple entries and a stay of up to 6 months per entry. They can be extended for up to 24 months total.

Work Visas

If you have a work permit, you will need to apply for a work visa (DT) to legally work in Vietnam long-term. Work visas are tied to your specific work permit and employer. They allow multiple entries and stays of up to 2 years. Work visas must be renewed along with your work permit.

Temporary Residence Cards

For long-term residency in Vietnam, expats can apply for a Temporary Residence Card (TRC). TRCs are valid for up to 5 years and allow unlimited entries and exits. To be eligible for a TRC, you typically need to have a work permit and have lived in Vietnam for at least 2 years. TRCs provide more stability and fewer visa renewals.

Vietnam’s immigration policies are evolving to attract more foreign talent and investment. By understanding the various options, you can navigate Vietnam’s system and stay legally for short-term business, long-term work, or residency. With the proper permits and visas, Vietnam can provide many opportunities and adventures for foreigners looking to experience all it has to offer.

How to Get a Vietnam Work Visa and Residency Card

To legally work or live long-term in Vietnam, you will need to obtain the proper work visa and residency card. The process involves several steps:

Apply for a Work Permit

First, your employer in Vietnam must apply for a work permit on your behalf. They will submit documents like your resume, copies of your degrees or certifications, a health check, and a letter explaining why they need to hire a foreign employee. The work permit is employer-specific and tied to your job. If you change jobs, a new work permit must be obtained.

Obtain a Work Visa

With a work permit approved, you can apply for a work visa at a Vietnamese embassy or consulate. You will need to submit the work permit along with a visa application form, two photos, your valid passport, and a letter from your employer. A single-entry work visa is valid for 3 months and a multiple-entry work visa for 6-12 months. The work visa must be used within 90 days of issuance.

Apply for a Temporary Residence Card

Within 15 days of entering Vietnam, you must apply for a temporary residence card, also known as a TRC. This establishes your legal residency in Vietnam for the duration of your work permit and visa. Your employer will help you submit the necessary paperwork to the local immigration department. The TRC will be valid for up to 2 years and must be renewed when your work permit and visa are extended.

Extend Your Work Permit, Visa and TRC

To continue living and working in Vietnam long-term, you need to extend your work permit, work visa, and temporary residence card. Start the renewal process at least 3 months before the current permits expire. As long as you remain employed, you can extend the work permit, visa and TRC for up to 3 years at a time. After several years, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Following the proper steps to obtain the necessary permits and visas is key to legally living and working in Vietnam long-term. Pay close attention to the requirements and deadlines to avoid complications with immigration authorities. With the right paperwork in place, you can stay in Vietnam for many years.

Can I Live in Vietnam Permanently? How to Get a Vietnam Permanent Residence Card

Permanent Residence Options

If you wish to stay in Vietnam long-term or permanently, you will need to apply for a permanent residence card. There are a few options available:

  • Retirement Visa: currently there is no retirement visa option for Vietnam.

  • Investor Visa: For business owners or investors. Requires either a $100,000 deposit in a Vietnamese bank or investment in real estate/securities. Grants 5-year temporary residence with extensions.

  • Family Visa: For foreigners married to a Vietnamese citizen or with Vietnamese children. Requires proof of relationship and allows temporary 5-year residence.

  • Expert Visa: For highly-skilled workers, executives, or experts in fields like science, technology, business, sports, culture, or education. Sponsorship from a Vietnamese company is required. Grants 2-5 years of temporary residence.

Applying for Permanent Residence

To obtain permanent residence (PR) status, you must first live in Vietnam on a long-term temporary residence visa for 3-5 years. Then, you can apply for PR through the Immigration Department. Requirements include:

  1. A long-term temporary residence card (as above) for 3-5 consecutive years.

  2. A permanent address/accommodation in Vietnam.

  3. Proof of financial solvency (e.g. bank statements showing $10,000+).

  4. A health certificate.

  5. No criminal record.

  6. The PR application form and supporting documents.

The PR application process typically takes 6-12 months. If approved, you will receive a 5-year PR card. After 5 years, you can apply to renew your PR status indefinitely. As a PR, you have most rights as Vietnamese citizens except voting. You can live, work, study, and exit/enter Vietnam freely.

Obtaining permanent residence in Vietnam provides stability and opens up more life opportunities. However, the requirements are quite stringent, and the process can be complicated. It is best to work with an immigration lawyer to ensure your application is successful. With the proper documents and patience, you can establish Vietnam as your permanent home.

Buying Property in Vietnam as a Foreigner: What You Need to Know

As a foreigner, purchasing property in Vietnam requires navigating the country’s legal system and understanding several key requirements. Before buying a home or land in Vietnam, make sure you understand the following:

Legal Ownership

Foreign individuals and entities can legally own property in Vietnam, but the law limits foreign ownership to 50 years for residential property and 70 years for commercial property. After this period, the property reverts back to the Vietnamese government. Some developments offer “leasehold” titles that provide usage rights for up to 70 years, which can be renewed.

Approval and Licensing

Foreigners must obtain approval from provincial authorities to buy property in Vietnam. This typically requires a “red book” or “pink book” property title and an investment certificate. The process can take 3 to 6 months. Work with a reputable real estate agent or lawyer to ensure the proper licenses and approvals are obtained.


Most foreigners buy property in Vietnam with cash, as mortgages are not commonly offered to non-residents. If financing is needed, you may be able to obtain a loan from an international bank or non-bank financial institution that operates in Vietnam. Interest rates will likely be higher than in your home country.

Taxes and Fees

Expect to pay a transfer tax of 2% of the property’s value, as well as notary and registration fees which typically total around 0.5% to 1% of the property price. Annual property taxes in Vietnam are low, around 0.03% to 0.15% of the assessed value. Capital gains taxes of 25% apply when you sell the property.

Inheritance Issues

The Vietnamese legal system does not recognize inheritance by foreigners. This means your heirs and beneficiaries may not automatically inherit the property. The best option is to designate an heir who is a Vietnamese citizen or sell the property before the end of the ownership period.

Following these guidelines will help ensure a smooth property purchase experience in Vietnam. But when in doubt, seek legal counsel to navigate the nuances of Vietnam’s property laws for foreigners.

Opening a Bank Account in Vietnam as a Foreigner

To open a bank account in Vietnam as a foreigner, you will need to provide certain documentation and meet specific requirements. The process typically takes between 3 to 5 business days once you have submitted all the necessary paperwork.

Required Documents

The documents needed to open a bank account in Vietnam include:

  • Your original passport with a valid Vietnam visa

  • A photocopy of your passport information page

  • Proof of your local address in Vietnam (rental contract, utility bills, etc.)

  • Initial deposit amount (typically VND 2 million or USD $100)

Some banks may require additional documents like a reference letter from your employer. Check with the specific bank for their full list of requirements.

Choosing a Bank

There are many banks in Vietnam that offer accounts for foreigners, including major international banks like HSBC, Citibank, and Standard Chartered. Local Vietnamese banks like Vietcombank, VietinBank, and BIDV also provide banking services for expats. Compare account features like online banking, ATM access, and fees to determine the best option for your needs.

Opening the Account

To open your Vietnamese bank account, schedule an appointment with your selected bank and bring all the required paperwork. A bank representative will review your documents, have you fill out an application, and collect your initial deposit. They will also have you sign a banking agreement to finalize the account opening.

Within a few business days, you will receive your ATM card, online banking login details, and account information. You can then start using your Vietnamese bank account to receive direct deposits, pay bills, withdraw cash from ATMs, and make local and international money transfers.

Opening a bank account in Vietnam provides convenience and security for living, working, or traveling in Vietnam long-term. Following the proper steps and ensuring you have the necessary documentation will make the process straightforward and help you avoid complications. If you have any other questions about banking in Vietnam, consult an expat tax and financial advisor.