I’m an American currently living in Vietnam on a 1 year tourist visa. Vietnam is an amazing country. Low cost of living, lovely girls, great food, very beautiful country and it’s centrally located in Asia. So trips to Japan, Bali, China, Thailand can all be done with ease.
The best part? You can get a 1 year tourist visa for Vietnam instead of having to do costly visa runs if you were to live in Thailand.
As a current expat, it’s simply amazing that you can get a 1 year tourist visa. You can live in Vietnam and travel with ease to other countries without needing to worry about this legal requirement. I’ve had friends in Thailand who left the country to get a tourist visa only to be denied entry.
How to Get a Tourist Visa For Vietnam as An American
A visa for Vietnam as an American is a very simple process. Here are the steps you need to take.
Step 1 – Visit Vietnam-Visa.com
On the website you have the option to select what visa you want. As an American you can get a 1 year multiple entry tourist visa, a 1 year multiple entry business visa or a 1 month tourist visa.
- The 1 year business visa is more expensive but it allows you to live in Vietnam for a whole year without needing to leave.
- For the 1 year tourist visa, you are required by Vietnamese law to leave the country every 3 months.
- The 1 month visa is a single entry visa designed for short trips.
I personally travel so the 1 year tourist visa makes senses as I don’t mind doing visa runs. Now the difference with a visa run with a 1 year tourist visa as opposed to other countries is that you still have your visa. You don’t need to leave and re-apply or anything. You literally just need to leave the country.
So foreigners hop on a bus and go to Cambodia and turn around and come right back. I personally like to make a trip out of it:
Vietnam is strange in that you go through a private company to get your tourist visa. But it’s how most travelers get their visa. For us Americans, Vietnam does not provide a visa on arrival so your options are:
- Go to the embassy directly and apply for a tourist visa
- Apply online through Vietnam-Visa.com
If you live near an embassy or consulate then I would simply visit and apply for your tourist visa there. But for most of us, you’re not going to live anywhere near the Vietnam embassy in Washington D.C. so it’s helpful.
When you go to Vietnam-Visa.com and pay for your letter of invitation, what they will do is email you that letter. Print it out and take it with you.
You need that paper to get on the plane as it’s proof you have a visa. Again, Vietnam does not have a visa on arrival for Americas so if you don’t have this letter printed out you will have difficulty getting on the plane.
Step 2 – Pay the stamping fee at the airport
Once you print out and show your letter to the airport staff, you’ll fly to Vietnam. Upon landing at the airport what you will have to do is submit the following for your visa to be processed at the airport:
- Your passport.
- Passport pictures.
- Your letter from Vietnam-Visa.com
Hand everything over, sit down and wait for about an hour or so at the airport. Once your visa is ready, you’ll have to pay for it in US dollars. Depending on the visa you selected will determine the cost so just be prepared before you fly to Vietnam.
Step 3 – Go through Immigration
You should now have a 1 year tourist visa for Vietnam. All you need to do now is go through immigration at the airport. All in all you’re going to spend about 2.5 hours at the airport getting everything setup.
About an hour or so to get your visa processed and another hour waiting in line to go through immigration.
1 Year Tourist Visa For Americans in Vietnam
So that’s it. It’s a very simple, easy process. Yes, it’s a bit strange the first time you do it so that’s what compelled me to make this post and video. Does it really work? Yes. Is it safe? Yes. It’s really how you get your visa for Vietnam.
You have to go through a company to get a letter of invitation. I used and recommend Vietnam-Visa.com.