A valid visa is required for almost visitors to Vietnam, except for those who are exempted from Vietnam Visa as regulated by the Government.
For those whose nationalities is not listed in the Visa exemption list, they need to arrange Vietnam visa before their departure by applying at a local Vietnam Embassy/Consulate to get their visa stamped OR applying for a visa approval letter online through a travel agent in Vietnam to get visa stamped at Vietnam International Airports upon arrival (also known as visa on arrival).
Option 1: Obtain a Visa at Vietnam Embassy
You can go to the most convenient Vietnam Embassy (in your country or whichever country you might be staying before your travel to Vietnam) to apply for a Visa to Vietnam. For example, if you are in United Kingdom, you should go to Vietnam Embassy or Consulate in UK to get your Vietnam entry visa.
The visa procedure and cost vary from embassy to embassy. So you are recommended to contact the embassy in advance for a good preparation. Normally, its takes you about 2-5 working days to get your Vietnam visa. You are required to send in your passport along with some other documents when applying for Vietnam visa at an embassy.
Option 2: Get Vietnam Visa on Arrival through a travel agent
In addition to the traditional way of obtaining a visa at the local embassies of Vietnam, recently, foreigners who wish to visit Vietnam have another option for visa application which is to get a visa on arrival.
By now, this seems to be the easiest way to obtain your visa to Vietnam as all services (from travel agents in Vietnam) are offered online. It is a legitimate alternative when applying for a tourist or business visa (valid in 1 month or 3 months).
With this option, you are first required to submit the visa application form online to get a visa approval letter which is issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department as an official permission allowing to get on flight to Vietnam and then have visa stamped onto your passport upon arrival at the Vietnam international airports as you pass through our Immigration Checkpoint.
At the arrival airport in Vietnam, you will get your visa stamped by submitting printed visa approval letter, passport, 2 passport-sized photos, entry and exit form, and stamping fee to the in-charge officer at the checking point. Remember that the stamping fees are compulsory and there are two levels: US $45 for one/three-month single entry visa, US $65 for one-month multiple entry visa and US $95 for three-month multiple entry visa. You can pay either in US dollar (USD) or Vietnamese Dong (VND), however, the former is recommended.
Aside from the stamping fee, which you pay directly to the immigrant officer at the airport, all travel agencies will charge service fee to process the visa approval letters. The prices may vary depending on which service you choose, and the number of applicants in your visa application.
There are many travel agencies in Vietnam offering visa on arrival service for foreigners, so it is recommended you choose one with good reputation to ensure yourself a good start for a wonderful trip to Vietnam.