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All foreign nationals need a Vietnam visa to enter Vietnam, with certain exceptions: citizens of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Japan and South Korea do not need a visa if they are travelling to Vietnam for less than fifteen days, have a passport valid for three months following the date of entry and hold a return air ticket.

Citizens of certain ASEAN–member countries, including Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are also exempt for stays of up to thirty days. Tourist visas are generally valid for thirty days and for a single entry, though some embassies issue visas for three months or longer and may also issue multiple–entry visas. A standard thirty–day visa costs the local equivalent of US$30–100, depending on how quickly you want it processed.

The majority of visitors apply for a visa in their country of residence, either from the embassy direct, or through a specialist visa agent or tour agent. Processing normally takes around a week, though many embassies now also offer a more expensive “express” service. To be on the safe side, it’s best to allow several weeks as delays and mistakes can occur (check the details carefully on receipt). For people travelling via neighbouring Asian countries, Bangkok is still the most popular place to apply for a Vietnamese visa, since it’s relatively straightforward (1–5 working days; around US$55–80), though Cambodia has a reputation for being quick, helpful and cheap. At the time of writing, the embassy in Phnom Penh was issuing thirty-day tourist visas in two days for $30, while the consulate in Sihanoukville did them on the spot.

To apply for a Vietnam tourist visa, you have to submit an application form to Lucky Vietnam Visa , Fun Vietnam Visa with one or two passport-sized photographs (procedures vary) and the fee. The visa shows specific start and end dates indicating the period of validity within which you can enter and leave the country. The visa is valid for entry via Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang international airports and any of Vietnam’s land borders open to foreigners.

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