Apply a visa is never be a fun part on travel arrangement. However, it is certainly the important work you must do before your departure. While the visa exemption list of Vietnam visa is till very short, most of people still need a visa to visit this beautiful country. Someone has a difficulty on finding Vietnamese embassy or consulate nearby their locations. They may find Visa on arrival (VOA or pre-arranged visa) is a good option to obtain a legitimate visa to Vietnam. Actually, there are more season to do so, I would like to list some highlights:
People concern the legitimate of VOA, of course, nobody wants to face Immigration problem when they travel. One more time, I want to reconfirm that VOA is totally legitimated. Visa at the airport is 100% the same as visa issued at embassy. A travel agent is allowed to obtain a visa approval letter on your behalf under the Immigration lawsuit. Follow this link to read more of legal basics of VOA (article 5).
You will totally control your time of travel, VOA gives a big gap of time for you if you need to change your travel plan in last minutes as the whole process can be done within couple of days or even sooner.
Even the Immigration stamping fee rose last year, VOA is still much cheaper compare to any other ways. Plus, you don’t have to put the expenses of travel, postage if you go with VOA option. You will save up at least 40% to apply directly to embassy.
No passport post away, no queuing, no document required. All what you need is a computer and you can apply from anywhere. Resulted in 48 hours and all processes are done online. If you are busy, you can ask someone to apply it for you instead.
VOA seems to be the only way to obtain your Vietnam visa if you need it in urgent. Some agencies could offer your visa arrangement within 01 hour from the time of application. It will be a best solution for someone changes travel plan in last minutes, or others uncontrolled situations.
Disclaimer: VOA is not the only way to obtain your visa. You can also apply directly to Vietnamese embassy and consulate for a valid visa before departure. especially for people travel to Vietnam by sea, border crossing or alike as VOA just works for AIR TRAVEL.
Recommended agencies to VOA online application:
First of all, visitors are able to pick up their visas at Vietnam International Airports IF they are holding a document called ‘Approval Letter’ which pre – arranged by a Vietnamese tour operator. This is 100% legal. And everyday, hundreds to thousands of visitors are picking up their visas at Vietnam airports without a problem.
So, how comes someone or even Vietnamese Embassy’s consular refers it to scam or not legitimated? I think because of the way people call or define the ‘Visa On Arrival’ as ‘Visa On Arrival’ is NOT existed in Vietnamese Immigration Law. As I understand, Cambodia or Laos has Visa On Arrival because I just go there, show my passport, pay my fees then visa will be stamped to my passport. But in Vietnam, you can’t do that. You must make a pre – step to get a paper called ‘Approval Letter’, once you have it done, then you can pick up your visa at the airport as normal.
The conflict on defining could leads to some difficult situation for travelers. Someone just go to the airport for boarding without a visa as they understand Vietnam has ‘Visa On Arrival’ to offer. I launched a website of Instant Vietnam Visa couple of weeks ago. Guess what? the first week, we received more than 10 requests on rush visa!!!. Travelers just realized they need a valid visa OR Approval Letter to allow boarding to Vietnam. Luckily, our team served them on time to grant Approval Letter within 01 hour, just on time for boarding, one case needed to change his flight to next day as his time was too tight up.
Back to the question Visa On Arrival is a scam or legitimated in Vietnam? The answer are both Yes and No. Yes, because Vietnam does not offer Visa On Arrival (as my above definition) and No, because you can pick up your visa on your arrival if you arrange Approval Letter in advance. With current situation, I may call it as ‘Pre-arrangement Visa Permitting’. I am not too sure about it. Someone may help on how to rename this type of visa’s definition to avoid misunderstandings and problem for travelers to Vietnam. Thank you!