Hello from Vietnam!
I know its been a while but I thought I would share a quick update about my most recent trip through Southeast Asia – specifically the visa situation.
Of the four countries I am visiting on this trip (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia) only Vietnam does not allow Americans to get a Visa on Arrival. Well to be more precise, the three other countries allow you to walk to the border, pay some USD and get a visa – Vietnam is a little more complicated.
As an American, you have two options to get a Visa if you fly into the country:
1) Apply at your closest Vietnam Embassy for a visa ranging from one to three months. You must send them either your passport or a copy of your passport and the visa is given to you prior to arriving in Vietnam.
2) Get a letter of approval that will allow you to buy a visa upon arriving in Vietnam. This option is cheaper but you must arrive by plane (not a land border) and you MUST have your letter of apprvoal, visa paperwork, one passport photo and 25 USD when you land.
We opted for option two using Vietnam-Visa.com and the process could not have been easier. We filled out the online form and within 48 hours we had a email with the paper work we needed and the letter of approval. We printed these off, filled them out and were able to get our Visas no problem once landing in Vietnam.
No trip to the embassy, no need to send off our passports, and much cheaper to boot.
If you plan to arrive in Vietnam via air, I highly recommend this option.
Disclaimer: As part of my review of these services, Vietnam-Visa.com waived my fees. However, all opinions are my own.