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Visa needed

Hi, I am a US citizen flying out of SFO to Hanoi for a river cruise vacation package. The tour begins on land in Hanoi for 2 days. I plan to fly out 1 day earlier to go on my own. My question is do I need a visa for Hanoi Vietnam if i’m On my own for 1 day.

Posted by
1567 posts


Pretty sure you won't be able to board your plane without the visa confirmation.

Why don't you look up the requirements at the nearest Vietnamese embassy/consulate website.

Posted by
130 posts

Yes, you will need a visa upon arrival in Hanoi. Call the Embassy of Vietnam closest to your home and speak with someone direct. You can download an application from internet but will need to send cash and photo along with application to Embassy via Fed Ex. You will receive your visa in about 10 days. Is cruise company providing visa for other ports of entry?

Posted by
15644 posts

I visited Vietnam in January 2018, so my info is current as of then. I had two choices, get a visa from the embassy or get a VOA (visa on arrival) on the internet. I would have had to make two trips to the embassy, once to make the request and then a few days later to pick up my passport with the visa. I worked out that the parking fees would cost more than any additional costs to get the VOA.

Here's how the VOA works. You apply for a letter of approval with a private outfit. You have to fill out an eform and pay (I used PayPal) a fee. Within a specified number of days, you receive the approval and a form to fill out and sign. Print them at home and bring them with you to Vietnam. At the airport you go to the VOA office and submit your papers and passport phots with your passport. Then you wait while they process it. They call out your name (you may not understand it since pronunciation is often mangled) but there are overhead screens that show your name and photo. You go back to the counter, pay the cost of the visa in cash (US dollars, preferably fairly new notes), and go to passport control.

If you plan to go out of Vietnam and reenter, you need a multiple visit visa. Otherwise just get the single-entry. Mine cost $25 and the letter of approval cost $7. I used Vietnam Visa Pro. (the cost is now $6). I got my letter in less than 48 hours (they promise 2 business days).

If you were flying into Saigon - one of the biggest airports in the world - the VOA process at the airport could take a long time. You're lucky (as I was), since the Hanoi airport isn't very big, so the wait is usually short. I think it took me about 1/2 hour. There were some folks ahead of me but who hadn't filled out the forms in advance, so they had a longer wait. I don't remember if the company sent me the forms or if I downloaded them from their website.

I believe there is also a free on-the-spot visa if you are only staying a few days in Vietnam and both arriving and departing by plane. I don't know how long.

The forum was a great help in planning my trip. You can get up-to-date info there.

Posted by
752 posts

Here is the contact information for the Vietnam Consulate in San Francisco ( assuming you live in this area)

How soon are you departing? If the visa on arrival described in the previous post doesn’t work for you, you may want to consider the online application process from the consulate. US citizens don’t need the approval letter., and the consulate can Fedex your new visa to you.

Is your cruise company based in the US, or is it a Vietnam company? A US company normally would have raised the visa issue when you booked the cruise.