My girlfriend is a Chinese citizen. We are in mainland China (Shanghai) and would like to go to Vietnam. Vietnam requires a visa for Chinese citizens. I read about a visa on arrival program, but that requires my girlfriend to enter Vietnam via a foreign airport that is not in mainland China. There are flights from Shanghai through Hong Kong to Vietnam.

Hong Kong lets Chinese citizens connect visa-free internationally, so long as you don't go through immigration. Would a flight from Shanghai connecting through Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh city allow my girlfriend to visit Vietnam with a visa on arrival?

  • 4
    Why not get the visa in advance? Or is this a last minute idea.
    – user13044
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 8:10

1 Answer 1


Despite the Vietnamese calling it that, there is no "visa on arrival" in Vietnam, at least as usually the term VoA is understood: a visa you can apply for when landing in the country, like, say, in neighbouring Laos. A "real" VoA is something that you apply for (and hopefully get) without any preparation, at the border, airport, etc.

If someone needs a Vietnamese visa (and Chinese citizens need one), it has to be applied for ahead of travel.

There are two ways to apply for a visa: the paper kind (either apply directly to the Consulate or though a travel agency), and online. Now online is actually two different things. There's the eVisa, which you apply for online, before leaving. You receive the visa itself, print it out, and use that to board your plane and clear immigration. And there's a pre-arranged visa, unfortunately named "visa on arrival", which you still have to arrange BEFORE leaving. You get an acknowledgment letter, which you have to print, then use at the arrival airport to pick up the actual visa, and THEN clear immigration. Which is kind of pointless. The only advantage of the pre-arranged visa over the eVisa is that the eVisa is only single entry, where the pre-arranged visa can be multiple. But that can be arranged too if you apply at a consulate.

So what your girlfriend needs to do is get online and apply for an eVisa. Once she gets it, she can take the printout with her to the airport, and then use it at immigration.

  • Thanks for the detailed answer. Yea visa on arrival is a bit of a misnomer. This is a last minute thing and were too busy to take time to visit the consulate. My concern is that I read that the printout/paper invitation letter/evisa document is not valid for flights originating from mainland China. I was thinking connecting thru hong kong might be a workaround.
    – Tucker
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 8:28
  • This is the first time I hear something like this. The eVisa web site doesn't mention anything like this. I think you guys should call (A) the consulate and (B) an airline. They have access to all the information, and should be able to confirm this to you.
    – user67108
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 8:32
  • This document lists China as eligible for the eVisa: evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/documents/20181/117155/…
    – user67108
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 8:35

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