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To visit Vietnam as a tourist, some must successfully apply for a Visa On Arrival (VOA) approval letter and carry such approval letter printed, both when arriving to departure airport and a destination airport (international airport) in Vietnam.

To try to get such approval letter, one has to visit a website of one of the Vietnamese government Authorized Visa on Arival Approval Letter Agency (AVoAALA), fill in a form and pay a fee;
For one month VOA approval letter, issuing fee will be about 18 USD.

If the try was successful, after about 5 days (or less, if an additional fee payed), an approval letter will be sent to the email given in in the form.

  • When reaching to a departure airport, checking-in in the flight company's counter must be done with this approval letter (their worker might not care if it is printed or from smartphone app but a Vietnamese border officer probably will).

  • After I landed on Vietnam, I went tot the VOA office and filled in a required form, I then gave that form, the printed approval letter and my passport to a Vietnamese border officer which examined all of these and then demanded me 15 USD or 25 USD (I don't recall exactly) stamping fee for stamping the visa that should be prepared in a few minutes after payment;
    I payed and waited for the preparation of the visa and later when my passport was returned to me with that visa, I could enter Vietnam via border police counter.

My problem

I understand that there are many AVoAALA and each one can charge different prices (either per month of stay and/or other reasons).

To work simple and fast I chose the AVoAALA recommended by the Vietnamese embassy of the country that a citizenship of which I currently hold, but I recognize no must to handle like this if I decide to go to Vietnam with a tourist visa again.

My question

How to find the legal, yet best priced authorized visa on arrival approval letter agency for Vietnam tourist visa?
Perhaps there is a list somewhere - or a search engine query trick that could help.

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    Why not use an e-visa instead, if you're eligible for one? – JonathanReez Dec 25 '19 at 6:51
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    @JonathanReez I now saw these are for 30 days only, but I consider coming to Vietnam for longer than that (and also, the citizenship I hold isn't in the list)... – user89343 Dec 25 '19 at 7:27
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    @hojusaram as I have answered to Jonathan, the country of which I hold citizenship isn't allowed for Evisa. – user89343 Jan 3 '20 at 5:57
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    I couldn't find a list anywhere; the most likely website to have such a list turned out to be a Vietnamese government intranet site that wanted a password I don't have, not being a Vietnamese government official. I will note that the US State Department can't even tell where to find a list of legitimate agencies, and they recommend avoiding these agencies entirely and obtaining visas from the consulate. – Michael Hampton Jan 3 '20 at 7:31
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    First - you don't have to get a VOA approval letter - you could simply apply for a Visa directly from the vietnamese embassy. (which does have the benefit of meaning less queueing on arriva, and can be used at any entry point.) Second, for whatever reason, the Vietnamese government declines to indicate which agencies are approved and which are not. It's literally a gamble applying for these letters. – CMaster Jan 3 '20 at 11:07
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As far as I can tell, the Vietnamese government does not publish any list (at least not in any language I understand) of authorised travel agents to issue a pre-approval VoA letter. I can vouch from personal experience that this unusal route of obtaining a letter from a travel agent is legitimate, however there is no way of you knowing if you have received a valid letter until you arrive at the border.

If you wish to travel with more certainty of entering Vietnam, you have two options:

  • Get an e-visa from https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/. This is an actual Vietnamese government site, that I found via the British FCO linking to it. Note that there are many commerical travel agent sites masquerading as offical government sites.

  • Apply for a traditional paper visa from your nearest Vietnamese Embassy. Note that this has the additional advantage that it can be used at any entry point, not just certain airports, and may have greater flexibility. Again, the Vietnamese government does not maintain a readily accessible list of the websites for these. I suggest you find their contact details via the local government where you are. To the best of my knowledge, the Vietnam does not care about citizenship in relation to which embassy you apply to.

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