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My passport is Canadian, and I live in Japan. I have a 10 hour stopover in Hanoi and a 16 hour stopover in Ho Chi Minh 2 weeks later. I'd like to explore the cities during at least one of these stopovers.

While most countries have an official government website explaining visa procedures, the first 50 results when I search for information about visas in Vietnam, are all travel agencies with URLs designed to appear like they are official.

The Vietnam consulate in Osaka doesn't seem to have a webpage. I found this e-mail address for them: tlsvnosa@gold.ocn.ne.jp , but my e-mail bounced back immediately.

One online travel agency looked good: 2 day process and $17 service fee. But they hid the fact that I'd be charged another $65 at the airport for multi-entry stamping fee.

How should I apply for the visa to enter Vietnam twice, with minimal fees ?

  • From what I remember when I applied for one in my country is that you have to show up at the embassy to hand in your application. That's why these agencies are popular (the fee costs less than a train ticket and a day spent at the embassy), and some sound serious. If I were you, I would search for a serious agency. Note also that a multiple-entry visa is probably more expensive than a single-entry. – Vince Sep 3 '14 at 12:26
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Yeah, the process is a little odd. I wrote it up here.

Basically, those travel-agencies that look like scams? They are borderline legit. You do have to pay somebody $10-$20 now, and then a $65 fee at the airport.

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Unfortunately, the government of Vietnam does not appear to host an (English) website listing all their official embassy sites. However, if your nation hosts a list of official missions, you may be able to find it there. Beyond that, searching for "Vietnamese Embassy " normally finds some viable candidates. Real embassy sites seem to always refer to "The Socialist Republic of Vietnam", and the front page will normally list announcements by Vietnamese officials, trade deals, etc.

In the case of Japan, it would appear all Visas are handled by the main embassy in Tokyo, hence your problems with the Osaka consulate. However, as the process seems to involve only posting off your passport, the exact location is unimportant. The process involves filling out a form, and sending, it, your passport, and the fee off together. See application page on the Vietnamese embassy site.

It is also possible to acquire a "Pre-approved Visa on Arrival" for Vietnam, provided your are entering by air to Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi or Da Nang airports. This tends to be cheaper than getting a visa through embassies, but has less flexibility and involves joining a queue at the airport. It also requires that the pre-approval is negotiated by a Vietnamese private agency. You can find a fairly detailed description fo the process in a TripAdvisor FAQ. Roughly speaking it works like this:

  1. Find a suitable agency, send the details they require and their fee off to them.
  2. The agency will send you a scan of a letter with your name (and possibly several others) on it, and an official Vietnamese government stamp.
  3. On arrival at the airport, you find the appropriate desk. You show your letter, hand over your passport, and pay another fee (the amount of this keeps changing and depends on your visa type), and the Visa is added to your passport. You can now proceed to immigration

Only limited types of visa are available on the pre-approved visa on arrival scheme. If you want another type of visa, or are arriving at a land border, sea border, or an airport not on the approved list, you will need a visa (or to be entitled to visa-free entry)

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You can apply a transit visa and you have max. 5 days to entry Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, but it is only single entry. Contact a Vietnam travel company and they will help you to get that. But my recommendation is visa on arrival, it is the cheapest!

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When we went to VietNam with my family 2 years ago, we got visa on arrival. Depending on the queue, it takes from 15 minutes to an hour. It is relatively easy process and you can get up to 3 months multiple entry visa. ($50) More information about the process can be found http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g293921-c148049/Vietnam:Faq.Visa.On.Arrival.Voa.html .

We were travelling through VietNam, Cambodia, Thailan and Singapore and Tonkin Travel agency helped us through it. I believe tonkintravel.com is their website. Miss Huong helped us and we were very pleased. You just need to print the approval form and present the document at the VOA counter. Pay by cash and you are good to enter the country.

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