I have a Vietnam visa (U.S. citizen) valid from April 17 - May 17. I applied for the visa months ago, and didn't realize the visa was only good for those dates, and my plans changed. I entered Vietnam on May 3, and noticed the dates on the visa. I'd like to stay for 3 weeks, taking me past the May 17th end date.

Does anyone know if this will be an issue?

I checked the travel.state.gov site and didn't see the usual mention of penalties for overstaying. Is the visa valid from the day I enter or from the date on the visa?

Is there a way I can get the dates changed on my visa, without having to pay for a new one?

  • 3
    Ended up getting a visa extension in Hoi An for $25. It took 6 days.
    – jjeaton
    May 20, 2012 at 7:17

2 Answers 2


enter image description hereYes, it WILL be an issue, unless you're very, very lucky.

The whole point of a visa is that the government of that country has taken into account who you are and where you are from, and issued a set of days that it's happy for you to be in its country for. Flouting those, due to ignorance, accident, or even (some would say unfairly) conditions out of your control, like flooding or breakdown can cause you to be fined, charged or imprisoned. In most cases, it'll merely be a fine.

In some situations, violating visa rules can cause you to get barred from entering the country again, and if you have to put that on visa applications for other countries can cause you to have restrictions on visas for those.

I've seen people be deported for going to the govt and asking for an extension after theirs was up, and being barred from coming back - we had a police guard at our hostel while his flight was being sorted. I've seen a Canadian marched off the Trans-Siberian because he didn't realise the border crossing was after midnight, and therefore was considered an overstayer. And I was getting very stressed in Uzbekistan when I crossed the border to Tajikistan with 8 hours left on my visa :)

It's one of those rare cases where it's easier (and cheaper) to ask permission than forgiveness. Apply for either a visa extension, or what I did for Tajikistan - apply for a second visa. They didn't mind - just as when you have two trips coming up to a country you may want two visas, I just scheduled the two back-to-back.

It did cause a bit of confusion at the border, but once they worked it out, no problem. And legal confusion is far preferable to illegal overstaying and fines, or worse :/

Some more links of use:

  • I agree on not overstaying. I should have clarified, I meant if it's a 30 day visa, does it start from the day I enter or the date on the visa. It looks like I'll be paying for an extension, which costs about the same as the visa did. :(
    – jjeaton
    May 3, 2012 at 10:43
  • 2
    Definitely it'll be the dates on the visa. Some say '30 days from entry' or whatever, but if they specify dates like yours does, yeah, you'll be wanting an extension or a new one.
    – Mark Mayo
    May 3, 2012 at 11:06

If you leave after your visa has expired, you will be "fined" but allowed to leave the country. Depending on the situation and where you are leaving the country (eg, airport v's overland) the "fine" may be an actual fine, or it could just be a border official taking the money for themselves.

In general, expect somewhere around US$5-20/day as the "fine".

The better option is apply for a visa extension. These can be processed by most travel agencies (especially those in HCMC), at a cost of around US$40. A friend of mine went through this process a few years ago and said it was easy and pain-free. Not only will this avoid any issues at the border, it'll mean that you'll remain "legal" for the full time that you're in the country (Remaining legal can be important for things like travel insurance, which might not cover you if you are out of legal status in the country)

A good source for information on issues like this is your own countries embassy in the country that you're in. Although they will not be able to give you any official information they will know how things normally play out.

  • It appears I will be applying for an extension. Cheaper than changing my flight. Thanks. Good tip on the travel insurance too.
    – jjeaton
    May 3, 2012 at 10:57

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