What’s the deal for Americans visiting Vietnam?
US citizens (along with most countries’ citizens) need a visa to stay in Vietnam.
The visa requirements for different countries vary. Some can enter and stay for long periods of time with no visa. For example, Chilean citizens can stay for up to 90 days visa-free. Some other countries’ citizens can stay for 60 days, 30 days, or 15 days, visa-free. Others always require a visa. Unfortunately for Americans, the US is one of the countries that always require a paid visa.
This article will attempt to clarify the often frustratingly complex Vietnam visa fee for US citizens, as well as some of the other conditions that need to be met in order to be granted a visa.
What are the visa fees and conditions for the US compared with other countries?
Americans should have no problems being granted a visa, provided that they can pay the Vietnam visa fee for US citizens, and assuming they have a clean criminal record and fill out the paperwork correctly.
There are some unavoidable fees, however. The minimum term visa for US citizens is 30 days, which will set them back $17. This fee covers the application and, if approved, an official acceptance letter which must be presented when entering the country via any border, along with passport photos.
An additional ‘stamp-fee’ of $25 applies to anybody (not just Americans) when entering on this type of visa. This should be paid in cash, preferably in USD. You should always bring dollars with you so you have the right denominations ready with you at the border. ATMs at the borders cannot be relied upon, and even if they are working then you may face long queues, or be forced to withdraw large bills. It’s not an ideal situation trying to convince a disgruntled immigration official to give you change from your $100 bill using only hand signals (trust me I’ve been there).
Why is the Vietnam visa fee for US citizens different?
As mentioned previously, the visa allowances vary depending on which country you are a citizen of. The allowances that individual countries are assigned have complex political and economic justifications, which are often not fully disclosed by the Vietnamese government, or any government for that matter.
It is likely that the harsher than average visa restrictions for US citizens specifically stem from the somewhat checkered relations that the US and Vietnam have shared in recent history. It may also have nothing to do with a grudge being held for something that happened decades ago. America has a notoriously strict immigration policy for citizens of almost any other country, so it could be that their policy towards US travelers is simply a reflection of that.
What are the other conditions of a visa?
As with most countries, Vietnam is strict with the general entry requirements. If you fill in part of the application wrong, expect to have to redo it entirely, endure a long wait and even potentially have to pay another stamp fee. Make sure to be meticulous when filling out all the paperwork the first time.
You are advised to have at least 6 months of validity remaining on your passport. This is commonly expected by a lot of countries, so shouldn’t come as a shock if you’re used to international travel.
Have a look through my blog for more visa and passport tips.
Is it still worth it?
In short, absolutely. Vietnam is an amazing country and the perfect tourist destination for people of all ages and walks of life, American or not.
One of the biggest draws to Vietnam has to be the rich history. The cultures that have influenced Vietnam over the generations have all left their mark in one way or another and can be seen throughout the country. If you’re interested in the war with America, you will find fascinating museums and relics of it all over Vietnam.
The culture is also a big selling point of the country. The Vietnamese people are very warm and friendly to travelers. They are also, perhaps surprisingly, generally very kind and welcoming to Americans, despite many of them having personal memories of the war.
Something else that definitely deserves a mention is the food. Seriously, Vietnamese food is amazing, and you won’t ever get it more authentic or reasonably priced than within the country itself.
All in all, if you’re an American, the Vietnam visa fee for US citizens should not put you off visiting this amazing country. If you’re interested in visiting Asia, check out my other blogs about this amazing continent
I hope this article has helped you to understand the Vietnam visa system for US citizens. If you have anything else to add, or want to ask me any more questions, then please feel free to leave a comment below. And if you liked it, then please share!