Posted By : Threeland Travel / Travel Guide
Recently, the amount of foreign tourists that come to Vietnam has extended rapidly, especially, visitors from US. Vietnam required visas in advance for citizens from US, and by far, no direct flights from US to Vietnam and vice versa, also the preferred method of payment in Vietnam is cash, then if you don’t want to turn your Vietnam trip into a mess, let find out what to prepare beforehand.
1. How to get a visa for Vietnam from the US?
For many years, thanks to the good bilateral relation between Vietnam and the US, it is getting easier now for an American citizen to obtain a Vietnamese visa in three common ways:
a.Apply at Vietnam consulate or Embassy
This is the traditional way to get a visa as well as most assured for oversea travel. Through necessary procedures, visa will be stamped right on your passport, and no need to worry more, you can start your trip to Vietnam right away. Normally, after 3 - 7 business days, you will receive your visa if you are qualified.
To apply for a Vietnam visa at the embassy of Vietnam in the United States, you will need to:
- Submit a print-out of your completed visa application and supporting documents.
- Submit original passport which must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your departure date.
- Pay the visa fees: Money order/check, or cash in case you apply at the embassy in person.
- Have 02 passport-sized photos taken with no glass wears.
There 3 consulates of Vietnam in the US: Vietnam consulate in New York, San Francisco and Houston and embassy of Vietnam embassy in Washington DC.
Please see the information as below:
Embassy of Vietnam in the United States (USA)
1233 20th St NW, Suite 400 - Washington, DC 20036, United States (USA)
Hotline for Consular Affairs: 202.716.8666 or 202.739.1666
Email: email@example.com (for general information) or firstname.lastname@example.org (for consular affairs)
Vietnam Consulate in New York
866 UN Plaza, Suite 428, New York, NY 10017
Phone : 1-212-644-0594; 1-212-644-2535
Fax : 1-212-644-5732
Office hours: from 09:00 to 17:30 on all weekdays
Consulate of Vietnam in Houston, Texas, USA
5251 Westheimer Rd, Suite 1100, Houston, Texas 77056, United States
Tel: 713-850-1233 | 713-840-0096
Fax: 713-840-0159 | 713-871-0312
Consulate of Vietnam in San Francisco, USA
1700 California Street, Suite 430, San Francisco, CA 94109, California, USA
Tel: 415-922-1707 ext. 115
Fax: 415-922-1848; 415-922-0307
Web address: www.vietnamconsulate-sf.org
b.Get e-visa for US citizens
E-visa or Electronic Visa is the newest form of visa, allows foreign tourists to access to other countries. With the appearance of e-visa, has helped people reducing time and energy for going back and forth the Embassy, filling all kind of papers.
Vietnam has first introduced single-entry e-visas for nationals of 40 countries including US since February 2017. The whole process of online information verification may take 10 minutes, and within a couple of days an e-visa is approved. Not only saving time, but the fee is also quite cheap at just around 25 USD per person for tourist single entry visa with no additional fee on arrival, and it is only valid for a maximum of 30 days. E-visa fee is paid via an electronic payment gateway as prescribed by the Immigration Department. The fee will not be refunded if the application is refused.
Apply Vietnamese e-visa at Vietnam National web portal on immigration
c. Get Vietnam visa on arrival
In order to obtain a Vietnam visa on arrival, you need to acquire an approval letter from Vietnam Immigration Department on your own or with support of visa/travel agency in Vietnam. You can contact them to ask for sponsored and arrange approval letter for pick up visa on arrival. Find an international tourism company or prestigious organization that is capable of guaranteeing for customers to offer you visa service. Contact Threeland Travel for efficient online visa service: get immediately support by email: email@example.com or chat What's App via +84342620068 or call +842439262056
Important note: Vietnam visa on arrival can only be used if you are flying into any of Vietnam's four international airports (Tan Son Nhat airport (Ho Chi Minh City), Noi Bai airport (Hanoi City), Da Nang airport, and Cam Ranh airport (Nha Trang), not at land crossings.
Visa on arrival
Here are 4 easy steps to apply for a Vietnam Visa on arrival:
- Step 1: The visa agency asks you to fill out “Online Application Form” with the correct information regarding your name, passport number, date of birth, nationality, gender, and arrival date.
- Step 2: Pay the visa processing fees include:
+ A fee online for the visa approval letter: the amount depends on the type of visa and how many you are requesting. This fee is paid online to your visa agency.
+ A fee upon arrival for the visa stamp: $25 for a single entry visa and $50 for multiple entries (1-3 months). The stamping fee is paid in cash only in either Vietnamese dong or US dollars, so be sure to prepare enough money in cash before you depart for Vietnam.
- Step 3: Receive and print the approval letter
You will typically receive the approval letter and an Entry/Exit Form via email within 2 business days after your online application submission and payment. You need to print the approval letter and the filled Entry/Exit Form which needs to be shown upon arrival in Vietnam to get your visa stamp.
- Step 4: Get your visa stamp upon arrival at one of four Vietnam international airports.
Prepare the following things to present for visa stamp in your passport:
+Your passport: with at least six months of validity remaining at the date of your arrival in Vietnam and has plenty of blank pages for visa stamps.
+Your approval letter.
+The filled Entry/Exit Form.
+Your two portrait photos (4x6cm) on white or clear background.
In case of getting any problem with your visa in Vietnam, contact or come to US Embassy in Vietnam:
- In Hanoi: no 7 Lang Ha Street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi
- In Ho Chi Minh City: no 4 Le Duan Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
2.Flights from US to Vietnam and vice versa
Unfortunately, so far there is no direct flight from US to Vietnam and vice versa, normally. Still many airline carriers fly between the USA and Vietnam, with just one stop en route, which is often Shanghai, Hong Kong or Taipei:
- From New York: Korean Air, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines have daily flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with connection in Seoul and Hongkong respectively.
- From the West coast: similar routes connect Los Angeles or San Francisco with Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
And there are only 3 international airports in Vietnam that receive tourists from US: Tan Son Nhat airport, Noi Bai airport and Da Nang airport.
The good news is the national airline of Vietnam – Vietnam Airlines has been in the process to serve the US nonstop flights between two countries. Theoretically, as soon as the FAA upgrades Vietnam’s safety rating, flight route from Vietnam and US will be opened.
Due to the condition, the ticket price is usually quite expensive. To find cheap flight, you should have a research and book tickets about 2 – 3 months before the trip. On the other hand, travel booking websites such as traveloka.com, agoda.com or booking.com, etc usually provide the competitive deals of flight and hotel which, if lucky, you can own airplane tickets with the best price, sometimes it is only about 50% of the original price.
3.Cash in Vietnam
The official currency of Vietnam: Vietnam Dong (VND)
Exchange rate: 1usd = 25000 VND (2019)
Many tourists have been struggling with Vietnamese currency at first due to its numerous “0”. You know what, in Vietnam everyone is millionaire. However, 1000VND is considered being the smallest value of Vietnamese currency which you can only buy a chewing gum with 1000VND. So don’t be fooled by so many zero number in VND.
Cash rules in Vietnam’s daily transactions
Unlike US and other Western countries, Vietnamese people are still familiar with using cash in daily life. But on the bright side, recent year, Vietnamese Government has issued policies to encourage the people using cards instead of cash. Credit cards are accepted in many restaurants, hotels, and shops in Vietnam's big cities. Visa, Master Card, JBC and American Express are the most common credit cards honored in Vietnam.
Money Exchange from USD to VietNam Dong
Besides, e-wallet or electronic wallet has become more popular in Vietnam. Just using app in your mobile which links with your ID bank or bank card, you can pay for your bill and get some discount or get refund amount of money. Some famous e-wallet right now in Vietnam are: Momo, Airpay or Zalopay.
Anyway, always keep some cash together, especially when you travel to the remote mountainous areas and small towns where you hardly find a cash dispenser and credit cards are rarely accepted. Even many small restaurants and shops in big cities merely transact in cash.
Although ATM in Vietnam is very popular, you can only withdraw VND for all kind of cards. But for international debit cards and international credit cards, you still can withdraw money with the exchange rate of the bank. But be careful here, some of cash dispensers are “out of service” quite often, and some banks allow a maximum withdrawal of between VND 4 million to VND 9 million.
Can US Dollars Be Used?
Not very often. VND is still preferable even at the big shopping malls and luxurious restaurants. Besides, paying in Vietnamese dong gets you better value than paying in dollars.
Where to change your money?
- Airport: As soon as you land at the airport, you can change your money at the airport moneychangers but at a high cost relative to others.
Money exchange at the airport
- Gold and jewelry shops: In big cities in Vietnam, large gold and jewelry shops also provide currency conversion service at fair rate with no fees: Shops in Hanoi's Old Quarter—particularly Hang Bo and Ha Trung streets—offer better deals, as do gold and jewelry shops in Ho Chi Minh’s Nguyen An Ninh street. Usually, these shops have electronic board at the door to monitor exchange rates, you can have a look at the way in.
- Banks: The exchange rate between banks are not too different and they will help you from A to Z. Banks in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will let you change foreign currencies and most travelers' checks with a commission rate of between 0.5 to 2 percent for the latter. Famous banks in Vietnam such as Vietcombank, BIDV, Techcombank or Vpbank, etc.
Although Vietnam and USA had severe wartime in the past, Vietnamese people are incredibly forgiving and American tourists will surely feel the warm welcome from Vietnamese. Vietnamese hospitality is unrivaled and is something that you should experience once in your life, so what are you waiting for? Make up your mind and have a lifetime Vietnam tour package.
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