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Vietnam Visa Guide for South African Citizens

A visa is a necessary authorization for a foreigner to enter or exit a country granted by that country. If you are a South African citizen or currently in this country and want to visit Vietnam, check out Vietnam visa requirements for South African citizens before your travel.

There is some information you need to know to obtain a Vietnam visa. You can secure a Vietnam visa in these two common ways:

1. Vietnam Visa on Arrival Online

This is completely an online process, all you need is a computer with internet connection. This way is often preferred by applicants as it is cheap, simple and convenient, especially for those who live far away from Vietnam Embassies and do not wish to send their passports away via post. In addition, applying online is quite fast. It takes only a short time to apply for the Visa on arrival. After 1 or 2 working days, you will get the confirmation of your Visa. You can apply online through visa websites such as vietnam-visa.com. The company you apply online with will deal with immigration authorities on your behalf. Your Vietnam Visa is issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department.

How does a Vietnam visa on arrival work? 

First of all, you need to fill in the secure Vietnam visa application form on a visa company website. The company you applied for will send you a visa approval letter via email within 2 working days (normal service) or 1 working day (urgent service) after payment of the service fee. Talking about service fees, it depends on each company, but don’t worry, the service fee is fixed on the website, no hidden charges, extra fees, and mostly not expensive. After receiving the letter, print it and the Vietnamese visa application form. The next step is preparing your 2 recent passport photos. Finally, before starting the trip, you should exchange some US dollar for paying for stamp fees (you can visit the website of the company for fee details). Take all of them with you to get your Vietnam visa stamped at the arrival airport in Vietnam.

However, a disadvantage of applying for a Visa online is that you will have to wait in line in front of an Immigration Counter at the arrival airport in Vietnam to have your visa stamped; and it’s important for South Africans to note that foreigners cannot apply for a visa on arrival themselves, the application has to go through an authorized travel agency in Vietnam or similar organization.

2. Vietnam Visa on Arrival via Embassy

The other way is to apply for a visa is through the Vietnam Embassy in South Africa. This is the traditional way to obtain a Vietnam Visa.

First, you have to fill in a visa application form which you can download online or it is available at Vietnam’s representative missions. You then need to have 1 photo (passport size), and the visa fee (except exemptions). You’ll also need your original passport or alternative papers (be sure that it’s still valid or at least valid for 6 months since the expiration of requested visa) and submit these together with your visa application and the passport photo. Those applying for Vietnamese visas can contact Vietnamese diplomatic missions or consular offices in South Africa for specific directions. However, the issuing unit of your Vietnam Visa will still be the Vietnam Embassy. The time for processing your form is between 4 to 5 working days; much longer than the online application process described above. After confirming your form, they will stamp your visa and return your passport to you by post.

South Africans should note that the Vietnam Visa on Arrival is only applicable to those travelling to Vietnam by air.

Visitors from this country who are Vietnam tourist visa holders are allowed to enter Vietnam at any of the five international airports in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa and Ho Chi Minh City.

Whether you’re applying for a Vietnam Visa on Arrival online or at the Vietnam Embassy, each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but following the information and directions provided in the online option will make it easier for you to get a Vietnam visa faster, and with less hassle.