Vietnam Visa on Arrival vs. Visa at Embassy

Last update: Feb 10, 2020

In the past, travelers who wish to obtain a visa to Vietnam has only one option of contacting the Vietnam embassy directly. However, these days, in addition to this traditional way, there is another fast alternative: Visa on Arrival.

In essence, applying for a Vietnam visa at the embassy means that you pick up your Vietnam visa at Vietnam embassies while applying for a Vietnam visa on arrival means that you pick up your visa at Vietnam international airports.

Each method has its pros and cons regarding applicable applicants and procedures. So what are the differences between Vietnam visas on arrival and visa at the embassy? To help you figure out which method to choose from, we make a comparison table of Vietnam visa on arrival vs. Embassy visa:

Vietnam Visa on Arrival
Vietnam Visa at Embassy
Applicable Applicants
Travellers to Vietnam by AIR
Travelers going by all means of transport
Required Documents for Application
Online Vietnam visa application form ONLY
  • Original passport
  • Completed & signed application form
  • Photos
  • Sponsor letter (for business visa)
How to Submit Application
Completely ONLINE to Vietnam visa service provider
  • By Post
  • In person
  • Via third-party agency
Required Fees
  • Visa service fee - paid online for visa approval letter arrangement
  • Visa stamping fee in cash at Vietnam airport to get visa stamped
  • Visa stamping fee.
  • Other current fees, namely visa approval letter fee, processing, shipping, and handling fee, expedited services, etc. (varying from embassy to embassy)
How to Track Visa Processing Status
Check status online, chat, call or email to our support staff
  • Actively make a phone call to the Embassy, or
  • Travel directly to Vietnam Embassy/Consulate
Processing Time
  • 2 working days for normal service
  • 1 working day for urgent service
  • 2 - 4 working hours for super urgent service
  • Normally 4-5 working days
  • No same-day processing in many embassies
  • Depend on the Embassy/Consulate
Get Visa Stamp
At Visa on Arrival counter after landing in Vietnam airport
At Vietnam Embassy where you have applied for the visa


Advantages Disadvantage
Vietnam Visa on Arrival
  • No sending any hard documents like original passport
  • Simple process and secure network. No need to deal with Immigration Office. We deal with them on your behalf
  • Convenience for people staying far away from Vietnam Embassy
  • Fees clearly published
  • Dedicated 24/7 live support
  • Emergency visa processing
Vietnam Visa at Embassy
  • Having Vietnam visa before departure
  • Applicable for all means of transportation to Vietnam
  • Making one-time payment at Vietnam Embassy
Vietnam Visa on Arrival
  • Queuing in front of Immigration Counter at arrival Vietnam airport for visa stamping
  • Possibly having names of other people on your approval letter
Vietnam Visa at Embassy
  • Having to send your original passport away
  • Having to send documents by post or come in person to the nearest embassy
  • Dealing directly with Vietnam embassies
  • No general patterns of procedure and fees at different Vietnam embassies
  • No super-urgent or weekend processing

Frequently Asked Questions

You should apply for Vietnam visa at Vietnam embassy in case you are traveling to Vietnam via land or sea border crossings.

You are highly recommended to apply for visa on arrival to Vietnam if you are traveling to Vietnam by air.

It is very difficult to define which of Vietnam visa on arrival or embassy visa is cheaper or more expensive as the cost of Visa on arrival is clearly published on website but the cost of visa at embassy may vary from embassy to embassy.

In addition, when using VOA to Vietnam, you need to pay two kinds of fee: service fee and stamping fee without any hidden fee (see our Vietnam visa on arrival fees), while in case you plan to apply for visa at Vietnam embassy, beside the visa fee to be paid to the embassy, you will need to pay for travel cost or postal cost, etc.

Despite of major differences mentioned above, these two ways to get a visa for Vietnam provide you with a legitimate Vietnam visa, allowing expats to enter and stay in Vietnam for a certain period of time.

VOA and embassy visa for Vietnam are different in various aspects, from applicable travelers, visa procedure, issuing authority and where to pick up.

  • While VOA is for those traveling to Vietnam by air only, embassy visa is for all travelers to Vietnam by any means of transport.
  • While VOA is applied online (to get the visa approval letter) and picked up at Vietnam airport, embassy visa is applied offline directly at the Vietnam embassy and directly picked up there.
  • While VOA is issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department, Embassy visa is issued by Vietnam embassy in foreign country.

Please be kindly informed that Vietnam visa on arrival is issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department which is based in Vietnam while embassy visa is issued by the Vietnam embassy/consulate in a foreign country.

Yes, you can. No two (02) countries share the same data. Neither are they bothered about you applying visa at the same time. You can apply visa to many countries at the same time. If you are granted visa to two countries, it is finally you call to board the airplane to one country and request the other country to revoke your visa.

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