From the balmy climate to exquisite cuisine, Vietnam is a place for rich and rewarding experience for both tourists and business travellers. If you are planning to visit this country full of ancient architecture and vibrant culture, you better be well-equipped to meander through a variety of visa hassles.
From scammers and counterfeit websites to fake approval letters, there’s a long list of hurdles you need to dodge before obtaining a legitimate Vietnam visa on arrival in hand.
To make the visa process a whole lot smoother for you, we have rounded up tips that will help you get there quicker and warning signs you need to look out for.
Vietnam Visa On Arrival Problems – What To Expect?
• Delayed approval letter
Once you submit your application on the website, you receive a confirmation email stating the date and time of receiving the approval letter. Due to unavoidable network glitches, the confirmation email gets hung up or in some cases, postponed. In such scenarios, if you do not receive a confirmation email within 4 hours of submitting your application, you should reach out to the concerned authority via email, writing to email@example.com or contact your agent to check your visa status.
• Incorrect personal information
Once you receive an email with an attached approval letter, make sure to read the instructions and download the file. Once you have downloaded the file, immediately look for your information on the Visa Upon Arrival document. If you happen to find any error in your name, date of birth, nationality, arrival date and the likes, shoot an email to the concerned authority at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Losing approval letter in the airport or airplane
Anybody’s first response to losing a visa would be to panic. But in this case, you shouldn’t. Since all your necessary information like name, passport number, Date of birth, nationality, arrival & exit date are stored in the smart secure system at the airport, you do not need to worry about producing the physical document. All you need to do is read out your name and passport number for the airport officer to cross-check with the system. These details are also stored with the Vietnam Immigration Department.
Warning – Fake Vietnam Visa Websites & Scams – You Should Know
The visa on arrival market is overflowing with scams of all kinds. Scammers counterfeit a company name or an agency business to provide you with a Vietnam visa on arrival. In these fraud cases, you end up paying for a Vietnam visa but you get nothing in hand. To protect yourself from fake Vietnam visa scams and agents, here are a list of pointers you should follow:
• Get a background check on your visa agent
Verify your agent’s identity by confirming if their physical address, phone number, email address, and website are all genuine. You can check this by personally visiting their office or calling on the address. Fraudulent agents usually do not have a physical office address. To verify their website, browse through it thoroughly. Scammers copy another website as it is to make you believe that they are genuine.
• Dig through your agent’s customer feedback
A customer testimonial goes a long way in establishing trust. Check websites like TripAdvisor and LonelyPlanet to see if there are any complaints or poor remarks against this said agent.
• Check if the agent is registered under law
Not everyone is authorized to call themselves a legal Vietnam visa agent. Legal agents must be registered under the Vietnam law.
• Check for secured url on the website
Genuine websites use some sort of encryption to protect their prospects with the payment process. Look for a padlock in the url to ensure that the website you are visiting is trustworthy. The padlock shows that the website is secure and if you click on the lock symbol, you will be able to verify that the website has a security certificate.
• Carefully check your approval letter
If you smell something fishy, it is always a good idea to verify if the visa approval letter sent to you is actually genuine or fake. Check if it includes full signature, stamp and clarity of content.
Signs your visa agent could be fake
- They tell you that you can apply for your visa at the arrival airport which is not true because you get a “stamp on the visa” at the arrival airport not the visa. The visa pre-approval letter is provided to you via email before-hand.
- They ask you for a visa application fee over the phone or an email.
- They provide you with a lucrative job offer.
- They ask you for money even before the application process starts.
- They sell your personal information to third-party, wherein you start receiving calls for loans and so on.
Our Experience With Vietnam Visa On Arrival
We found applying online more convenient than queuing up at the embassy, hence we decided to go that route. The process of applying for a Vietnam E-visa is pretty straightforward provided that you are aware of the pitfalls listed above. It took us around 10 minutes and 25 dollars to apply and the application was approved within a couple of days. Here’s how it went:
- To apply for an e-visa for Vietnam, we visited this link which had all the basic information.
- On the homepage, you will see 3 categories of visa requests.
- Hover over to the “For Foreigners” section.
- It will show you the 3 steps of the process – passport copies, fee of 25 USD and other registration details.
- Once you click next, you will see a long form of questions pertaining to your Vietnam trip. The rest was easy to fill out and questions are just asked for the basics.
- Once your information is successfully verified, you will receive a verification code. It is important to note down this code as you will need it later on.
- Next, you will be redirected to another website where you need to complete your payment by any of the accepted modes of payment. Please note that payments via American express cards are not accepted and you will also be charged a 1 dollar fee against credit card payments.
- Once our payment was processed, we received a payment invoice stating that our payment is confirmed.
- After a few days, we logged in to the “e-visa search” to check the status of our application.
- Upon entering the registration code, email and date of birth, we received a status showing that the visa has been approved.
- The page also showed a link wherein we could download and print the E-visa.