One of the advantages of booking a tour vacation is you don’t have to worry about anything. Once you get to your starting place, everything is taken care of including your hotel, activities, travel and even meals. While I’m a planner, I occasionally like for someone else to do the logistical work which lets me enjoy the trip without having to worry.
The one downside is sometimes I take things too far and forget to do basic travel tasks. For example, I was finalizing our trip on Singapore Airlines and I ended up looking at a page for the entry requirements for Singapore. This led me to think about checking to see if we needed to get a visa to enter the country for the day we’d be staying between flights home.
Then I remembered that I hadn’t looked to see if we needed visas to enter any of the countries on our tour. While a U.S. Passport can get you into many countries, you still need to do some work ahead of time.
I checked the Adventures by Disney (the group we’ll be using for our trip) website and found this information about the required documentation:
If you are a U. S. citizen, you will need a valid passport to enter and depart Vietnam. It must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay and have 3 or more blank visa pages remaining.
You must also have a Vietnamese visa, a visa exemption document, or a written approval letter for a visa upon arrival in Vietnam. You may obtain a visa from a Vietnamese embassy prior to traveling to Vietnam. A one-month, single-entry visa is $100 per Guest and can be obtained through the Vietnam Embassy in Washington, DC.
If you prefer to obtain a Vietnamese visa electronically, this option became available in February 2017.
In addition, you must provide evidence of return or onward travel. Visit the U.S. Department of State for more details.
They recommend using CIBTVisas to get a visa. I checked the website and they charge $100 to get an electronic visa.
I did a search and found another company called iVISA which says the government fee is $25 plus their fee which will be revealed after you fill out a form with your information.
Finally, I went to the U.S. Department of State’s page on Vietnam.
E-visa: U.S. citizens can apply online for a single entry E-visa on the Vietnam Immigration website. The E-visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days, single entry. An E-visa is usually processed within three working days after the Vietnam Immigration Department receives the completed application and E-visa fee. E-visa holders must present the printed E-visa and valid passport at the port of entry. Prior to making travel arrangements with an E-visa it is advisable to review the List of Ports of Entry that allow for foreigners to enter and exit Vietnam by E-visa. When applying for an E-visa, carefully review and follow the E-visa application steps.
I went to the Vietnam Immigration website. I wasn’t sure if this was the correct place.
Between the stock photos and strange fonts, it doesn’t scream out “official government website” to me. Instead, it looks like someone used Windows 95 to create the website.
However, it appears to be the correct place. When clicking “For Foreigners,” I get to an instruction page.
Here it confirms that the E-Visa fee is $25. I’ll also have to upload a picture (passport style) and my passport data page.
The next page includes several questions including your temporary residential address (which I’m guessing is our hotel), your arriving and departing location (airport), dates of travel and citizenship information.
I’m sure I can fill out the form correctly but I’m wondering how you deal with this situation. Do you use the official government site to apply for an E-visa or do you use one of the visa services? The E-visa application seems straightforward but I don’t want to mess it up and cause more problems. However, I don’t want to pay an extra $75 for someone to fill out an online form on my behalf.
Also, what’s the worst experience you have had when applying for a visa? Do most international websites look like this or am I just lucky?
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