Thinking of going to Vietnam? Did you just find out a visa is required for entry? Many tour companies advise you to go through their preferred vendor to get the Vietnam Visa, which requires sending your passport to the company, and costs a couple hundred dollars before all is said and done. But there are other ways to accomplish the same thing. And they are cheaper and much less painful.
The vendors who work with the State Department and consulates are PVS, Travisa, Cox and Kings, among others. For a single entry visa, the FedEx tracking costs, the visa cost and all the rest of the hassle, it is at least $200. Many people prefer this because they arrive with a visa in hand, and are quickly approved to enter the country. Turnaround time is about 5 business days.
You can always send to the Vietnamese embassy yourself. One method is to send your passport directly as you would a third-party vendor Another method is to request a loose leaf visa, which just requires a copy of the passport, two photos in advance, as well as a signed form and $100. Turnaround time is about 5 business days, and your passport does not ever have to leave your side. A loose leaf visa will just reside in your passport when you enter, and you return it when you leave. You just have to take care never to lose the visa. Other countries provide lose leaf visas upon arrival, such as Peru.
The fastest and cheapest way is to get a letter of invitation which is endorsed by the Vietnamese embassy. This is all done online. The cost can be anywhere from $10 to $20 to get the letter of invitation. Turn around time is 2-3 days and you receive the letter via email Then once you enter the country with your letter of invitation and two passport sized photos, you hand it over to immigration along with $45 for a single entry one month visa, and you get your passport stamped. This is quick and simple, and plane loads of people do it. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes for this process to complete at the airport, or two hours. There is also a way you can pay for a fast path at the airport when you purchase the letter. Vietnam Air offers this service for purchase without having to purchase tickets from them. Please note this method will not work if arriving by land or sea, and only at specific international airports in Vietnam.
There are a number of travel web sites that offer the invitation letter service. There are also plenty of scams as well. So just make sure the web site is reputable and uses secure socket layer (SSL) technology when you enter your credit card information. . Scammers don’t usually ensure your credit card safety. When the web site starts with HTTPS you know it is secure. Enjoy your travel planning, and have a wonderful trip!
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