If you are a regular tourist visiting Vietnam for a short duration of a few days or 30 days before returning home, there are standard visa procedures to follow.
However, if you wish to stay in Vietnam for a longer period than allowed by your visa, and find it difficult or expensive to extend your visa within Vietnam, a Vietnam visa run can be an ideal solution. Many expats in Vietnam have chosen this method to extend their stay.
Let's delve into a detailed guide on what a visa run entails, where you can perform a visa run for Vietnam, and how to effectively carry out a Vietnam visa run:
When your Vietnam visa is nearing its expiration date and you are unable to extend it, or if the extension process proves to be excessively expensive and complex, there is a practical solution available. You can choose to exit Vietnam, travel to a neighboring country such as Cambodia, Laos, or Thailand, and then re-enter Vietnam with a fresh visa. This process is commonly referred to as a "visa run."
What is the advantage and disadvantage of Vietnam Visa run
There are two main advantages of choosing a visa run to extend your stay in Vietnam:
Affordability: Extending your visa through a border run is typically more cost-effective compared to other methods of extension. It allows you to save money while still meeting the necessary visa requirements.
Visa Options: The visa obtained through a visa run is independent of your previous visa. This means you have a variety of options available based on your specific needs and preferences. You can apply for a one-month single entry, one-month multiple entry, three months single entry, or three-month multiple entry visa, depending on the duration and frequency of your intended stay.
By opting for a visa run, you can benefit from its cost-effectiveness and the flexibility it offers in obtaining the most suitable visa option for your stay in Vietnam.
During a visa run for Vietnam, it's important to note that you are required to physically exit the country at the border and re-enter in order to obtain the new visa. This means you cannot stay within Vietnam while completing the visa run process.
Completing a visa run involves investing both time and effort. You will need to plan your travel to a neighboring country and make the necessary arrangements for your departure from and return to Vietnam. This may include transportation logistics, accommodation arrangements, and ensuring you have all the required documents for re-entry.
It's crucial to be prepared for the time and effort involved in the visa run process, as it may require some additional planning and adjustments to your travel itinerary.
There are two main methods to conduct a visa run in Vietnam:
Visa run via Vietnam international airports:
One option is to perform the visa run by utilizing Vietnam's international airports. You would leave Vietnam by taking a flight to a neighboring country and then return to Vietnam on a new visa obtained at the airport upon re-entry.
Visa on arrival counter at airport
Visa run via land borders:
The second option is to carry out the visa run through land borders. This involves traveling to a neighboring country by land, exiting Vietnam, and then re-entering Vietnam at the land border checkpoint with a new visa.
Both methods have their own considerations, such as transportation options, visa processing procedures, and potential travel expenses. It's important to research and plan accordingly based on your preferences and convenience when deciding which method to choose for your visa run in Vietnam.
Here is a list of 24 checkpoints from where you can conduct a visa run from Vietnam:
Ha Tien Border Gate to Cambodia
These checkpoints provide options for carrying out a visa run from Vietnam, allowing you to exit and re-enter the country conveniently. However, it's advisable to check for any specific requirements or restrictions associated with each checkpoint before making your travel arrangements.
For those residing in Hanoi, it is recommended to opt for a visa run via Noi Bai Airport to destinations such as Singapore, Thailand, or Cambodia. This option is considered one of the most cost-effective, efficient, and convenient ways to obtain a new visa from Hanoi.
On the other hand, for individuals located in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), it is advisable to choose the Moc Bai border gate for the visa run. This border gate is known to be a popular and convenient choice for obtaining a new visa from HCMC.
Both of these options are preferred for their affordability, speed, and overall convenience, making them favorable choices for those seeking to extend their stay in Vietnam through a visa run.
You need to prepare these things to make your Vietnam Visa run successfully.
Your original passport (valid for at least 06 months from your re-entry date);
A valid entry paper for Vietnam. This may be:
+ Your Vietnam 5-year visa.
+ Your Vietnam e-visa.
+ Your Vietnam visa approval letter, if you get a visa stamped at the checkpoint (original one if you do the visa run via land border, or a printout if doing visa at international airports in Vietnam).
Stamping fee, 2 passport sized photos and application form if you obtain Visa on arrival
International flight tickets or bus tickets for crossing the land borders, boat tickets for crossing the river border.
- For crossing the border, you must present the original visa approval letter with the red stamp and signature. A copy, scan or photo is not accepted in this case.
- The Vietnam visa stamp fee is 25 USD for a single-entry visa.
There are two ways to obtain a visa run: via international airport and via the land border.
Vietnam visa run via international airport
Step 1: Get your e-visa or visa approval letter (if required) by email (you must have it before you leave), print it out, and prepare 02 photos and stamp fees in USD cash.
Sept 2: Book a return flight to somewhere out of Vietnam, Go to one of Vietnam International airports for a flight from Vietnam to a neighboring country. Complete customs formalities in that country, then stay there for one or few days or return immediately to Vietnam.
Vietnam visa run via the land border
Many expatriates prefer this way in Vietnam, as it is inexpensive. You need to follow the steps below:
Step 1: Get the E-visa or Visa approval letter ( For Visa approval letter, required the original one).
Step 2: Book a transportation ticket to the border, or you can drive a car, motorbike on your own to the border.
Step 3: Once at the Vietnam border, present your passport and obtain the Vietnam exit stamp. After that, you'll officially no longer be able to stay in Viet Nam.
Sept 4: At the border, you then go through another passport control, and on to the Laos/Cambodia immigration office, for example.
Once you've arrived at the Laos/Cambodia immigration office, you'll need to present your original passport and Cambodian visa (if required) or obtain a Laos/Cambodia visa on arrival (if available) and fill in the required forms. You'll then get the country's entry stamp in your passport.
Step 5: You can enter the country for a few days' travel, or return immediately to the immigration counter to complete the exit procedure and obtain the exit stamp. You've successfully left Laos/Cambodia and are ready to get a new Vietnam visa. Once you return to Vietnam immigration counter will recheck your passport and your e-visa or original visa approval letter for entry into Vietnam. You will then receive a visa stamp on your passport.
Congratulation! Your Vietnam visa run is complete.
Visa stamped on passport
No, they are different, and can not be used for the same, although they are issued by Vietnam Immigration Department. Some aspects in the document that you can see the difference:
The port of entry for the airport visa is indicated at the end of the letter, while the port of entry for the border visa is indicated on the body of the letter.
The port of entry for the airport visa is not fixed and you can change among 8 international airports in Vietnam to stamp your visa, while the port of entry for the border visa is fixed and cannot be changed.
The approval letter you show to get a visa stamped at the Vietnam airport is a copy/printout, while it must be original for the land border crossing. It means you certainly need to get the letter for a border visa when you are still in Vietnam, before leaving the country.