Are you planning to get a visa for Vietnam? Well, the first and the most important thing you need to know is that the Vietnamese ministry of foreign affairs has increased the cost of all visas multi-fold with effect from Jan 1, 2013. I got to know this when I walked into the Embassy of Vietnam at Phnom Penh to get my visa.
Visa Type and Prices
1) Tourist Visa: Single entry and up to 1 month: Costs 60 USD
2) Tourist Visa: Single entry and valid for 3 months: Costs 105 USD
3) Tourist Visa: Multiple entry and valid for 3 months: Costs 125 USD
I don’t know about the other types of visas, but I am sure about the above as this is what the other tourists got charged while we applied for our visa together.
Personally, I applied for the multiple entry visa for 3 months and got it within 20 minutes. All we had to do was show our passport and travel authorization letter. Once we showed that, they asked us to fill the form up and give one photograph. Once we had completed all the formalities, we got our visa stamped and sealed on our passport in 20 minutes.
But, I think this quick service is only possible if you have a pre-approved authorization letter. You can get this letter from an approved travel agency based in Vietnam or through any other recognized travel agent the world over. If your passport does not require a pre-authorization letter, then you can directly apply at the embassy and get your one month tourist visa within 24 hours.
For an Indian Passport
If you are an Indian citizen, you would need a pre-authorization letter before entering Vietnam and this applies even if you arrive by air. This is because about 76 criminals recently arrested in Vietnam are of Indian origin/citizenship. I got this pre-authorization letter by going through a travel agent in Vietnam. I paid him USD 60 per passport and he got the authorization letter done for me in 24 hours. If you are arriving in Vietnam by air, you can show this letter, pay your visa fee and get your visa stamped at the airport. However, if you are arriving into Vietnam over land, like how I am doing, then you have to go to the nearest embassy, show this authorization letter, fill your form, give a photograph, pay your fee and get your visa stamped.
The Embassy of Vietnam at Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The Vietnam embassy at Phnom Penh is a fairly small place with about 4 to 5 officials sitting inside a security room. Some of them speak English and hence it is easy to ask your questions and get the right answers. There was hardly any crowd when I went there today at around 1:45 pm. The embassy is open from 8 AM to 12 noon and from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm. A tuk tuk from the riverfront (say close to the Royal Palace) to here should cost you USD 2. The tuk tuk driver will definitely ask you for more, but USD 2 is a fair price for this distance.
P.S. The visa cost information is available only on wikipedia and not on any other travel site. All sites quote the older fees and statistics. Keep this in mind before you go about your visa stamping process.