Are you planning a trip to Vietnam from South Africa in 2023? Then getting a Vietnam visa is one of the most critical factors that you should consider early enough. In this article, we’ll provide all the information about Vietnam visa requirements, application processes, fees, and other essential details that you need to know as a South African passport holder.
Who Needs a Vietnam Visa?
According to Vietnamese laws, all South African citizens intending to enter Vietnam must obtain a valid Vietnam visa. However, some exceptions apply, such as:
- Diplomatic or official passport holders traveling on official business for a maximum stay of 90 days.
- APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) holders with a validity of at least one year from the entry date.
Others that may qualify for a visa waiver are children born to Vietnamese mothers residing permanently in foreign countries, foreigners married to Vietnamese nationals or Vietnamese residents, and those who have a Certificate of Exemption from Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
What Are the Types of Vietnam Visas Available for South African Citizens?
There are mainly two types of Vietnam visas available for South African passport holders:
- Tourist Visa: This type of visa is best if you plan on visiting Vietnam for tourism purposes, such as sightseeing, vacation, or visit family and friends.
- Business Visa: If you intend to go to Vietnam for business reasons, such as attending meetings, conferences, or signing contracts, then the Business visa is what you need.
The validity of both visas varies between one month to one year, with single or multiple entries permitted.
As a South African citizen, it’s recommended to apply for your Vietnam visa at least one or two months before your intended travel date. This way, you’ll have ample time to prepare the necessary documents and complete the visa application process.
How to Apply for a Vietnam Visa as a South African Passport Holder?
There are mainly two ways to apply for a Vietnam visa as a South African citizen, including:
Applying for a Visa On Arrival (VOA)
The Visa on Arrival is one of the most convenient ways to obtain a Vietnam visa. You can apply for this visa by following these simple steps:
- Fill the online visa application form.
- Pay the visa processing fee via PayPal or credit card.
- Receive the visa approval letter via email within 2-3 working days.
- Present the visa approval letter, passport, and two passport-sized photos at the airport’s Visa on Arrival counter to get your visa stamped.
Applying for a Vietnam Visa at the Embassy
You can also apply for a Vietnam visa at the Embassy in South Africa by following these steps:
- Download and fill out the visa application form from the embassy’s website.
- Prepare the necessary documents, such as passport, photos, and visa fees.
- Submit the completed visa application form and documents to the embassy.
- Wait for the visa processing time, which usually takes between five to seven working days.
Pros and Cons of Applying for a Vietnam Visa
Like any other thing, applying for a Vietnam visa has its pros and cons. Here are some of them:
- The visa application process is relatively easy and straightforward.
- South African citizens have an option to apply for a Visa on Arrival, making it more convenient and flexible.
- Vietnam is a must-visit destination with breathtaking scenery, rich culture, and delicious cuisine.
- The visa application process may take some time, especially when applying through the embassy.
- Not having a valid visa may lead to serious consequences, such as deportation or being barred from entering Vietnam.
Alternatives to Vietnam Visas
If you’re a South African citizen and don’t qualify for a visa waiver, there are some alternatives that you can consider:
- If your intended stay in Vietnam is less than 14 days, you may be eligible for Visa Exemption. However, this option only applies to specific nationalities.
- You can apply for an e-visa online through the Vietnamese Immigration Department’s website. This option is available to certain nationalities, and the visa validity is only for 30 days.
If you opt to apply for a Visa on Arrival, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
- Visit the official VOA website and fill out the online application form.
- Pay the visa processing fee using PayPal or a credit card.
- Wait for your visa approval letter, which will be sent to your email address within 2-3 working days after submitting your application.
- Print out the visa approval letter.
- Prepare two passport-sized photos (4 x 6cm) with a white background.
- Prepare your passport and make sure it’s valid forat least six months from your intended arrival date in Vietnam.
- Upon arrival at the Vietnamese airport, present your visa approval letter, passport, and two passport-sized photos at the Visa on Arrival counter to get your visa stamped.
- Pay the stamping fee (in cash) and collect your visa.
How Does Vietnam Visa On Arrival Work?
The Visa on Arrival is a pre-arranged visa that allows you to obtain a visa upon arrival at the Vietnamese airport. This type of visa is applicable for air travelers only. The process involves obtaining a visa approval letter from an agency or service provider before your trip to Vietnam. Once you arrive at the airport, you’ll present the visa approval letter, passport, and other necessary documents to get your visa stamped.
Compare: Applying for a Vietnam Visa On Arrival vs. Embassy
Here’s a comparison of applying for a Vietnam visa on arrival versus applying at the embassy:
Applying for a Vietnam Visa On Arrival
- Easy and straightforward online application process.
- No need to visit the embassy in person.
- More flexible and convenient than applying through the embassy.
- Only applicable to air travelers.
- You must have your visa approval letter before your departure.
- You’ll still need to pay the stamping fee upon arrival.
Applying for a Vietnam Visa at the Embassy
- Suitable for those who prefer dealing with official government agencies directly.
- The visa validity is longer than that of the Visa on Arrival.
- It takes more time to apply, as you have to go to the embassy in person.
- The process may involve more paperwork than applying for a Visa on Arrival.
- Not as flexible as applying for a Visa on Arrival.
Tips for Applying for a Vietnam Visa
Here are some tips to help you when applying for a Vietnam visa:
- Apply for your visa early enough to avoid last-minute rush and any delays.
- Make sure you submit all the necessary documents and fill out the application form accurately.
- Check the visa validity and ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the intended arrival date in Vietnam.
- Keep track of your visa application status to know when to expect your visa approval letter.
The Best Option for South African Citizens: Vietnam Visa On Arrival
If you’re a South African citizen planning to visit Vietnam, applying for a Visa on Arrival is the best option. It’s easy, convenient, and flexible, and you can complete the process from the comfort of your home. However, remember to apply early enough and have all the required documents to avoid any inconvenience during your trip.
In conclusion, obtaining a Vietnam visa as a South African passport holder is a crucial step when planning a trip to Vietnam. Whether you choose to apply for a visa on arrival or at the embassy, make sure you follow the required procedures and have all the necessary documents. With this guide, you’re now well-equipped with all the information you need to make your visa application process smooth and hassle-free.
FAQs After The Conclusion
- What is the cost of a Vietnam visa for South African citizens?
- How long does it take to process a Vietnam visa for South African citizens?
- Can I extend my Vietnam visa while in the country?
- How many times can I enter Vietnam with a multiple-entry visa?
- Is it safe to travel to Vietnam as a South African citizen?