Complicated procedures, unprofessional visa application website, long response time make many foreigners have to rely on the service.

Melissa, an Australian tourist, intends to come to Vietnam from Indonesia with three family members on December 21, 2022, so she applied for an e-visa 10 days in advance, paying the full fee. The website of the Vietnam Immigration Department states that “e-visa will be processed within 3 working days from the time the Department receives the complete application and full visa fee”.

A week after applying, Melissa’s application was approved, but three applications for her husband and two children were returned with a request for another portrait. Melissa’s family sent back photos, and postponed the schedule three days (December 24, 2022). But over time still no response. They went to the airport on the fixed date hoping to get to Vietnam, but were refused.

“My family’s photo has a problem so it can’t be approved, but the response time is too long. I sent the photo back and now (March 2023) still have not received a reply,” she said.

Melissa’s family returned to Bali, looking for a fast and reputable visa service to enter Vietnam. They found a Vietnamese person to do this service for more than 100 USD per person, when the actual cost is 25 USD. The female tourist said her trip to Vietnam was great, but the visa procedures made her unsatisfied.

Foreigners walk in the ancient town of Hoi An, Quang Nam, March 24, 2022. Photo: Nguyen Dong

Người nước ngoài dạo chơi tại phố cổ Hội An, Quảng Nam, ngày 24/3/2022. Ảnh: Nguyễn Đông
Foreigners walking in the ancient town of Hoi An, Quang Nam, March 2022. Photo: Nguyen Dong

Lili Stevens, an Australian female tourist, is also not satisfied with Vietnam’s visa procedures. She also had to wait a long time to get a response after getting the same photo error as Melissa. She then opted for a service solution instead of continuing to wait. “Vietnam’s visa process is longer than most other Asian countries,” she said.

An employee of a visa service unit based in Nam Tu Liem district (Hanoi) said that many customers come to them because of this problem.

In the section “Pictures of foreigners”, the Vietnam Immigration Department has provided two sample photos but no specific instructions. While in the “Frequently Asked Questions” section, there are two requirements for photos: 4×6 portrait photo, looking straight ahead, without glasses and Full page passport photo, including photo, personal information, ICAO line ( lines of code read on the machine).

“Sometimes it’s not the Vietnamese side, it’s the guests. Some guests even send photos of them being topless and covering the ICAO line,” this person said.

Regarding the slow response to visa requests, the above staff did not comment but emphasized that their unit can make things easier. Besides being used to doing, they have “private secrets that can’t be shared.” However, she commented that the interface of Vietnam’s e-visa application website has too many problems, confusing visitors and leading to errors.

Melissa added that the website looks unprofessional. She noticed a typo in the e-visa application section. Under “Inviting/guarentering agency/organization (if any)” (if any), the word “guarentering” should have been “guaranteeing. She had to double-check to make sure this was the case.” is the official website.

Sterre Kardinaal, a Dutch tourist, who visited Vietnam in early 2023, also said that the website was “like a fake page”. Subhadeep Pal, an Indian tourist, said he was “troubled” by too many websites to apply for Vietnam visas with better interfaces than standard websites.

Vietnam’s e-visa application website is considered by many visitors to be unreliable. Screenshots.

Website xin e-visa của Việt Nam bị nhiều du khách đánh giá trông thiếu uy tín. Ảnh chụp màn hình.
Vietnam’s e-visa application website is considered by many tourists to look “discredited”. Screenshots.

This is also what Mr. Pham Ha, CEO of Lux Group, once mentioned. The representative of this business said that Vietnam’s e-visa website has a difficult-to-remember domain name, and visitors only have two languages to choose from, English and Vietnamese. The interface is “archaic”, it is difficult to pay and pay and do not know if it is approved.

On the other hand, Mr. Ha also added that not only e-visa, visa on arrival of Vietnam is also problematic. Instead of guests going to the airport and stamping visas and paying, Vietnam requires guests to have a prior visa approval before being allowed to board the plane. To get a visa approval, visitors must present a two-way air ticket. Mr. Ha said that this stage is “complicated and not convenient for customers”.

Thailand applies visa on arrival to 19 countries but does not require prior visa approval. Travelers need to show proof of paid two-way airfare. Cambodia does not require any prior procedures for citizens of countries that are allowed to apply for a visa on arrival. When boarding the plane, visitors are given an entry card to fill out. Arriving at the airport in Cambodia, visitors bring this card with their passport and cash to the designated location to pay.

Sharing with VnExpress, Kim Binh, who has 7 years of experience in visa services, said that currently foreign visitors who want to come to Vietnam will apply for a visa in two forms: e-visa and visa approval letter. She said that Vietnam’s visa on arrival is not like other countries, so in essence, this type is a visa approval letter.

With the e-visa, visitors from the list of 80 countries are submitted online. The type of visa requires a mandatory visa approval letter p