This post is specific to Australian passport holders applying for Vietnam tourist visa via post to the Embassy of Vietnam, or one of the consulates (the process appears to be the same, I used Consulate General of Vietnam in Sydney).
Please ensure you check visa requirements and eligibility criteria as these often change. Not sure where to start? The Australian Government Smart Traveller website generally provides information on visa requirements and who to contact.
What you need
For the application you will need:
- Original Passport with 6 months validity
- Application Form with passport photo attached
- Money Order or Bank Cheque
- Envelope that fits the passports, application form, money order/bank cheque and self addressed return envelope
Visa $99 per person
Money Order $9.95
Large Tracked Document Envelope $5.95
Medium Return Self Addressed Express Post $6.95
Check Visa Cost and download form
Before you proceed with the application you need to email or call the Embassy/Consulate and check the cost of the visa. As of August 2019 the cost was $99 per person through the Consulate General of Vietnam Sydney.
The application form (for applications through the Consulate General of Vietnam Sydney) can be downloaded as a Word document along with a list of instructions. Please ensure you read them!
Visa applications can be made up to 6 months before the travel date.
You can pay via Bank Cheque or Money Order. I organised a Money Order through Australia Post for $9.95. Not all Australia Post Offices can do Money Orders but you can search for the nearest location on the website and choose Money Order as a Financial and Insurance Service.
You can put multiple payments on the one cheque/money order rather than send a payment for each passport.
Send it off!
So you have your passport, the application form with photo attached, and the payment – time to send!
You need 2 envelopes
- 1 envelope big enough to fit all the documents. I found the Large domestic letter envelope was a good size, and it had tracking.
- 1 self addressed return envelope big enough for the passports. The consulate don’t send back any other paperwork, just the passports. If this envelope has tracking then keep the little “sender to keep” sticker or take a photo of the sticker so you can track the envelope if needed.
How long will it take?
The Consulate General of Vietnam Sydney has 2 working days as a normal processing time, and it will depend if you are using Express Post.
I posted our application on a Monday by standard post and the passports with visas were back by Friday (return was Express Post). So in my experience the 2 working days was accurate.
What about applying online or via an agent?
I am hesitant to enter this area since I have only ever applied via post from within Australia.
Express Visa Online via the Consulate
Online applications are possible through the Vietnam Embassy in Australia, or via the Consulate. The loose leaf visa will be mailed to you. Apparently this is slightly more expensive but I am not sure how much.
Visa via an Agent
Don’t want to apply for a Visa on your own and still in Australia? Travel Agents can assist or find a reputable agent.
Visa on Arrival
If you are already travelling then you will need to organise a visa via an Embassy/Consulate or apply for a Visa on Arrival (VoA) via a reputable agent. The VoA provides a pre-approval letter so you can obtain the actual visa when you arrive.
The Vietnamese Embassy and Smart Traveller discuss the fact that there are LOTS of scam online Vietnam visa operations that claim to provide Visa on Arrival. Not only will this cause issues at Immigration if you have been scammed – but think – who has your details now?! You gave them all your information! If you really need a VoA then make sure you research a reputable online provider. Lonely Planet have some suggestions, as do other travels blogs such as Gadsventure or World Travel Family. The Vietnamese Embassy has a list of known websites that are not legitimate so check their list if you are unsure.
The VoA can actually be cheaper than using an Embassy/Consulate but do your research first and understand that the Embassy/Consulate are unlikely to assist if you have been scammed.
This is only my experience of obtaining a Vietnam visa as an Australian passport holder applying via Post. If you have questions please contact the nearest Embassy/Consulate.