How long a Vietnam visa approval letter valid for?

What is Vietnam visa approval letter? It is an official document issued by Vietnam Department of Immigration allowing foreign passport holders to pick up Vietnam visa at Vietnam airport when they arrive. The prerequisite for the permission to check in is that all the information registered in the approval letter MUST be exactly the same as in the applicants’ passports.

The length of stay for a visa may be 1 month or 3 months depending on applicants’ selection.  Normally on the approval letter, 3 months is listed for business purpose by default but foreign visitors can enter Vietnam using 3 months visa for tourist purpose as well.  Vietnam Immigration Department has stopped to grant 6 months or 1 year visa since 24th August 2009; therefore if foreign travelers wish to stay longer than 3 months visa, they need to extend their visas through a travel agent.

The validity of a visa starts from the submitted date of arrival in your application form, not your date of applying. The departure date is the last day you are permitted to be in the country, unless you get a visa extension. Therefore please plan your travel carefully and note your earliest estimated arrival date. Otherwise, you will end up being denied for Vietnam entry and suffering the great risk for losing expenses for flight ticket and hotel reservation.

For example, if you apply for 1 month single entry visa and submit your arrival date as 18th November 2012, your visa approval letter will be valid from 18th November to 18th December 2012. You can enter anytime during the period Nov 18 – Dec 18 2012 but must leave the country by 18th December,2012.

What if I leave Vietnam later than visa expiry date?

Well, there is one-day grace period, which means you can leave Vietnam one day later than your visa expiry date. However, do not take advantage of this privilege to lengthen your stay unless you are in sudden case. Your overstay of beyond one day may lead to a financial penalty from Vietnam Immigration Officers and even worse you are not permitted to leave Vietnam before your visa is renewed, which takes a lot of time and money.

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