Vietnam Visa Run: The Complete Guide

Due to some reasons, foreigners do not want or cannot extend their visa but want to continue their stay in Vietnam. Then, a visa run is one of the most optimized solutions. Visa run is necessary to know, especially for those who intend to stay long in Vietnam.

Moc Bai Border Gate

What is visa run?

A Vietnam visa run is a method that foreigners use to continue their stay in Vietnam when their visa almost expires and they do not want to do visa extension due to the high cost or any reason. A visa run means a quick trip from Vietnam to neighboring countries (such as Laos, Cambodia, China, or Thailand) where foreigners will stay there for just a few hours or a few days and return to Vietnam on a new visa. This trip must be carried out before the foreigners’ visa expiry date.

Why visa run?

Although it takes foreigners some time to exit Vietnam and re-enter to get a new visa and a new stay duration, visa run still brings some pros that can be rejected:

  • Easy procedure and low cost: Extending a visa requires a Vietnamese sponsor or local agency which may cost a lot of money and include some complicated administrative procedures. Thus, Visa run could give you an easier and less costly way to prolong your stay in Vietnam with a new visa and a new stay duration.
  • Multiple options: If extending a visa could be limited in times of entry and duration of stay, Visa run provides you with a totally new visa which could be 1 to 3 months, and for single or multiple entries.

Vietnam visa run in brief:

Types of visa run

  • Visa run by air
  • Visa run by road

Who needs visa run?

  • Those who are currently staying in Vietnam and cannot or do not want to extend a visa but want to continue to stay in Vietnam.

Who is eligible?

  • Foreigners entering Vietnam by a visa exemption/ a 5-year visa exemption certificate/ an 30-day E-Visa/ a Business Visa.

Pros

  • Easy procedure and low cost
  • Multiple options: 1 month/3 months, single/multiple entries

Cons

  • Foreigners have to exit and enter Vietnam again

Fee

  • US$25 - 50 for stamping fee and other fees for approval letter or e-visa

Dossiers

  • Original passport
  • 5-year visa exemption certificate, E-visa, or Visa approval letter
  • Air ticket or bus ticket
  • Required documents to enter a third country
  • Stamping fee
  • Two (02) 4x6cm photos
  • Visa application form

Type of visa run

There are 2 types of Visa run in Vietnam which are Visa run by air and Visa run by road.

Visa run by air

Getting a visa run by air means that you exit Vietnam and return by air. This type is favored by foreigners who are staying in Northern Vietnam.

There are 8 International Airports that foreigners can choose for a Vietnam visa run:

  1. Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)
  2. Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)
  3. Cat Bi International Airport (Hai Phong)
  4. Da Nang International Airport (Da Nang)
  5. Cam Ranh International Airport (Khanh Hoa)
  6. Lien Khuong International Airport (Da Lat - Lam Dong)
  7. Phu Quoc International Airport (Phu Quoc)
  8. Can Tho International Airport (Can Tho)

Visa run by road

visa run by road requires foreigners to exit from Vietnam to a neighboring country through the land border gate with Vietnam such as Laos/Cambodia/Thailand/China, and then re-enter through that land border gate. This method is usually chosen by foreigners currently staying in Central and Southern Vietnam.

There are 16 Vietnam land border gates for visa run by road:

  1. Bờ Y - Kon Tum (neighboring Laos)
  2. Cha Lo - Quang Binh (neighboring Laos)
  3. Cầu Treo - Ha Tinh (neighboring Laos)
  4. Hữu Nghị - Lang Son (neighboring China)
  5. Hà Tiên - Kiên Giang (neighboring Cambodia)
  6. Lao Bảo - Quảng Trị (neighboring Laos)
  7. Lào Cai - Lào Cai (neighboring China)
  8. La Lay - Quảng Trị (neighboring Laos)
  9. Mộc Bài - Tây Ninh (neighboring Cambodia)
  10. Móng Cái - Quảng Ninh (neighboring China)
  11. Nậm Cắn - Nghệ An (neighboring Laos)
  12. Na Mèo - Thanh Hóa (neighboring Laos)
  13. Sông Tiền - An Giang (neighboring Cambodia)
  14. Tịnh Biên - An Giang (neighboring Cambodia)
  15. Tây Trang - Dien Bien (neighboring Laos)
  16. Xa Mát - Tây Ninh (neighboring Cambodia)

Who is eligible?

visa run are issued for foreigners in one of the following cases:

  • Foreigners entering Vietnam by a visa exemption
  • Foreigners entering Vietnam by a 5-year visa exemption certificate
  • Foreigners entering Vietnam by an E-Visa with a validity of 30 days
  • Foreigners entering Vietnam by a Business Visa

How to apply

Dossier

To apply for a visa by doing a visa run, you have to prepare adequate documents for the approval process. They include:

  • Original passport (with at least 2 blank pages for stamps and valid for at least 06 months after your re-entry date)
  • 5-year visa exemption certificate, E-visa, or Visa approval letter (original letter if you do visa run by road or printed if you do visa run by air)
  • Air ticket or bus ticket
  • Required documents to enter a third country when doing visa run Vietnam
  • Stamping fee
  • Two (02) 4x6cm photos (identical photos, taken within 6 months, straight looking and not wearing hat or glasses) (for visa run by road)
  • Visa application form (for visa run by road)

Procedure

Foreigners need to follow 5 steps to get a visa:

Step 1: Prepare the dossier

Get ready with all documents. For a visa to enter a third country, you can get it at the airport or at the Embassy/Consulate in Vietnam territory.

Step 2: Exit from Vietnam

Complete the exit procedure by getting the exit stamp and moving to the third country by plane/bus/train.

Step 3: Immigrate to the third country

Show the required documents to complete the immigration procedure to the third country.

Step 4: Exit the third country

You can choose to return to Vietnam immediately after exiting the third country or stay in that country for a few hours or a few days depending on your needs. Get your exit stamp during the check-out procedure to be able to re-enter Vietnam.

Step 5: Re-enter Vietnam and complete the visa application process

Present documents needed such as an original passport, a visa application form, 02 passport-sized photos, and visa approval letter/e-visa, stamping fee. Get the new visa stamped at the airport or land border gate of Vietnam.

Processing time & fee

Processing time and fee is varied based on your needs. It may take you 3-7 days to get a Vietnam visa on arrival/E-visa, 3-7 days to get a visa to enter the third country, and a few hours or a few days staying in the third country for the immigration/exit procedure or a short trip.

The fee may include the fee for the e-visa or approval letter and the stamping fee depending on the purpose of single or multiple entries to Vietnam.

  • E-visa: US$25
  • Approval letter: varied upon agency
  • Stamping fee: US$25 for single entry - US$50 for multiple entries

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Frequently asked questions

1. Can I return to Vietnam right after I just arrived in a third country?

Yes. You can return to Vietnam right after arriving in and completing the exit procedure from the third country.

2. Is visa run the best way to extend my stay in Vietnam?

It depends on your needs and work. If you are not on a tight budget and want to have a high success rate, you can choose a local visa agency to do a visa extension for you before your visa expires. You may apply for the visa extension by yourself if you have a sponsor in Vietnam but it also requires a bunch of administrative procedures. On the other hand, the simple and cost-saving way calls out a visa run. However, it takes you some time to exit and enter Vietnam again. Each way comes with its own pros and cons, and the choice is yours.

3. If I am staying in Da Nang and want to get a visa run, what is the most convenient border?

A visa run by air is the most convenient way if you are staying in Danang as you can choose abundant flights to neighboring countries from Danang International Airport. However, if you want a cost-saving way, land border gates such as Lao Bao or La Lay in Quang Tri could be alternatives.

4. Are photos compulsory when immigrating to Vietnam by visa run?

No. Photos are required for those who get a visa on arrival at the airport in Vietnam. You need to prepare 2 passport-sized photos (4x6cm) which are the same, taken in recent 6 months, straight looking and not wearing glasses and hats.

5. Is visa run applied for all border gates in Vietnam?

No, visa run is not applied for all border gates. You can choose to do a visa run by air via one of 8 international airports or a visa run by road via one of 16 land border gates in Vietnam.

Contact sales if you have additional questions.

Contact support if you already submitted your visa application on our website.

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