Photo: Hieu VO/Shutterstock

How to Get the New 90-Day Vietnam Tourist Visa

Vietnam Travel Digital Nomad
by Aimee Long Oct 12, 2023

Whether you’re daydreaming about navigating the glittering beehive of Ho Chi Minh City, criss-crossing the chaotic streets of Hanoi, or tanning on the beaches of Da Nang, you’ll eventually encounter the question of what documents you’ll need to travel to Vietnam.

For travelers with passport privilege, it could come as a surprise that securing a tourist visa ahead of time is mandatory, as anyone who travels to Vietnam will learn. Until August of 2023, Vietnam’s tourist visa was only valid for 30 days, causing a lot of headaches for those who wanted to live in Vietnam or use it as a base for traveling around Asia.

I spent a month in Da Nang, Vietnam last year, taking day and weekend trips around the country. I lamented a lot about the 30-day tourist visa, wishing I could stay longer without the headache of a visa run – having to leave the country and re-enter just to secure a new visa. When I spoke with expats who lived in Da Nang full time, many said they were traveling to the nearest border (by land or air), spending enough time there for their new Vietnam visa to process, then turning around and coming right back every month. It seemed like a huge and frequent hassle.

Fortunately, the 90-day Vietnam visa launched in late summer of 2023. Here’s everything to know about getting a 90-day tourist Vietnam visa, plus suggestions on where to base yourself for up to three months in the spectacular country.

How to get a 90-day Vietnam visa for American tourists

vietnam visa passport stamp and cash

Photo: Bunwit Unseree/Shutterstock

Travelers were able to start applying for the updated 90-day tourist visa in August of 2023. It’s an e-Visa, so you’ll apply and acquire it online. There is no visa-on-arrival option for US citizens. Everyone traveling to Vietnam will need a visa (unless you hold a Vietnamese passport), so this process is a necessary evil.

You’ll have two choices when applying for your 90-day Vietnam visa: the single-entry or multiple-entry option. The single-entry visa is $25, while the multiple-entry visa is $50. Their name describes their difference. The single-entry visa is for those who don’t plan to leave Vietnam during the duration of their stay. If you do, you’ll need to re-apply for a new visa to re-enter the country, just like you had to do with the old 30-day visa. A multiple-entry visa allows you to come and go as you please over the course of your allotted 90 days, without the need to apply for another visa.

The application and approval process is the same for both visas, and since the multiple-entry visa costs just $50, the flexibility that the multiple entry option offers is worth it – especially with other beautiful countries like Cambodia and Laos so close by.

Required documentation

On the application, you’ll need to upload a photo of your passport and a passport picture. You can get professional passport photos done for just a few bucks at stores like CVS and RiteAid, but it’s also easy (and free) to take a picture of yourself with a white background and edit it to their specifications. Just make sure nothing is blocking your face and you’re well-lit. And don’t smile.

The application process

90-day vietnam visa application page

The application website isn’t the most elegant, but it’s easy to use and takes only a few minutes. Photo: Vietnam Immigration Department

Make sure you apply for your Vietnam visa through the official website. This is the correct one, linked via the US Consulate in Vietnam, and it’s a fairly simple process. Many online third-party companies will advertise services to manage your application, but it isn’t necessary and will always cost more. It’s easy to do yourself.

There are a few key things to note within the application itself:

  • If you’ve ever entered Vietnam with a different passport (i.e. an old one), you’ll need to enter the old passport number.
  • Use your hotel info for the “Hosting Organization” section of the application, including its telephone number and address.
  • You’ll need to list your entry and exit checkpoints (the city/airport where you will be arriving and departing). It’s okay if the exit checkpoint is just a guess, but make sure the arrival checkpoint is the first city you’ll be flying into.
  • There are a couple of obscure questions that can seem intimidating, like occupation information. But just put what you can — it’s fine to just put “social media” or “blogger.”

The application process only takes a few minutes once you have your documents ready to go. Then, it’s just a waiting game to see if it’s approved. There’s always a chance you’ll have to re-apply with a different picture or more information, which makes it a good idea to apply at least a week in advance.

The website says that applications are processed within three days, but mine took only a few hours.

Showing your visa on entry

You should receive an email with your results within a few hours or days at the latest. The email comes with a registration code you’ll enter on the website to see your application status. It’s in Vietnamese and English and can look a little confusing at first glance, but just double check that your name and passport number are correct and you should be good to go.

You’ll want to print at least two copies – one to present at customs when you arrive, and an extra backup copy. Two backup copies can’t hurt.

At customs, you may be asked for proof of onward travel to show that you don’t plan on overstaying your visa. If you already have your return or onward flight booked, you’re fine. But it’s easy to get a temporary flight reservation for around $15 using Onward Ticket a day before you arrive.

Once the paperwork is finished, it’s finally time for the fun part – spending the next 90 days exploring Vietnam.

Where to base yourself in Vietnam

If the Vietnam visa application sounds easy and doable (which it is), the next thing to ask yourself is “Where should I set up shop?” That will depend on what you’re looking to get out of your trip and what kinds of amenities are important to you. Do you want to be in the heart of a busy city with an endless list of activities at your fingertips? Or maybe an idyllic, seaside village is more your speed. While the airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the largest and most-used for international travelers, that doesn’t mean you need to stay in a big city.

Most expats love Vietnam for its bottom-barrel prices (50 cents for a beer, anyone?) and tropical climate. But its rich culture, genuinely friendly locals, and the still-lingering, off-the-beaten-path feel of many destinations is what makes it my favorite country in the world.

Vietnam is ideal for digital nomads as the internet is incredibly fast and co-working spaces seem to be popping up by the minute. Pair that with the country’s already mind-bogglingly good coffee scene, and you have a match made in remote-work heaven.

Here are just a few of the best places to base yourself for three months of exploring Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City

how to get a vietnam visa - saigon traffic

Photo: David Bokuchava/Shutterstock

Ho Chi Minh City, often still called “Saigon,” is the largest metropolis in Vietnam, and you’ll feel it as soon as you exit the airport. Crossing intersections can be a feat in itself, but despite its ever-humming energy, the city still secrets away some lesser-known (and less-busy) places to find space to yourself.

You’ll find a thriving expat community and plenty of places to stay for an extended time, an endless sea of delicious food and drink (including several craft breweries), and a mix of places to learn about the cities riveting, complicated, and tragic history. HCMC (as it’s often abbreviated) is broken up into districts, with most expats living in District Two or Seven.

Weather-wise, the city is in the Mekong River Delta and it stays balmy year-round, but especially in the summer. But it also means you’re close to some fascinating floating markets and smaller southern towns like Vung Tau.

Da Lat

vietnam visa.- da lat

Photo: TBone Lee/Shutterstock

Vietnam’s idyllic mountain town, Da Lat is beloved by many for its cooler climes and laid-back atmosphere. Nicknamed the City of Eternal Spring, Da Lat’ expat community is smaller than other cities, but that generally matches the population size of around 450,000 people.

Da Lat runs at a much slower pace than other parts of Vietnam and is an agricultural community at heart, with local wineries, and even a cidery nearby. Because it’s a bit more isolated, it’s more difficult to take quick day trips from Da Lat to the rest of the country. But the city makes up for it with natural tranquility, a close-knit community, and beautiful mountain scenery.

Nha Trang

nha trang vietnam visa guide

Photo: Huy Thoai/Shutterstock

If the idea of living on the coast piques your interest, but you’re hesitant to live in a larger city, Nha Trang could be perfect. With a population of around 400,000 and a huge expat community, more and more people are flocking to Nha Trang for its idyllic, tropical coastline and year-round warmth. If you’re interested in beaches, snorkeling, and scuba diving, it’s an excellent choice (and has a lively nightlife and bar scene, too).

Da Nang

vietnam visa - where to stay - da nang hand bridge

Photo: Hien Phung Thu/Shutterstock

After staying in Da Nang for a month, I can firmly say that this is where I’d want to base myself if I was living in Vietnam for an extended period of time. In fact, were it not for the pesky 30-day rule of the old Vietnam visas, tourist visa, I would have stayed longer. Even the 90 days offered by the new Vietnam visa would just scratch the surface of what the city can offer.

I was surprised at the already steadfast expat community and Western comforts, like Adobo Mexican Grill – a Chipotle-esque restaurant I returned to over and over again when my husband and I were craving a taste of home. Da Nang is not a small city by any means, but it felt small in comparison to the heaving metropolises of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. Sprawling beaches, unique cultural sites, and a thriving food scene all contributed to my love of this city. Da Nang is in the center of the country and is close enough for day trips to cities like Hoi An and Hue.

Hoi An

hoi an central vietnam

Photo: Hien Phung Thu/Shutterstock

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the (contested) birthplace of banh mi, Hoi An has a lot going for it as a base for digital nomads. It’s only half an hour south of Da Nang with an ancient and well-preserved old town full of quaint cafes and restaurants, interesting museums, and beautiful photo opportunities.

That being said, its small size coupled with the crowds can feel choking at times; Hoi An is one of the most popular tourist towns in the country. If it’s where you plan to spend all three months of your Vietnam visa window, consider finding accommodations on the outskirts of town and renting a motorbike or bicycle to get around. That’ll give you easy access to the town’s amenities while still preserving a little peace and quiet away from the crowds.


Hue at sunset - vietnam visa

Photo: Tang Trung Kien/Shutterstock

The ancient imperial city of Hue (pronounced “hway”) sits on the Perfume River and was once Vietnam’s capital. It’s a bit more industrial than other cities in the country, but retains a lot of old-world charm with an almost suburban feel. Cultural sites abound, including the historic Imperial Citadel and several mausoleums lining the river. Hue is also famous for its imperial cuisine, and you could spend a few days in Hue just exploring the thriving food scene for every meal.


hanoi vietnam

Photo: Vietnam Stock Images/Shutterstock

While Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam, many people think Hanoi is even more chaotic. But lovers of all-things-cosmopolitan will feel right at home in the hustle and bustle, and it isn’t difficult to find co-working spaces and cafes with fast Wi-Fi, plus lots of great Airbnb rentals.

Northern Vietnam is also considered by many to be the most beautiful part of the country, with bucket-list destinations like Ha Long Bay and the Ha Giang Loop in the region. Hanoi makes a great base for day and weekend trips to those regions. Hanoi is more than 1,000 miles north of Ho Chi Minh, so it gets chilly in winter. It’s perfect for expats who love seasonal shifts, and good to know for those who don’t.

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