Visa Exemption for Vietnam

In my previous post I briefly mentioned that we used our visa exemption when we flew into Vietnam. We are both UK passport holders so we are able to use this exemption which means we would get 14 days in Vietnam without having to arrange a Letter of Arrival (LOA) before we landed, and it also meant we were able to skip the Visa on Arrival queue at the airport.

*You are able to get 1 month, 3 months and multiple entry visas for Vietnam. It is possible to get a visa from a Vietnamese embassy or a Visa on Arrival. You must obtain a Letter of Approval (LOA) before entering Vietnam so you can arrange a Visa on Arrival at the airport. Check with your embassy for details on exemptions/visa details. Also check if the airport you are flying into issues Visas on Arrival or Visa exemptions.

We flew into Hanoi from Bangkok as this airport will give the 14 day visa exemption to nationalities that are eligible. A couple of hours before we left for the Don Muang Airport in Bangkok, we realised we’d overlooked quite an important part of our trip so far; we didn’t have any proof of onward travel. This was due to the fact we were planning to cross into Laos at a land border and we were open to our plans changing. If we couldn’t come up with something before we got to the airport it was highly likely that the airline wouldn’t let us board the flight at all or we would have to pay a fortune for another onward flight for the both of us.  From my experiences during our travels across South East Asia it is becoming more and more common for airlines to request proof of onward travel before letting you on the plane. After a long search online we found that any flights from Vietnam onward were completely out of our budget. So we decided to give bus tickets a go, and this ended up being our only option. It was also the most budget friendly option available to us. We booked tickets online through a bus company from Vietnam to Cambodia that took a deposit of $10 each and we were sent the tickets via email, full payment was to be requested in a further email at a later date. We arrived at the airport with our tickets in hand and after a member of staff at the check-in desk queried if our tickets were acceptable, we were then allowed to board. The only thing she mentioned was that the Immigration officials in Vietnam may not accept a bus ticket as proof. This was not a problem when we landed as we were never asked for our proof of onward travel. All we did was request the 14 day visa exemption when at Immigration, we just had to state the date we were planning on leaving the country within the 14 days that we’d been given.

Lesson learnt: always have a way of providing airlines with onward travel documents! It’s usually the airlines and not the countries that require documents of further travel plans.

*Note: Some airlines will not accept bus tickets as proof of onward travel. In my opinion its always safer to have a flight ticket to guarantee you’ll be allowed to board.

I have been made aware of several sites that you can use to essentially ‘rent’ an air ticket as proof of onward travel for a small fee. I haven’t used it myself but below are a few links that I’ve found on travel forums that people have used before and recommended:

If anyone does use either of these sites, let us know!

Peace + plane tickets  ✈


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