Watching cyclos in Hanoi's busy streets- Vietnamese Tourist Visa

If you’re in Ireland and looking to sort out your Vietnamese Tourist Visa, then this is the guide for you because unfortunately, it’s not the most straightforward of processes!

In this guide, we’ll go through all the steps it took us to successfully get our tourist visas. I was so annoyed with the process that I sought advice from fellow Twitter people (Thank you so much, Susan Boyle and Lianne Reddy).

N.B. You need access to a computer, Internet, and a scanner. Here’s how you apply for a Vietnamese Tourist Visa from Ireland:

1. First off you need to email the Embassy

Unfortunately, Ireland doesn’t have a Vietnamese embassy and instead, they require you to go through the UK. Don’t expect a warm email back. You’ll get a generic one (I’m tempted to change my name to “sir/madam” at this stage). The email will direct you to a link to their website, and will be accompanied by their bank details.

By the way, don’t be horrified by the state of the website. It’s diabolical I know and yes it’s stuck in the 90s, but don’t worry, you’ll get through it.

2. Gather all your information

My advice to you is to gather all of your information before you even touch the website because it’s timed while you’re filling out the application. So have your passports, entry dates, where you’re staying, all that at hand. We also transferred the money through the bank to the embassy, the same day we filled out forms because it’s easier to do everything in one clean swoop. Annoyingly, because we had to pay to a British bank in sterling, we were also charged a fee to transfer, so bear that in mind (€30 out of pocket for us with Permanent TSB!)

This is the cost breakdown minus bank charges:

  • 30 days, single entry: £57 per passport (3 working days)
  • Next day service of £74 per passport
  • Postage charge was £8 for one visa
  • Postage for between 2-3 visas was £6 each
  • Postage for between 4-7 visas was £5 each

3. Read the Embassy web page very carefully.

It’s all over the place and isn’t particularly user-friendly. So get ready to work quickly.

On the form, there will be an option to attach an image. We didn’t because it kept rejecting our images. So we went for the more manual approach and got ours professionally done. To be honest, though, as long as your ears are visible and you’re in front of a white background, the photos shouldn’t be too much of a problem. They even accept selfies; though if you’re worried, then definitely go get passport photos done – they cost about €8.

Keep filling out the online form and then make sure you download it and save it. This is very important because you’ll have to reattach it to the email to the embassy when you’re ready.

4. Here’s what you need to send to them

  • A scan of the visa application form with an attached image of yourself (this involved me filling out the form, downloading it, signing it, attaching my photo and re-scanning it onto the computer – a pain, I know).
  • A scan of your passport.
  • A copy of your address so that they can send you the visas (this is a “form” found through this link, again a bit of a pain as you have to download it, edit it with your address and image of yourself and then re-upload it).
  • Proof that you paid for the visas (we scanned the swift transfer documents to them).

Don’t expect an acknowledgement email either – despite requesting one, I didn’t get any, and just waited until the visas arrived.


Advantages:

It’s an official document, quick to arrive by post and it saves time when you arrive in Vietnam as you don’t have to queue for visa-on-arrival.

Disadvantages:

Very impersonal to the point of irritating, website is very hard to navigate, and the overall cost of visas is expensive.

Note: We did not apply for visa-on-arrival this time around. Though much cheaper, there’s a much higher risk that your visas will be rejected if you don’t pick the right company to use.

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