Vietnam Visa Run – A Guide to Go

Nguyen Anh Thu25/11/2020

Vietnam visa run, besides Vietnam visa extension, is a fashion today for various expats who wish to remain in Vietnam after their visa expires. It requires the visa holders to leave Vietnam for a neighboring country and then come back with a new visa. In this post, we will show you all details about a visa run for Vietnam.

Important Note: Due to COVID 19, all Vietnam entry borders including airports are temporarily limiting foreign travelers, except for those with diplomatic and official missions. Therefore, at the moment, visa extension is recommended to extend your stay.

Vietnam visa run - a guide to go
Vietnam visa run – a guide to go

1.  What is a visa run for Vietnam?

Visa run refers to a trip to neighboring countries to restart your duration in Vietnam where you want to stay legally longer. To those their visa is going to expire soon, yet they neither extend the visa due to high cost nor go such a long way to their home country to apply for a new visa, this is the fastest and cheapest way to maintain their stay. All they need to do is leave Vietnam to a nearby country and re-entering Vietnam with a new visa stamped.

2.  Visa run vs. Visa extension

While Vietnam visa run and visa extension both aim at making the owner continue to stay in Vietnam legally, their definitions differ. Visa run is a way to get a new visa and visa extension prolongs current visa duration.

In terms of process method, visa runs are done by leaving Vietnam and returning, but visa extension works by staying in Vietnam. Therefore, visa run doers must run at either land borders or airports, meanwhile applicants of visa extension can proceed without going to borders or going outside Vietnam.

There’s also a difference in form of visa stamp between 2 types of procedure. Visa extension stamp shows a stamp on your passport with a new permitted duration and the visa run one is a totally new stamp of new entry.

Furthermore, the visa type of your extension has to be correspondent to your current visa type. Whereas, you can apply for a new visa type with different validity if you do a visa run instead.

Expats in Vietnam seem to prefer visa runs because of their processing time. You spend 3 days on a visa run approval letter and 1 to some days for a visa run trip. But, it takes you 8 working days to extend your visa.

In addition, in some cases, the visa run is much cheaper than a visa extension in Vietnam, while in other cases, visa extension is not available, thus visa run is the single option to further remain in Vietnam.

 3.  Where to do a visa run in Vietnam?

Visa runs can be completed in 2 ways: via international airports in Vietnam or via Vietnam land border gates. These are the eligible ports for a visa run in Vietnam:

  • Noi Bai International Airport (Ha Noi)
  • Cat Bi International Airport (Hai Phong)
  • Cam Ranh International Airport (Khanh Hoa)
  • Da Nang International Airport
  • Can Tho International Airport
  • Phu Bai International Airport
  • Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Phu Quoc International Airport
  • And below are Vietnam landports can do visa run:
  • Huu Nghi Landport
  • Ha Tien Landport
  • Bo Y Landport
  • Cha Lo Landport
  • Lao Bao Landport
  • Cau Treo Landport
  • La Lay Landport
  • Lao Cai Landport
  • Moc Bai Landport
  • Nam Can Landport
  • Mong Cai Landport
  • Na Meo Landport
  • Song Tien Landport
  • Xa Mat Landport
  • Tinh Bien Landport
  • Tay Trang Landport

 4.  What are Required Documents for a Visa run to Vietnam?

You need to prepare these documents for a hassle-free Vietnam visa run:

  • Your original passport valid in the next 6 months.
  • 02 passport photos: size 4x6cm, white background, direct angle with a neutral expression, no hat/ glasses or anything covers your face.
  • Visa approval letter: it must be an original copy with a red stamp if you do a border visa run, printed copy is acceptable if you come through airports.
  • Entry and exit form: this will be enclosed when we send you the issued approval form. Otherwise, it can be downloaded here.
  • Visa stamping fee: single entry visa is $25 while multiple entry visa is $50.

5.  How to Do a Visa Run Vietnam

Doing a visa run via airports is quite similar to a visa on arrival. Here are the steps how to fly out and in with a new visa:

  • Step 1: you need to apply for a visa approval letter while still being in Vietnam through a reliable agent.
  • Step 2: Prepare all documents needed for later visa stamp: 2 passport photos, visa approval letter (printed copy), valid original passport, enter and exit form, stamping fee
  • Step 3: Get out of Vietnam through any international airports or landports. At this exit points, you will get an exit visa stamp
  • Step 4: At the chosen country to do the visa run, you need to complete the check-in procedure and check out from that country. It’s up to you to whether stay for some days or come back to Vietnam right away
  • Step 5: Re-enter Vietnam with those prepared documents through any international airports. At the visa counter, your information will be verified and a visa stamp will be granted on your passport once you fulfill stamping fee payment on the spot.

For visa run via ground borders, procedure is pretty different:

  • Step 1: Choose the border gate you’d like to do the visa run and contact a local agency to get a visa approval letter first. Remember that you need to obtain an original approval letter from the agency in order to show at the checkpoint later.
  • Step 2: Go to the border gate by bus, taxi or any private vehicle. Show your passport and get an exit stamp by the Official, then you head to the chosen country’s immigration office at the border.
  • Step 3: Again, you need to show your original passport and get the entry stamp of that arrival country on your passport. If the country you choose requires a visa, you must show its visa or required documents to get a visa on arrival together with your passport.
  • Step 4: After that, you have 2 options: sample may take this chance to travel within that country for a few days. Others choose to exit immediately by coming back to the immigration counter and getting the exit stamp.
  • Step 5: At Vietnam border side, the immigration will recheck your passport and original copy of visa approval letter and grant you a new visa sticker.

There are many potential destinations around Vietnam like Laos, Cambodia, China, Thailand to do visa runs. Thanks to this formality, you can make your list of destinations longer and have an extraordinary experience in a short trip. Hopefully, these above details can help you to plan a successful visa run trip.