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How Far Out Should I Apply for a Visa to Vietnam from the USA?

Applying for a Vietnamese Visa as a US citizen two months in advance to the date of travel is considered optimum. The two months period enables you to get enough buffer time for a hassle-free process. 

You can start applying for the Vietnamese Visa 6 months in advance, but the processing time for a Vietnamese Visa is quick, and US citizens need not apply for it way in advance. The standard processing time for the Vietnam Visa is 3-5 business days, for almost all Visa types. However, sometimes, the application process might take longer depending on the method of application you pick for the Visa.

The Vietnam Embassy recommends on all its websites to apply for a Visa before you book your flights, as the duration of the procedure varies with multiple factors. 

Though in most cases it has a quick turnaround, the time required for the visa process is determined based on the Visa you are applying for (tourist, student, business, etc.); the method of application (online, at the embassy, by mail or on arrival); and your visa status (new, up for renewal, extension, etc.). Continue reading to understand the above factors and find the perfect duration to apply for a Vietnamese Visa.

Processing time based on the method of application 

The processing time for all visa applications in the Vietnam Embassy is around 3-5 business days, but completing the form, document verification, and postal delivery, may take longer depending on the method of application.

For example, if you send your passport for verification by mail, the delivery time will prolong the procedure. 

Presently, all the official websites offer the option to apply in person, online, or by email.

You can also apply for the Vietnam Visa on Arrival through travel agencies if you are traveling by air. You can also choose the option of e-visa if you are entering Vietnam via ports.

Apply in person at the Vietnam Embassy, USA

The first step is to fill out the application form (online or offline), submit the documents, and pay the visa fees. The standard time to process a completed application is three days.

There is an option of expedited service, with a processing time of 24 hours. 

The entire procedure takes around 7-10 working days. 

Apply online and receive the Visa by mail 

For an online application, you need to fill out the online application form, submit the electronic copy of the documents, and pay the fees via PayPal. The processing time is two working days for online application. 

It might take longer to receive your Visa by mail, and the process may extend depending on the speed of the mailing service. It is good to have enough buffer time in this process as the courier may take 2-3 weeks.

Apply by email and receive the Visa by mail 

To apply by email, fill out the online application form, attach the documents, and pay the fees with credit/debit cards. The standard processing time is two days, but you can get the Visa in 24 hours by opting for expedited service with an additional fee.

You will receive the Visa by mail, which may take a longer time, depending on your location and courier service. It is better to have a buffer of 2 months in this process, as the procedure may extend because of the delivery period.

Sometimes, you need the buffer period in case of errors in your Visa. Error amendment can draw out the process, and you may miss your travel date. Though the Vietnam Embassy has a quick response rate, have enough time gap between visa application and your travel date.

Apply for Visa on Arrival 

In the case of Visa on Arrival, you only need an approval letter from the embassy before you land in Vietnam. The approval letter takes up to 3-5 business days to process. It is ideal for applying 1-2 months before the departure, just in case your schedule or plan might change.

The Visa procedure at the international airport usually takes 15-30 minutes. There is also an option of fast-track service to avoid the queue in case of an emergency.


E-visa is one of the fastest methods to apply for a Vietnam Visa. You can enter Vietnam with your e-visa and stay in the country for 30 days. The processing time for e-visa is usually three working days. You get the stamp of Visa on Arrival once you land in Vietnam. 

The complete procedure takes 7-10 days, which includes filling the application form, document upload, payment of fees, and verification.

Processing time based on the Type of Visa 

Tourist Visa 

The processing time for a tourist Visa is 5+ working days and, in addition, the postal delivery time if you have sent your passport by mail.

It takes 3-5 working days to get the approval letter for Visa on Arrival. However, you can get in 1-2 hours in case of an emergency, even on weekends.

It is safe to have a duration of at least 1-2 months before the travel date if you are applying for a tourist visa through the Vietnam embassy.

Business Visa 

It takes 5-7 working days to get the approval letter for Visa on Arrival for a Business Visa. However, you can get in 2-3 working days if you need it urgently. 

The processing time for Business visas through the Vietnam Embassy varies. And it is advisable to apply for the Visa before booking the flights.

The processing time in the Vietnam Embassy is 3-5 working days for all visas, but the method of applying determines how much in advance you should apply. Applying two months before your date of travel gives you enough time to submit the application, receive it by mail, and request changes (if any) and get your passport back on time.

Processing time for Visa status update 

Visa Renewal 

The mail-in Visa Renewal process takes around 8-10 days, in which case, you have to send your passport to the embassy. If you have to travel urgently, you can apply for an expedited renewal service and get your Visa renewed at the soonest.

Visa Extension

After submitting the application form for Extension, it takes 5-7 working days for the extension of a 1-month visa and ten working days for a 3-month visa. 

You should start the process at least ten days before the expiry for the 1-month Visa. And, 15 days before the expiry of the 3-month Visa.


The visa procedure for US citizens in Vietnam is very straightforward. You need not apply way in advance for it. But you need time to decide the ideal Visa for your requirement.

As a thumb rule, it is always essential to have enough time for revisions or delay in postal delivery. 

If you have a fixed date of travel, you can make the best use of your Visa. Having a date of landing will enable you to get the Visa for that specific date. This is very efficient in case of short-term travel.

Once you find the right visa and the ideal application method for you, it is easy for you to clearly understand the key elements and estimate the time required to complete the visa application process. These key factors will help you decide when you should start applying for your Vietnamese Visa. You will have sufficient time to complete the process without having to rush through it.