Until recently, the Vietnamese with foreign passports could only stay for a period of 90 days at each entry. This was also the case for spouses or children of Vietnamese citizens. However, according to newer laws, the overseas Vietnamese are now eligible to avail of a 5-year visa exemption. The exemption certificate basically acts like a 5-year visa for the eligible candidates.
While you might think that the steps are tedious and long, this is not the case. We are here to guide you through the entire process. All you need to do is follow the following steps to avail of the 5-year Visa.
Steps to get a 5-year Visa for Vietnam
· Gathering of necessary documents
The 5-year Visa can only be offered to you if you are:
- A Vietnamese overseas or
- Spouse or child of a Vietnamese citizen
In both cases, the document requirement can vary to some extent. So you need to carefully understand the requirements to avoid any confusion. Following are the document requirements:
- Declaration form – A completely filled out application form of 5 years Vietnam visa exemption (You can fill it offline in case you are in Vietnam)
- Passport – A foreign passport or international travel document that needs to be valid for 1-year post entry into Vietnam. The months will be counted from the entry date to Vietnam.
- Passport-sized photo – You will need a minimum of 2 recent passport-sized (4X6cm) photographs for the purpose. This means a colored photograph with a light background, straight face, clear visibility of eyes, no head coverings. One photo gets attached to the declaration form while another is an extra.
- Original document for verification – You need to provide an original copy of a document that is proof of identity. The document needs to prove you as an overseas or spouse/ child of a Vietnamese citizen.
For an overseas Vietnamese, you can provide the following documents as proof:
- Birth certificate
- Vietnamese citizenship certificate
- Certificate of loss of Vietnamese citizenship
- Vietnamese Passport (valid or outdated)
- Identity or latest voter card
- Family/Household registration book
- Any competent foreign authority issued a document that proves Vietnamese origin or citizenship.
In case you do not have any such documents, there is another way around. This includes a guarantee issued by a Vietnamese citizen in favor of the applicant. Another method is a guarantee issued by a Vietnamese association from the applicant’s country of residence.
Spouse/Child of Vietnamese
Now, in case of a spouse or child of a Vietnamese citizen, you can present the following documents:
- Marriage Certificate (for spouse)
- Birth certificate
- A certificate stating your relationship with parents
- Adoption Certificate
- Any other document deemed valid by the Vietnamese law
· Document Verification
Once you have gathered the necessary documents, half the battle is won. Now all you need to do is get them verified with the concerned authorities. Usually, the country’s embassy or consulate performs the verification procedure. You need to book an appointment beforehand for a smooth verification.
· Document and Fee Submission
Once you are done with the verification of the documents, you need to submit the declaration and documents to the competent authority. Along with this, there is a visa fee that you need to pay to the authorities. This fee can vary with your country of residence.
- In case you are in Vietnam, you may submit it to the Vietnam Immigration Department. The department falls under the Ministry of Public Security.
- For foreign applicants, visit the Overseas Vietnamese diplomatic consulates and missions. These are the Vietnamese representative agencies in a foreign country.
· Collection of Visa
Now you have reached the end of the process as you can collect the Visa from the concerned authorities. It usually takes 7 days for visa preparation, but the time is subjective to each department.
You can also have the Visa delivered to you via mail. This step varies from country to country. However, if your embassy provides the option of mail, make sure to use a trusted and certified mail service.
Before the visa application, there are certain things that you must know beforehand. You should apply only once you know the true picture. The following sections help to understand the process in detail.
What is the validity of the visa exemption certificate?
Some people assume that the Visa is valid for five years irrespective of other factors. However, there is a catch to it. The Visa is valid for a maximum of 5-years, including certain conditions.
The first condition arises when the validity of the passport/ travel document is less than five years. The time is taken into account from the submission of documents. In this case, the Visa is only valid up to 6 months before the expiration of the passport/ travel document.
For instance, with a 1-year validity on the passport or travel document, your Visa is only valid for six months. You will need to re-issue the Visa thereafter. Hence, the overall validity of your passport/ temporary card/ green card needs to be a minimum of 5 years 6 months.
The second condition is the maximum stay period of the certificate holder. The visa certificate holder can stay for a maximum of 180 days at a stretch. This means that each visit can only last for six months. This means you need to leave Vietnam and re-enter the border for obtaining the visa extension stamp. This can be via the land borders or Vietnam International Airport.
You need to make multiple entries over the 5-year period. However, you can simply find a way around by crossing the border or visiting neighboring countries.
If you want to delay the re-entry procedure, you can apply for a visa exemption extension. This can help you to avoid leaving the country for another 90 days.
How to apply for re-issuance of a 5-year visa for Vietnam?
You can re-issue the 5-year visa exemption certificate under special circumstances. These include the loss, expiration, or damage of the previous certificate. You may also re-issue in case you want any adjustments in the existing certificate.
Another major reason for issuing a new visa is the expiration of your passport. If your passport expires before the completion of 5 years of Vietnam visa, you need to issues a new visa for your renewed passport. Hence, it is always better to renew your passport beforehand to avoid mid-way hassles.
For the purpose of re-issue, you need to present a set of documents to a Vietnamese representative agency. The documents include
- Application/ Declaration form of 5-Year Visa Exemption
- 2 recent passport-sized photographs with previously mentioned standards
- A notice/application of loss of certificate (Only in the cases of loss of visa exemption certificate)
- A copy of the original certificate along with supporting documents of adjustment of content. (Only in the cases of content adjustments)
- Passport or international travel document, with new passport number
You need to repeat the steps that are followed by a new applicant, henceforth. This includes document verification and submission to competent authorities.
All this information is necessary to avoid any delays in the process. Keep check of the number of documents to avoid missing out on precious time. While the fee and visa charges demanded by the Vietnamese government is $10, it can vary in the resident’s country. It is best that you keep a budget estimate of $100. Good luck with your stay in Vietnam!