What is an Emergency Visa for Vietnam?

What is an Emergency Visa for Vietnam?

August 12, 2023 Off By Vietnam Embassy UAE
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AnEmergency Visa Vietnam is a special type of visa issued for travelers who need to enter Vietnam urgently due to an emergency situation. Unlike regular tourist visas which can take several days for processing, an emergency Vietnamese visa can be issued very quickly, often within 24 hours or less.

Emergency visas are intended for genuine emergency situations only. Reasons for an emergency visa to Vietnam may include:

  • Family emergencies – e.g. the death or serious illness of a close relative in Vietnam
  • Business emergencies – e.g. an urgent business meeting or deal that cannot be delayed
  • Medical emergencies – e.g. urgently required medical treatment in Vietnam
  • Humanitarian emergencies – e.g. natural disasters or accidents where you need to provide urgent assistance

Evidence will usually be required to prove the emergency situation when applying for an emergency Vietnamese visa.

Who Needs an Emergency Visa for Vietnam?

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An emergency visa for Vietnam is only for travelers who have a genuine need to enter the country at very short notice due to an emergency.

You should not apply for an emergency visa just because you have failed to arrange a regular tourist visa in time or you have changed your travel plans at the last minute. Doing so may result in your application being rejected.

The following types of travelers may be eligible for an emergency visa if they can provide evidence of a genuine emergency:

  • Family members of someone who is seriously ill or has died suddenly in Vietnam
  • Business travelers with an urgent, unforeseeable business commitment in Vietnam
  • Travelers who urgently require specific medical treatment only available in Vietnam
  • Aid workers responding to a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis in Vietnam
  • Journalists covering breaking news events in Vietnam at very short notice

If you do not have a genuine emergency, you should apply for a regular tourist visa or e-visa instead, which takes 1-3 working days to process. An emergency visa application without proper proof of an emergency may be rejected.

How to Apply for an Emergency Visa for Vietnam

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There are two ways to apply for an emergency Vietnamese visa:

1. Apply for a visa on arrival (VOA)

This method involves applying for pre-approval of a visa on arrival, then collecting the actual visa when you arrive at a Vietnamese airport. Follow these steps:

  • Contact the Vietnamese embassy/consulate nearest to you and explain your emergency situation. Ask for written guidance on applying for a VOA with an emergency.
  • Complete the VOA pre-approval application form online along with scanned copies of your passport, ID photos and evidence documents. Pay the application fee.
  • Submit your VOA application urgently and await approval from the Immigration Department of Vietnam. This can take as little as a few hours if the emergency is genuine and documented well.
  • Once approved, you will receive an approval letter. Print this out and take it with you to Vietnam along with your passport.
  • On arrival, proceed to the VOA desk at the airport, present your VOA approval letter, completed arrival/declaration forms and passport. Pay the visa stamping fee and your visa will be issued.

2. Apply for an eVisa

Vietnam also offers faster processing of eVisas for emergency situations. The process is similar:

  • Contact the Vietnamese embassy for guidance on applying for an emergency eVisa. Complete the online eVisa application form urgently along with supporting documents.
  • Wait for approval of your emergency eVisa – this can take anywhere from a few hours to 1-2 days if your case is genuine and you have provided full evidence.
  • Once approved, you will receive your eVisa by email. Print it out to bring with you to Vietnam along with your passport.
  • On arrival in Vietnam, proceed to the immigration desks and present your eVisa print-out and passport to be stamped into the country.

What Documents are Required?

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Because an emergency Vietnamese visa is intended for urgent travel only, you will need to provide documentation to prove your emergency situation. Requirements can vary case-by-case, but generally you will need:

  • Passport – must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the entry date to Vietnam. Scanned copy required for VOA applications.
  • Application form – fully completed emergency VOA or eVisa form submitted urgently. Forms are available online.
  • ID photo – a digital passport-style photo. Printed photos also needed for VOA applications.
  • Embassy/consulate letter – many applicants must contact the Vietnamese consulate in their home country to explain the emergency and get written advice before applying for either a VOA or eVisa.
  • Evidence of emergency – documentation such as a death certificate, medical certificate, letter from employer or other evidence to prove your emergency situation.
  • Confirmed travel booking – evidence of flight/travel bookings to prove you intend urgent travel to Vietnam.
  • Visa fee payment – payment receipt for the urgent visa application fee. Fees depend on your nationality.

Failure to provide full documentation of your emergency situation may result in rejection of your emergency visa application.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Emergency Visa?

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Processing times for emergency visas to Vietnam can vary greatly depending on the urgency and validity of your case, as well as which application method you use.

  • Visa On Arrival – VOA approval can take anywhere from 12 hours to 5 days if your emergency is genuine. Additional delays are possible if your situation is not adequately explained or documented.
  • eVisa – eVisas are advertised to take just 1-3 working days to process, however for emergency situations they can be processed in just a few hours if urgently requested and your case is clear. Additional delays are possible if documentation is lacking.
  • Embassy Visa – Applying directly at the Vietnamese embassy in person can sometimes result in a same-day emergency visa if your case is urgent and well-evidenced. However embassy application rules vary between countries.

While emergency visas aim for the fastest possible processing, approval times are still subject to checks and verifications by Vietnamese immigration authorities.

Providing as much detail and documentation as possible will help expedite your emergency visa application.

How Much Does an Emergency Visa Cost?

Emergency visa fees are generally higher than standard tourist visas due to the accelerated processing and administration. Costs can also depend on your nationality.

Some typical emergency visa fees for Vietnam are:

  • Visa On Arrival – VOA stamping fee is ~$50 USD per person after getting approval letter. There may be small added fees for agencies assisting with the application.
  • eVisa – eVisa fees start from around ~$80-100 USD depending on nationality, paid upon application.
  • Embassy Visa – Fees vary by location. Expect to pay $100-150+ USD for an expedited in-person embassy application in many countries.

Payment methods – Fees can be paid by credit/debit card, bank transfer or cash at the embassy. Most agencies and online VOA/eVisa applications accept card payment.

While emergency visas cost more than regular tourist visas, in genuine emergency situations the benefit of very fast approval often outweighs the extra cost.

What are the Validity and Duration Rules?

Emergency visas for Vietnam have special validity and duration rules:

  • Validity: The visa must be used to enter Vietnam within 30 days of the date of approval. This is to ensure your urgent travel takes place soon after getting approved.
  • Duration: Length of stay allowed is up to 30 days from the date of entry. For longer stays beyond 30 days, you must apply for visa extensions once in Vietnam, subject to approval of extension documentation.
  • Extensions: Emergency visa holders can apply for extensions of stay due to the emergency. Extra fees apply for extensions. Proper documentation must be provided to explain ongoing emergency circumstances requiring a longer stay in Vietnam beyond 30 days.
  • Single entry: Most emergency visas for Vietnam allow a single entry only.
  • No refunds: Emergency visas are non-refundable if ultimately unused, since they are approved and processed immediately for urgent travel.

Rules may differ slightly between VOA and eVisa emergency visas – always carefully check your particular visa type’s validity duration and extension options.

Can I Convert My Tourist Visa to an Emergency Visa?

No, your regular tourist visa cannot be converted into an emergency Vietnamese visa. The emergency visa requires a completely new and separate application showing proof of your urgent situation.

However, if you already have a valid tourist visa for Vietnam, you can still apply for an emergency visa if a genuine emergency arises – both can be in your passport at the same time.

When you arrive in Vietnam, the immigration officer will stamp the visa (tourist or emergency) that is most appropriate for your entry date and purpose.

So having a valid tourist visa does not necessarily prevent you from successfully applying and being approved for an emergency visa if a real emergency occurs.

What Happens if My Emergency Visa is Rejected?

To avoid rejection of your emergency visa application, always be sure to:

  • Explain your emergency situation fully and provide genuine documentation as proof.
  • Apply urgently as soon as you know you need emergency travel. Do not leave it to the last minute.
  • Follow all instructions from the Vietnamese embassy/consulate in your country and provide complete information in your application.
  • Use a reputable agency if applying via a visa agency rather than directly.

If however your emergency visa application is denied, here are your options:

  • Appeal the decision – you may be able to provide additional details and request an appeal of the rejection decision. Further verification requirements may be sent to you. Respond to these urgently.
  • Apply again – carefully review the reasons your emergency visa was rejected. Then re-apply, ensuring you provide full documentation, details and meet any areas the visa was rejected for.
  • Apply for a tourist visa – if there is simply not enough time to appeal a rejection before travelling, apply for a regular tourist visa or eVisa as an alternative. These take longer to process but will at least allow you to enter Vietnam.

A rejected emergency visa application can cause major delays and complications for your urgent travel plans. Avoid rejection by being sure to follow proper application procedures and provide solid evidence the first time you apply.

Common Emergency Situations for Vietnam Visas

Some of the most common reasons travelers need an emergency visa for Vietnam include:

Medical Emergencies

  • Sudden illness while already traveling in Southeast Asia requiring urgent admission to hospital in Vietnam
  • Injury during activities like motorbiking in Vietnam requiring quick medical treatment
  • The diagnosis of a serious illness where the required treatment is not available in your home country but is in Vietnam
  • Being the family member or partner of someone who has fallen seriously ill or had an accident in Vietnam and needs support.

For medical emergencies, documentary evidence like medical reports, booking confirmations for hospital admission in Vietnam etc are required.

Death of a Family Member

  • The death of a close family member in Vietnam requiring urgent travel to attend the funeral and make arrangements. Evidence like a death certificate is usually required in such cases.
  • Travel by other family members to provide support and assistance to their bereaved relatives in Vietnam at short notice.

Business Emergencies

  • An unexpected, urgent business meeting in Vietnam that cannot be delayed or held remotely. Supporting information from your employer will often be needed for approval.
  • Business travel required at short notice to sign important contracts, secure major deals or investments where significant losses would occur if entry to Vietnam was delayed.
  • Attending urgent high-level negotiations, conferences or events in Vietnam where postponement could severely impact an organization.
  • Conducting emergency maintenance, repairs or inspections of critical infrastructure in Vietnam by corporate technicians or engineers.

Accidents and Disasters

  • NGO, aid and humanitarian workers seeking urgent access to Vietnam after a natural disaster, to provide support and relief efforts.
  • Journalists needing to quickly enter and report from Vietnam in the wake of an accident like a transport crash or building collapse.
  • Family members requiring immediate entry to Vietnam after a disaster has affected relatives in the country.

Proving a genuine need for emergency entry in such situations can be complex, often requiring letters from employers, bookings and more.

In all cases, adequate evidence of a genuine emergency is key to securing approval for an emergency visa. While rules are occasionally bent for compassionate reasons, Vietnamese immigration officials will still verify and carefully assess all applications.

Top 5 Questions about Emergency Visas for Vietnam

  1. How quickly can an emergency Vietnamese visa be issued? In genuine emergency cases with supporting documents, approval can be given in just a few hours in some cases. However average processing times are 12-24 hours for Visa On Arrival and 1-3 days for eVisas.
  1. Can I get an emergency visa upon arrival at the airport? No – approval must be secured in advance, either via pre-approved VOA letter or issued eVisa. You cannot just turn up without approval and get an emergency visa on the spot.
  1. What reasons qualify for an emergency visa? Only urgent, unforeseeable situations like serious family emergencies, medical crises, disasters or pressing business commitments that cannot be postponed. A lack of planning does not count as an emergency.
  1. Do I need to provide proof of my emergency situation? Yes – you’ll need documents like medical certificates, death certificates, employer letters to prove why you need urgent emergency travel.Vietnamese immigration will verify your supporting documents.
  1. Can I extend my emergency visa if my emergency continues? Yes, emergency visa holders can apply for extensions of stay if the emergency circumstances persist past 30 days. Proper documentation must be provided to justify ongoing extensions required due to the emergency.

For anyone needing to urgently travel to Vietnam at short notice, an emergency entry visa can provide quick access to the country during personal or business emergencies. While not a shortcut for lack of planning, emergency visas are a vital option for genuine crisis situations.