August 12, 2020
Visa tips

A Complete Guide to Doing a Vietnam Visa Run

Foreigners and expats in Vietnam who needed to extend their stay in the country would often resort to visa runs. A Vietnam visa run is applicable to those who entered using a visa with a limited stay.

For instance, if you came to the country using the Vietnam e-visa, which is only good for 30 days, and you decided to further extend your stay, your best option is to go on a visa run. It may be possible to get your visa extended without leaving Vietnam, but this requires a very intensive process and is often costly.

What is the Vietnam visa run?

The Vietnam visa run will require you to take a short trip outside of the country when your visa is about to expire. Usually, this will require crossing land borders to neighboring countries of Cambodia, Laos, China, and Thailand. The cost of traveling to these countries by land is so cheap, which is why a visa run is a practical way of extending your stay in Vietnam. After crossing the land border, you can re-enter Vietnam using a new visa. If you will use the Vietnam e-visa to re-enter, then that means you will have 30 more days to stay in Vietnam.

What To Bring on your Vietnam Visa Run?

Doing a visa run is easy. But it’s important that you come prepared. You need to prepare the requirements ahead of time. Otherwise, you will be turned away at the border and this is truly devastating. So here are the requirements to bring for your Vietnam visa run.

  • Original passport – make sure your passport remains valid for 6 months from your re-entry date to Vietnam.
  • Visa approval letter – you need an original copy of the approval letter when doing a visa run through land border entry points.
  • Visa application form – this form is also called the entry and exit form.
  • Payment for stamping fee – they accept local currency or USD.
  • Passport-sized photos – you must have 2 passport-sized photos taken recently in white background.
  • Ticket – if you’re traveling by land, then you need to have a bus ticket.
  • Pen – you will be asked to fill out some forms at the border so bring your own pen to avoid delays.

How to Do a Visa Run for Vietnam?

You have two options to do a Vietnam visa run, taking a short flight, or traveling by land.

1. Taking a short flight

Taking a short flight to neighboring countries of Vietnam is cheap and convenient. Here’s how to do a Vietnam visa run through airports.

  • Request for a visa approval letter online. Print the letter and bring it with you on your trip, along with your photos and stamping fee payment.
  • Fly out of Vietnam going to your country of choice. You can book cheap flights to Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, etc. Make sure you have a visa for that country you intend on visiting. Stay for a few days and go back to Vietnam.
  • When flying back to Vietnam, present the approval letter at check-in so they will allow you to board your plane.
  • Upon arriving in Vietnam, present it at the Landing Visa Counter, pay the stamping fee, and wait for your passport to be stamped for entry.

2. Crossing land borders

If you want a cheaper and more adventurous way of doing a Vietnam visa run, consider taking a land trip going to a neighboring country. Here are the steps.

  • Request for a visa approval letter online. After receiving the letter, print this and bring it with you when crossing the border.
  • Book a ticket on a bus or van. It’s also possible to drive a rented car or motorbike when crossing land borders.
  • When you arrive at the Vietnam land border, give your passport to the Immigration officer so it will be stamped for exit.
  • Proceed to the border of the country that you plan on entering. Make sure you have the necessary visa and travel documents to be allowed entry.
  • Stay in the country for a few days and go back to the border so you can re-enter Vietnam.
  • When re-entering the Vietnam border, give a copy of the approval letter, your passport, photos, and pay for the stamping fee. Then you will get a visa sticker on your passport. This means you can now go back to Vietnam and stay longer, depending on your new visa.

Important Things to Keep In Mind

The visa approval letter is the most important requirement that you need to have when doing a visa run. You can request this letter online or through a local travel agency. Make sure you bring an original copy of the letter when re-entering Vietnam.

Now that there’s a Covid-19 outbreak, it’s not recommended to do a Vietnam visa run because the border rules of the neighboring countries in Vietnam are a bit complicated. Your best bet is to get your visa extended. In fact, the Vietnam government is automatically extending the validity of the visas for those foreigners who are stranded in Vietnam.

TAGS visa run

Going for a visa run at the Lao Bao Land Border crossing is the cheapest and easiest way to lengthen your stay in Vietnam. This is especially convenient for foreigners who are on a tourist visa and would like to extend the validity of their visa.

The Lao Bao Land Border is located in a small town called Huong Hoa, at the western portion of Quang Tri. This border is pretty crowded since it’s a popular passing route for foreigners on visa runs to Laos.

Located in the province of Quang Tri, the Lao Bao Land Border is one of the most significant borders between Lao and Vietnam. Aside from tourist crossings, the border is also used for commerce and trade.