Experience · Ho Chi Minh City · Travel

Do I need a Visa to enter Vietnam?

As Indonesian citizen, I don’t need Visa to enter Vietnam, so I did’t really know about what to do to apply for visa on arrival until recently. My friend wanted to visit me from Singapore, but she is a Dutch nationality. Two days before arrival, she asked me if she needs visa to enter or not. I told her that she might not need a visa, maybe just Visa on Arrival, but that day I wasn’t sure so I checked on google just in case.

Dutch nationality needs a visa to enter Vietnam! And it was a day before departure that we knew about it. I found the information on this visa site. Indonesia and some other countries in ASEAN are listed for visa exemption. This is the full list of Vietnam Visa Exemption :

1. Citizens of Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Laos for visits of 30 days at the maximum.

2. Citizens of Philippines for visits of 21 days at the maximum.

3. Citizens of Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia and Finland for visits of 15 days at the maximum.

4. Citizens of Brunei for visits of 14 days at the maximum.

5. Citizens of France holding valid diplomatic or official passports for visits of 90 days at the maximum or several visits of 6 months at the maximum.

6. Citizens of Chile holding valid diplomatic or official passports for visits of 90 days at the maximum.

7. APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) Holders from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies for visits of 60 days at the maximum.

8. For those who travel to Phu Quoc Island – Vietnam : Foreigners and Vietnamese nationals bearing foreign passports who enter Vietnam through an international border gate and then travel to Phu Quoc Island and stay in Phu Quoc less than 15 days will also be granted Vietnam visa exemption. Passports must be valid for at least 45 days. After arriving in Phu Quoc Island, if visitors want to travel to other localities or stay in the island for more than 15 days, the immigration department will be responsible for issuing visas right on the spot.

If your country is not on the list then you need to apply for a visa. It is easy to apply it via online. There are 2 types of fee that you need to pay for Vietnam Visa, which are approval letter fee (paid online) and stamping fee (paid at Vietnam Airport). You can check for the fee here. It is better to do it at least 3 days before your departure so you have time to prepare. The closer you are to departure date, the more expensive is the fee. For example for my friend case. She had to choose “Super Urgent” processing time (4 hours), which cost her US$37 for 1 Month Single Entry.

You don’t need to prepare any document to apply for online approval letter. Just fill out the Visa application form on the website by clicking “Apply Now” and pay the fee online. And they will send you confirmation to your email. Airport Fast-Track is not necessary to choose, unless you travel with a lot of people and don’t mind paying US$25 for it. Also for Car pick up, it is not necessary. There are a lot of taxis in front of the Exit. Please use only Vinasun and Mailinh Taxi for your safety (although it is not 100% guaranteed but they are safest than other taxi).

Before leaving your country, make sure you bring US dollar and a photo size 4×6 cm. On Vietnam airport, you will need to go to Visa counter and pay for stamping fee US$25 per person for Single Entry Visa, or US$50 for Multiple Entry Visa.

After you get your Visa, you can take your baggage and exit to Arrival Hall.

Congratulation and Welcome to Vietnam!

Hope this helps.


Ho Chi Minh City · Indonesia · Travel

How to Apply Visa for Japan in Saigon

For Indonesian citizen like me, I need a visa to go to Japan. There are some people who have e-passport who are allowed to go to Japan without a visa if the trip is within the time limit. Unfortunately, my passport is a normal one. In Ho Chi Minh City there is only consulate general of Japan, not the embassy. I visited their website and couldn’t understand a thing! Their website is in Vietnamese and Japanese only. Luckily we have the translate function from Google Chrome, so I tried using it to find my way there.

There is a list of travel agents that are registered in consulate general of Japan that we can use. I contacted one of them asking what should I prepare and how much is the cost. They replied my email :

Hi Melissa,

I am Huynh Di – from Visa Deparment.

For your case, Indonesian nationals who do not possess e-passports need to obtain a visa.

And you need to prepare fully documents to prove:

  1. Personal
  2. Employment
  3. Finance

The fee: 100USD

Time: at least 5 working day

You yourself need to be at the Japan Consulate at the day we submit for visa.

I didn’t use their service in the end. The first reason was because their fee is too expensive. 100USD! I read on another website the fee is 25USD only. The second reason was because I didn’t get enough information on what kind of documents needed. They only said personal, employment, finance. I could have guessed that! I assumed they didn’t give complete detail until I have the deal with them.

I have been to Japan before, via Indonesia. That time I was working and didn’t have experience in applying for a visa by myself. I did used a travel agent that time. I figured the Indonesian website should have some information for me so I checked them out. Plus, I looked at their vietnam website one more time and combined the requirement.

These are the documents I prepared :

1. Photo 4.5 cm x 4.5 cm white background 1 piece

2. Visa application from the website

3. Passport + old passport

4. Resident card + copy

5. National ID card + copy

6. Flight ticket

7. Hotel booking

8. Schedule of stay on the website

9. Marriage certificate + copy

10. 3 months of Bank statement

11. Salary slip of my husband

12. Employment contract of my husband from the company that stated his salary


On the day for applying visa

Time to apply for visa at Consulate General of Japan is only between 8.30am to 11.30am. Try to be there before 8.30am! I arrived at 8.40am and there were 30 people standing in line, waiting to come in. The officer then gave me a paper stating what number I was in the line and which time slot for me. I still got the 8.30am luckily. Before went in, I had to show my passport and resident card to the police there since I’m not Vietnamese. By 9 am, I finally proceeded to next room which is a security screening. I had to put my bag in for security check, and I had to walk pass the metal detector. The officer then asked me what do I want to do there and where do I come from. Friendly officer.


The next room is the waiting room. I saw people touching on a machine to get number, so I did the same. I picked Visa and got my number and the number they were serving at that moment. My number was 1041, and they were serving number 1012. Oh well.. a long wait..

There were 3 counters to serve visa application. I counted the service time for each counter was 2 minutes in average. I got my turn less than an hour later. I went to the counter mentioned and handling in all my documents including the original one. The officer checked on my documents then returned the original. She also asked me a few questions. To my surprise, she returned the flight ticket! She gave me a paper to put in my contact number for them to call me if the passport is ready to be picked up. I asked her where should I pay for the visa. She told me no need to make payment at that moment. After one week they will call me, if I got the visa I need to pay by then. Lovely!

On the day for collecting passport

I got a phone call from consulate general of Japan in the morning, said my passport is ready to be picked up.

The time to pick up passport is between 1.15pm to 4pm. I went there at 1.15pm and there was a short queue. I had to report to the police outside again, but this time I didn’t have my passport so I only showed him my resident card. He seemed confused and asked his friend to checked on me.. After they confirmed my intention to collect passport, they let me in. Went through the security check point as before, and in waiting room need to choose ‘Visa’ then wait for the number to be called.

When my number was called, I went to the counter and gave her the receipt for collecting my passport. She checked for a bit then she asked me to pay for the visa fee 610k vnd. After that, she told me to wait a moment on the seat. It took a while until she started calling names and people whose name called came to counter and collected their passport.

So happy I got the visa for Japan! I will go to Fukuoka, Beppu and Nagasaki. Wait for the story 😉


Hope this post helps you in applying visa to go to Japan from Saigon. Especially for those who can’t understand Vietnamese and Japanese like me.


Experience · Ho Chi Minh City · Travel · Vietnam

How to Apply Tourist Visa in Ho Chi Minh City

We went to Taipei last month and as Indonesian we need a visa to get there. We didn’t want to use the visa service from tour, so I had to go to Taiwanese Consulate by myself. We tried to look for requirement needed to apply for visa on internet, but it was not really helpful. So I just went there with whatever documents we could find and it was not complete. We were lacking some documents. The good thing was the visa officer lady was really helpful and kind! I was really happy to get her help.

These are the complete requirements (these are for Indonesian, for other countries please check with them again) :

– passport original and copy
– residence card original and copy
– photo 2 x 2 inch 2 pcs
– visa application form (you can learn how to download and fill in here )
– hotel booking
– flight details
– bank statement
– marriage certificate original and copy
– work permit original and copy
– leave application from company
– confirmation letter from company original (stating you are the employee of that company)

Their service hours for Consular service:Monday~Friday 08:00~11:30 (Receiving time), 13:30~16:00 (Dispatching and Receiving time).

On the entrance inside, there will be a guy who will ask you for what business you have there. For Visa, you need to queue on the left-hand counter. If the capacity for that day is full, they will give a new date and time to come again. They will give stamp on the document, mentioning the date and time we need to go back.

If we come at the destined date and time, guarantee to get ticket with number. Go to inner area and look for the counter, and sit while waiting until our number showed on screen.

They were really good and helpful. If you’re missing some documents, they will inform you and give you time to submit it. When that happened, you don’t have to queue anymore, but can go right away to the counter and hand in the missing documents to the person when the counter is empty. Remember which person served you on first day.

There are 2 types of visa processing. The normal one, which is taking 5 working days to finish, and the express service one, which is only 2 days. I picked express service to make sure we already received our passport back before our trip to Indonesia which is 1 week after I submitted the document. The normal service cost is USD $50, and the express one is USD $75.

After you mentioned which type of visa you want, they will give you a small paper then you will need to go to another counter to pay for the visa. After finished, you keep the small paper (now stamped with paid) and bring it to get you passport back on the date stated on paper.

It’s actually very simple, if only I’ve known it from the first visit. I ended up visited that place 4 times! Maybe 1 more and I can be good friend with the officer lol.

You can visit their website for Saigon here.

Taipei Office Contact Information :

336 Nguyen Tri Phuong St., District 10, HO CHI MINH City, Vietnam

Hope this helps! Ciao 😉