This is a story about how I got Vietnam single entry tourist visa for 3 months in Savannakhet, Laos.
Typically, people heading to Vietnam get a special approval letter online and, having it, they can apply for Vietnam visa on arrival at some airports of Vietnam. The thing is much described so I will pass it.
Unfortunately, this scheme does not work when you arrive in Vietnam by road. If you are traveling in Laos, for instance, and have big plans for Vietnam, you need to apply for Vietnam visa in Vientiane or Savannakhet.
This is what I did.
Only facts about getting Vietnam visa in Savannakhet, Laos. But first I want to say thank you to guys from EggBananaTravels.com who described the process in 2015 and inspired me to repeat the thing.
The location of the Consulate of Vietnam in Savannakhet
Google.Maps show the correct location of the Vietnamese Consulate in Savannakhet. Here https://goo.gl/maps/4KkPdqP2oYA2
Visa department schedule
Monday - Friday.
7:30 - 11:00
13:30 - 16:30
Of course, check Lao and Vietnamese holidays in advance if time is crucial for your plans...
Visa application form
A whole sheet of questions, including 'your religion' and a list of relatives. However, nothing is complicated there, and it seemed to me that the questionnaire was just a formality. For example, in order to fill in the "address in Vietnam", I began to search the address of a hostel I had chosen to stay in Da Nang on my mobile, but a visa officer stopped me and offered me to mention only the name of the city.
The officer was not interested in my income and asked nothing about my bank account and a ticket away. We conversed in a friendly informal way.
What documents to bring
- 1 photo,
- the passport,
- 55 USD, of which 5 dollars - for obtaining a visa the next day.
They accept only US dollars.
Buying US dollars in Savannakhet
Lao banks do not sell foreign currency (only at the border when you are leaving Laos, however, if it is too early in the morning, the bank can be closed). Luckily, you can buy US dollars in private money exchange offices.
One of them is located near the Consulate of Vietnam: https://goo.gl/maps/nu4j7ffPgF62
This is diagonally across the intersection from Krungsri Bank - in the shop, there is a small sign in English, something like a Money Exchange. They didn't try to cheat or slip damaged banknotes to me. Later, I sold Thai bahts here - everything was fine again. The currency rate was fine. I am saying this because, in general, it is common to fool foreigners in Savannakhet. Be careful.
The process of applying
- The first day. Say hello to the officer and fill the application form. Show the passport, of course. Give him 1 photo and pay 55 USD. Get the receipt with the time you are supposed to come the next day (3-4 p.m. in my case). They don't ask to leave the passport on the first day.
- The next day, come and bring the receipt and your passport. The officer will stick the visa into your passport just in front of you. No flaming torches, no goat sacrifice... Just 10 seconds of work and the thing is done...
There was no queue, there was only me applying for a visa... So good!
From Savannakhet to Vietnam by bus
Buses go from Savannakhet to Vietnam, for example, to the city of Da Nang. I went by one of these buses, a night one, with an overnight stay at the border... But that's another story.
Good luck with visas!