Visa for Vietnam - Embassy vs. pick up at airport

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I am going to Vietnam and need a visa. I have 2 options: 1. go to the Vietnam embassy in SFO to get the visa added to my passport or mail passport to the embassy (or use an expensive visa sevice.) 2. order the visa online and pay the fee, then go to a specific desk in the Vietnam airport upon arrival and pick up the visa. Has anyone done option #2? I am concerned about the line at the airport and how much time it will take. I am joining a tour and understand they will wait only about 1 hour to transport me to my first hotel. I have used this method in Turkey and it is the only method to get a visa in Cambodia. Would like to find out if other have been successful with airport visa pick-up in Vietnam and how much time it takes. Thanks.

I always prefer to get my visas in advance when possible. That eliminates one possible source of confusion or mishap, especially when you arrive in a country where you don't speak the language, and after a long and tiring trip, and without knowing how much time it would take to pick up your visa when you arrive.

But then I live in Washington DC, so I can do it myself without having to rely on the mail or use a visa service. If it's convenient for you to visit the consulate in San Francisco, that's what I'd recommend.

I used option 2 last year (I was already traveling when I decided to go to Vietnam). I don't remember that it took a particularly long time, but I didn't arrive on a big international flight. I would still expect that you shouldn't need an hour, but you have to add the time to clear immigration and collect any checked baggage.

I am inclined to agree with Stan that it's better to do this ahead of time. I suppose you could factor the cost of getting the visa in the US vs the cost of a taxi into town. (Should be around $15 in Hanoi, I believe, but agree the price before leaving.)

Not sure where you got the idea you can't get a Cambodia visa ahead of time.

I got my visa from the Embassy.The line at the visa pickup/purchase at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City was very long. Having my visa on hand certainly made exiting faster.

Visas on arrival (VOA) for Vietnam are very easy to process and pick up. As far as I could tell, it is some $15 - 18 per person applied to tourist Visa, 3 working days processing. Instead of taking much time arriving in Embassy with complecated steps, we can sit tight at home then do it online. It would be much more convenient.