What’s up guys!
Another great week here in paradise. I just mentioned in a comment that Vietnam changed their visa rules (again) and several people asked me to elaborate on that. So here’s my story.
How To Extend A Tourist Visa In Vietnam (Before The Change)
Just a quick crash course for those of you who aren’t familiar with it. One of the things I loved about Vietnam is the visa situation was much easier then Thailand. To extend my three month visa, I would just stop by any travel office and request an extension. I’d hand them my passport and a little money and they would handle everything. It’s back in my hands within a week.
Renewing My Tourist Visa In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
My tourist visa is set to expire soon, so I popped into my local travel agency so they can renew it for me. I already extended once before and I was told that I could extend again no problem. This wasn’t the case… The lady looked at my passport for a few moments and made a call. Then she handed it back to me and said no sorry cannot. You must go out. 🙁
Really? Why is that? She said that after Tet (Vietnamese New Year February 2016) the rules changed and there are no more extensions… I asked at two other travel agencies and they told me the same thing. OK. No big deal. Phnom Penh here I come!
The Constantly Changing Visa Situation In Vietnam
This exact same thing happened last year. In six months this blog post will be outdated but this fact will always remain… Things are always changing here. When I first came here you could extend several times for very cheap. I think I stayed 9 months my first time and it was around $15 to extend…
Then it became NO MORE EXTENSIONS FOR TOURIST VISAS! MUST LEAVE THE COUNTRY! Then it was OK I can extend for you because I know the boss police but it will cost you $250… No thanks. Welcome to Vietnam. 🙁
The lady said that if I did not already have an extension in my passport she could get me a one month extension for $120… But no more three month extensions.
I passed on that. $120 for a one month extension? Fuck that. A bus to Phnom Penh costs $12 and I can go get a fresh three month visa in one day for $60.
The Future Of Tourist Visa Extensions In Vietnam
Bottom line is, this is an inconvenience, but it’s not a big deal. I’m not worried about it at all. I predict that by the time summer rolls around they will be stamping three month extensions in passports like it’s no big deal. Just my prediction…
Another piece of exciting news is that the Vietnamese government is discussing granting Americans a one year multi entry tourist visa. Note, this is only a discussion thus far… But the fact it’s being talked about is a good sign. One year multi… Mmmmmm I like the sound of that!
Oh yeah, please note that I’m American so my visa situation may be different from yours. Just telling you my experience. As of right now, there are no more visa extensions for tourist visas in Vietnam. You must leave the country and come back in.
So What Next?
If this policy continues, I’m sorry to say that I must file Vietnam in the same category as Thailand. Meaning, you can’t live there long term unless you’re working, married or run a business. They currently do not offer a retirement visa and I can’t seem to find any information on the education visa besides, “there is one.”
If you want to live the nomadic lifestyle then cool, but doing visa runs every three months is a hassle and those costs add up. For now, I enjoy a little break from the madness here but if I decide to settle in and build a life then I would need a better, more long term solution. Maybe marriage? 😀 OK let’s not get crazy just yet.
That’s all for now. Soon I will be broadcasting from Phnom Penh… Or maybe Bangkok… Or possibly Cebu City… Have a great weekend guys! 😀