Visas for Vietnam and Cambodia

Have any travelers arranged for visas for Cambodia and Vietnam on their own, rather than using Visa Central?

Comments

  • We did our own visas for this trip (We did both twice as we had to cancel at the last minute on our first trip). The first time we went to the Vietnamese consulate in San Francisco, left our passport for five days and picked it up with the visa all attached. The second time we did a VOA (Visa on Arrival). For this one we had photos, the proper paperwork and US CASH (very important) all prepared beforehand. It took about 15 minutes upon arrival and was cheaper than going to the embassy. For Cambodia, we used a service the first time (very pricey and not particularly speedy) and the second time we did it ourselves. That was much more reasonable and not difficult. You do have to throw caution to the wind and send off your passport. We used Fed Ex and followed the instructions on the official Cambodian web site. We feel that the services are quite expensive and you still have to fill out all of the information, get your photos, etc. , so you might as well save some money and do it yourself. Check out the official visa web site for each country so that you understand the steps. And, the folks at Fed Ex do this all the time and are great with helping you figure out return envelopes, etc. . Also, VERY important...be sure you are using the official web site for that country. A number of services advertise in a way that might confuse the reader into thinking he or she is using the proper web site. I do not have that info at hand at the moment (at home and I'm not), but if you have difficulty, come back on the forum and I will check my records for you.
  • Visa for Cambodia can very be obtained on line...it is very easy to do. As for Vietnam I live in SF....I went there in person and it took 15 minutes...no big deal. As for Laos I mailed my passport to Washington DC via FedEx....got it back about 7 days later....again no big deal.
  • Thank you for your responses. The websites and Embassy staff for Vietnam and Cambodia are helpful, and the cost is much less to do it on one's own without using the visa service, which is expensive. So far, so good. Will report when I have visas in hand!
  • Filled out form on websites for Vietnam and Cambodia. Sent as directed to embassies and received visas promptly.
  • SSK,
    So glad to hear it worked out for you! Now, the big dilemma is...Where are you going to spend that "found" money that you saved by doing the visas yourself??!!!
  • edited December 2015
    We are Canadians. We obtained "looseleaf" Visas for Vietnam from their embassy by filling in the on-line forms and sending scans of passports and recent photos. We don't need visas for Thailand. For Cambodia, we will get visas on arrival at the airport. By all accounts that is quick and simple but we will see. We are travelling between now and the SE Asia trip (Jan 15, 2016) and don't want to mail our passports away to the Cambodian Embassy. We wanted to be CERTAIN to have our passports in hand for our next trip.
    Joe & Marie
  • Hi Joe and Marie,
    If I understand you correctly, you are on this tour and plan to get your Cambodian visas upon your group's arrival in Siem Reap. When we did this tour, I do not recall anyone who had to get a visa upon arrival. Perhaps I just missed it, but it seemed as though we moved through the airport and to our waiting coach quickly. I believe everyone had the proper visa upon arrival. I would be concerned about keeping the group waiting while you get your visas. Incidentally, I would NEVER count on anything being speedy on any part of this tour...maybe yes, maybe no. If fact, personally, if I were in your group, I would be a bit miffed about waiting for you to get the proper paperwork squared away. Again, if I understand correctly, you now need your passports and cannot send them off for the time needed to get the proper visa. I would strongly advise you to call Tauck and explain your lack of a visa for Cambodia. Perhaps they can assure you that this is no problem, alert your TD about your lack of visa or help you problem solve this issue.
  • Hi Joe & Marie,

    It’s easy to get an eVisa for Cambodia @ https://www.evisa.gov.kh/. This is the official address that I got from the US State Dept. website – there are scam sites out there. First, when I had new passport photos taken of us, I paid a little extra to have them put on my flash drive. Then all that’s needed is to complete the online application form, upload your photo, and pay with your credit card. After receiving your Visa through email, print out two copies of each and bring them along when you travel to Cambodia. It also says that you can cut them out & staple them in your passport. I didn’t get an email from them but when I checked my reference # @ http://evisa.gov.kh/CheckChange.aspx a few days later, it directed me to download it. This way you don’t have to give up your passport before your trip and you'll be ready to zip through passport control. See you on the 15th. I'm so excited...
  • edited June 2016
    Joe, I think Joyce may be correct. Tauck normally make it clear that they will not be responsible for customers not having the correct documents to enter a country and rectifying it at their own expense. I am not sure what the situation for Cambodia is for visas on arrival or for Canadian citizens but I would also call Tauck to find out what they say, you have barely a month to sort it out. I certainly understand your concerns because I also travel out of the country fairly frequently, my husband more so than I, we plan very carefully around this especially when we know we require a visa for a country. I understand that foreign travel can sometimes happen in an emergency, I have had that happen twice recently. By reading your Tauck itinerary I see that you arrive in Cambodia in the middle of the tour and indeed, if it is like any other multi-country tour, you certainly will be getting straight onto a bus, no one wants to spend time in an airport in the middle of an expensive tour after they get off a flight. The Tauck director may even decide to leave you to get the correct visa at the airport and leave you to find transport to the hotel yourselves for the good of the greater group. The director may have another site-seeing tour planned on leaving the airport. As an experienced Tauck travelled, I also advise you to call Tauck without delay.
  • Thank you all for your advice. It looked like getting the visas at the airport on arrival would be simple and quick (according to all the travel forums I read) but I have taken your advice and I just went through the evisa process. I should have our visas in 3 business days (about when we leave for France).
    Thanks again everyone. I'm glad I used this forum and appreciate your input.

    Joe
  • Received eVisas a day after we applied for them. Definitely the way to go! Thanks again.
  • We are on the February 18 trip to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. We are trying to apply for a Cambodian visa online, but are having trouble uploading our pictures. We have a Mac. Do any of you have any suggestions for us. We would prefer not to apply via Visa Central and would prefer not to send our passports to the Cambodian Embassy. Any helpful information?
  • Hi Susan,
    I just finished doing the E Tourist Visa online for an India trip next week. While I do not know the specifics for the Cambodian visa online (didn't have that option when we went), the requirements for the India one were very precise (And, it had to be about a 4 page application to boot). You might want to see if there is a size requirement to the photo submission. The one for India was JPEG, 10KB to 1 MB. The following website will allow you to easily change the size of your photo if it is not in compliance: http://www.picresize.com . It was very easy to do it. Also, if you have to submit your passport page and need to reduce the size, there is a website to do that.
    I ran into problems when I was trying to go back into my application (I had failed to clear my debit card for a payment to a bank in India...a country that makes the card companies go on high alert...I have since learned)! I was using a "one" instead of a lower case "L" and an "O" instead of a zero ! If you continue to run into problems, the very best thing you can do is to post a question in the Tripadvisor forum! I have had questions about doing visas myself and each time a respondent has pointed me in the right direction. In fact, for Kenya neither the Tauck expert nor their visa company could answer my question. I got an overnight correct answer on Tripadvisor! I love the Tauck forum, but the majority of people use the visa service.
    Joyce
  • Thanks, Joyce. I did get a helpful reply on Trip Advisor and will try what the person said. Susan
  • After reading about everyone who did their own VISAS, I admit…I sent mine to VISACENTRAL and they were extremely prompt, responsive and helpful when I called and had to change the delivery address (just this week due to the wintry Texas weather). We needed our passports for a December Europe trip and worried that I couldn't get all the Visas in time. It was not inexpensive as noted but they were speedy, so if anyone decides to take this trip with less than a month to obtain your VISAS…I'm getting mine back tomorrow in just over 2 weeks. We are on the February 15th departure!
  • Obtaining visa from embassy by your own is quite easy. You just need submit the origin passport, 01 photograph, application form and pay some fee. The visa will be issued within a few days. However, the embassy always charges double compared to the agent. As I know, the embassy of Vietnam in Cambodia is the easiest and cheapest one. You should apply there. In case you are traveling to Vietnam by air, visa on arrival is better choice. You just need apply online through an agent and get visa approval from them. After that, use the letter to get visa on arrival.
  • We live in Houston with no embassy nearby. Accordingly, on Saturday, July 29th, I mailed our passports, cashiers check, return envelope, visa application to the Vietnam Embassy in DC by USPS Flat Rate Envelope for Monday August 1 delivery. Sometime prior to 8:30 AM on Thursday, August 4, our passports and visas were at our front door. Other than the embassy fee and photo costs, it cost us $51 for postage and a cashiers check, quite a difference compared to what Visa Central would have charged and I don't see how things could have gone any smoother or faster.

    I tried getting the Cambodia visa online but couldn't because they said I had applied to early. I'll try that again in a week or so but don't anticipate any problems.
  • edited August 2016
    We live in Houston with no embassy nearby. Accordingly, on Saturday, July 29th, I mailed our passports, cashiers check, return envelope, visa application to the Vietnam Embassy in DC by USPS Flat Rate Envelope for Monday August 1 delivery. Sometime prior to 8:30 AM on Thursday, August 4, our passports and visas were at our front door. Other than the embassy fee and photo costs, it cost us $51 for postage and a cashiers check ($80 for each visa), quite a difference compared to what Visa Central would have charged and I don't see how things could have gone any smoother or faster.

    I tried getting the Cambodia visa online but couldn't because they said I had applied to early. I'll try that again in a week or so but don't anticipate any problems.
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