Visa on Arrival in Vietnam

I arrived in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City Airport – SGN) in Feb 2020. I availed the Visa on Arrival facility with my Indian Passport. Below are the steps taken:

  1. Travel Agent in India got us a visa on arrival approval (apparently you can get this online)
  2. Upon arrival, I went to the dedicated visa counter (not the immigration queue). This had a LOOOONG queue … lots of nationalities need visas for Vietnam I guess … there appeared to be a number of Russians and Australians there in the queue.
  3. There is a Visa Form to fill (available at the airport)
  4. You require two passport sized photos. Now, I didn’t have photos on me. The officer simply asked for “five dollars” — which I assume was a “fine” or a “fee” for a lack of photo.
  5. Had to pay USD 25 fees (official).

Got the visa in about 10-15 mins, after submitting the passport. Had to wait in line for about 20 mins before I could submit the passport. So budget for 30-60 mins for the visa on arrival formalities, and don’t forget to take passport sized photos.

Thailand E-Visa on Arrival (Update)

We are currently in Phuket and got here on an “E-Visa on Arrival” using our Indian Passports. The process for getting this e-visa was as follows:

  1. No more than 30 days before travel, visit this link and fill in the application form: https://thailandevoa.vfsevisa.com/thailand/online/home/index
  2. Do online payment for regular service
  3. Visa is received via Email after 2-3 working days

I took printouts of this visa and arrived in Phuket.

At the Phuket Airport, I couldn’t go directly to the immigration counter. I had to first go to a separate E-Visa On Arrival counter (adjacent to the normal Visa on Arrival counter). I handed in the passports, arrival card and visa printout.

They took about 15 minutes to process the visa and stamp our passports. 2 or 3 flights had arrived at the same time (from India and China) – so the load on the E-Visa counter was high.

After getting the passport stamp, we had to go through immigration and follow the normal process.

Overall, it was a bit faster than getting a full visa on arrival, but still took some processing time upon arrival.

Dubai on a US Tourist Visa

Earlier this year (2019) I visited the UAE on my US Tourist (B1/B2) Visa. Pretty seamless process. At checkin I wasn’t asked any questions about visa. Indian emigration saw my US visa and waved me through.

On arrival in Dubai, these are the steps:

  • Just before entering the immigration queue, there is a counter for Visa on Arrival.
  • You have to go there and purchase the visa on arrival – it cost me about AED 120.
  • If you go straight to the immigration counter, without purchasing the visa on arrival, they will send you back to purchase it.

Simple. No questions asked. And about half the cost of applying for the visa before traveling.

Seychelles – Visa on Arrival with Indian Passport

Wife and I landed at Mahe Airport in The Seychelles last month. Had to fill out an immigration form and a health declaration. The immigration officer asked us for our return tickets. Then stamped a permit on the passport and let us through. No trouble at all and super easy. The permit was set to expire on our date of departure as per the ticket – no grace period of any sort there.

There is no excuse to not go to Seychelles. No visa and its only a 5 hour direct flight from Mumbai. The photos below should inspire you further!

 
Cat Cocos Jetty - Praslin Island, Seychelles

Granite Boulders - Anse Georgette, Seychelles

More Anse Georgette, Seychelles

Hong Kong & Macau

My wife and I recently visited both Hong Kong and Macau on our Indian passports. Our passports were brand new with new previous visas from any country. We were issued visas on arrival and allowed entry into both HK and Macau with no questions asked, no visa fees or any other complication. We got 14-day stay permissions. Both regions no longer stamp visitor passports, but instead give you a small paper slip with details of how long you can stay – try not to loose this slip.

Fiji – Hassle free Visa on Arrival

Fiji gives visa on arrival to a large number of countries. My wife and I recently visited Fiji using our Indian Passports, and had no trouble entering or exiting without a visa. We had to fill an immigration form and a health-declaration (ebola related). The immigration officers didn’t ask for anything else. They just stamped our passport with a 4 month stay permit and let us in. Didn’t cost any money either.

FYI – we used fresh passports – with no previous visas or even entry stamps from any other country.

India’s Visa on Arrival – torn down

For those of us hoping that other countries would reciprocate and give Indians visa on arrival – I hate do dash your hopes.

Quoting the Indian Express: “The Bureau of Immigration will set up a website for this and upon submission of an application, it will email an electronic visa/travel authorisation within 2-3 days, allowing the tourist to enter India and also facilitate easier verification at airports.” (http://bit.ly/1fyO2U2)

You may have noticed statements like the above buried at the bottom of all newspaper articles announcing “Visa on Arrival” in India for 180 countries. This above statement doesn’t suggest “visa on arrival” at all!!

For it to be actually “visa on arrival”, the tourist should just be able to turn up at an Indian airport and complete all visa formalities there. Looks like India will still be requiring tourists to get a visa before travel. 

Of course, if they implement what they promise, applying for a visa online and receiving it electronically is a far cry above having to wait in line for hours at various Indian Embassies around the world. So Kudos anyway!