You are probably not familiar with the term “Vietnam visa run” if you are just a regular tourist to Vietnam, getting into our country and staying there for just a few days or 30 days, and then leaving for your home.

But in case you wish to stay in Vietnam for longer than your visa duration and it’s difficult or costly to do a visa extension in Vietnam, a visa run is a perfect choice. Thousands of expats in Vietnam have used this way to extend their stay in Vietnam at least once to avoid overstaying their visa.

And now, it comes to a detailed guide on what it is, where to do the visa run for Vietnam, and how to properly do a Vietnam visa run.

What is Vietnam visa run?

A visa run for Vietnam is a trip that you need to take to remain in Vietnam as your Vietnam visa is soon to expire, and you cannot extend it, or its extension is costly. So, you have to leave Vietnam, get to a neighboring country (Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, or China), and then turn back around and re-enter Vietnam with a new visa.

Pros and Cons of Visa Border Run


  • Cheap price: Extending your visa by border run is cheaper than the other ways.
  • Variety options: The visa getting under the visa run has no relation to the old one, and you can apply to get a one-month single entry, one-month multiple entry, three months single entry, or three-month multiple entry visa, depending on your demand.


  • Check out and check in Vietnam: You cannot stay in Vietnam to do the visa run, you need to exit at the border and re-enter this border to get the new visa. This process takes time and effort.

Where to do a visa run from Vietnam?

There are two ways to do your visa run in Vietnam, namely:

  1. Do the visa run via Vietnam international airports; and
  2. Do the visa run via land borders.

Here is the list of 24 checkpoints that you are allowed to do a visa run from Vietnam:

Airports Land borders
Noi Bai International Airport – Hanoi Bo Y Landport (to Laos)
Tan Son Nhat International Airport – HCMC Cha Lo Landport (to Laos)
Da Nang International Airport – Da Nang Cau Treo Landport (to Laos)
Cat Bi International Airport – Hai Phong Huu Nghi Landport (to China)
Cam Ranh International Airport – Khanh Hoa Ha Tien Landport (to Cambodia)
Phu Quoc International Airport – Phu Quoc Lao Bao Landport (to Laos)
Lien Khuong International Airport – Da Lat Lao Cai Landport (to China)
Can Tho International Airport – Can Tho La Lay Landport (to Laos)
  Moc Bai Landport (to Cambodia)
  Mong Cai Landport (to China)
  Nam Can Landport (to Laos)
  Na Meo Landport (to Laos)
  Song Tien Landport (to Cambodia)
  Tinh Bien Landport (to Cambodia)
  Tay Trang Landport (to Laos)
  Xa Mat Landport (to Cambodia)

Visa Run Tips:

  • Cheapest visa runs from Hanoi: Those in Hanoi often choose to do a visa run via Noi Bai Airport to Singapore, Thailand, or Cambodia.
  • Cheapest visa runs from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city): Those in Saigon and southern provinces of Vietnam often choose to do Moc Bai visa run which is considered the cheapest, fastest, and most convenient way to do a visa run from HCMC.

What to bring on a Vietnamese visa run?

To successfully the visa run from Vietnam, you need to prepare the following:

  1. Original passport (valid for at least 06 months following your re-entry date);
  2. A valid entry paper for Vietnam. It can be:
    • Your Vietnam 5-year visa;
    • Your e-visa for Vietnam;
    • Your visa approval letter if you get visa stamped at the checkpoint (original if you do the visa run via land border, or print if doing it via international airports of Vietnam). This is now available for a business visa only;
  3. Stamping fee; 02 passport-sized photos & Vietnamese application form in case you get the visa on arrival in this visa run;
  4. Air ticket/bus ticket;
  5. A black or blue pen to complete the form.

Important notes:

  • In case you do the visa run with visa exemption, items 2 and 3 are NOT required.
  • If you do the visa border run, you must show the original visa approval letter with the red stamp and signature, a copy, scan, or photo is not accepted.
  • There is also regulation concerning the photos if required. Don’t forget your photos as you may be subject to a penalty of $2 or have to take it at the airport at around US $2/one. You can get photos everywhere in Vietnam and it won’t usually cost you more than 50 – 100k VND.
  • The visa stamping fee at Vietnam airport (if required) is US $25 for a single entry visa, US $50 for a multiple entry visa valid for up to 3 months.
  • The Vietnamese visa application form (if required) can be taken on your flight in case you do the visa run via the airport, in the front desk of the visa counter at the border gates.

How to do a visa run for Vietnam?

There are two ways to do your visa run that are doing via the airports and doing via the land borders. Now, we will go one by one.

1. Vietnam visa run via international airports

And here are the steps that you need to follow:

  1. Get your e-visa or visa approval letter (if required) via email, print it out, and prepare 02 photos and stamping fee (if required);
  2. Reach the Vietnam airport for a flight leaving Vietnam;
  3. Complete the customs procedure such country, and then stay there for some days or come back immediately for a flight back to Vietnam;

If you are good at hunting cheap flight tickets, or your budget permits, this option seems to be the best for a visa run as it will save you a lot of energy for travel. The best countries that you can consider for an airport visa run from Vietnam are Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

2. Visa run to land borders

This way of doing a visa run from Vietnam is preferred by various expats in Vietnam as it’s cheap. And to do so, you need to follow the following steps:

  1. Get the e-visa or visa approval letter (if required);
  2. Book a van or a bus or simply drive on your own to the border. If you want to drive on your own and have no motorbike or car, just rent one in a store near your residence as it is very easy.
  3. Show your passport once you are at the Vietnamese border, and get the Vietnam exit stamp. After that, you’re officially not able to stay in Vietnam anymore.
  4. At the border, you pass one more passport control, and then you will head to Laos/Cambodia immigration office.
  5. Once you reach Laos/Cambodia immigration office, you need to show your original passport and Cambodia visa (if required) or get the visa on arrival (if available) and fill out the required forms. You will get the entry stamp of such a country on your passport.
  6. After that, you can get into the country for a few days’ trip or go back to the immigration counter to do the exit procedure to get the exit stamp. You’re done and successfully outside Laos/Cambodia and ready for a new Vietnamese visa!
  7. Once you reach the Vietnam border, the immigration will recheck your passport and Vietnam entry paper. After that, you will get the entry sticker.
  8. Congratulations. Your visa run is completed.

Is visa approval letter for airport visa run the same as that for land border run?

No. Although they are both issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department via a local travel agency as permission to allow its holders to get visa stamped at the Vietnam border, they are different in the following aspects:

  • Your port of entry for airport visa run is stated on the ending part of the letter, while that for the land border run is on its body;
  • Your port of entry for airport visa run is not fixed, and you can switch among the above 8 international airports to get the visa stamped, but that in the letter for a land border visa run is fixed and cannot be changed;
  • The letter you show to get visa stamped at Vietnam airport is a print while it must be original for the land border run. As such, you can get the letter for an airport visa while you are in Vietnam or in a foreign country, but you are required to get the letter for border visa run when you are in Vietnam, before leaving the country.

How much is the visa run in Vietnam?

To do a visa run, you need to pay the following items:

  1. E-visa/Visa approval letter;
  2. Bus ticket/Air tickets
  3. Visa stamping fee (if getting visa on arrival)
  4. Visa fee to Cambodia, Laos, etc. (if required).

* Important tip: You also should prepare some cash (around US $10) for immigration officer if you do the visa run at the land border.

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