Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Blond advises: a visa to Vietnam





Because I've got only 3 months left, I have decided to take another step towards The Trip and apply for the Vietnamese visa (for myself and my sis). The procedure seems to be quite straight forward, but being born and brought up in a post-communist country, there is always a feel of unease when I think of paper work, clerks and other forms of bureaucracy.  
I wouldn't be The Blond if I didn't do something, which in the end delayed the whole process.






So, I went to the embassy's website where, very easily, you can find all the information.
To apply for the visa you need:

-your passport
-application form, which can be found on the website
-one passport photograph
-visa fee (no cash; cheques, postal orders or bankers drafts only)
-an envelope with a return address and special delivery stamps

Simple enough, right? Well, not for me!
I sat down on a Sunday morning with a cuppa (that's  English for 'a cup of tea') and started filling in the form. Everything went smoothly. I didn't make one mistake!
When it came to the fee, I looked at the website briefly and being convinced that it is £6 per passport, I wrote the cheque.
I was really proud of myself. I've done it all by myself and it wasn't that bad!
You can only imagine my disappointment when after 2 days I received a phone call from the embassy. A very polite but firm gentleman informed me that, I quote: '£12 is very well, but we need further £82'. All I could say was: 'What?? Why??' It turned out that the fee is actually £47 per passport (is there more expensive visa in this World, by the way?).
Why did I think that the fee was £6?
Because I scanned the text on the website and didn't actually read it.


The embassy's advice clearly states:

Visa fees vary according to the type of visas and length of stay and are regularly adjusted. Please contact the Embassy by email at consular@vietnamembassy.org.uk  for relevant fee information.

Postal charges (including handling fees) by Royal Mail Special Delivery should be
two or three passports (if only posted back in one package): GBP 6 per passport

Including postage charges I lost an additional £20.

Here is my advice: READ EVERYTHING on the embassy's website, even the small print!



Further information:
Apparently the fee for the visa to Vietnam changes all the time. As it says on the website: the best thing is to contact the embassy before you apply.
You can apply by post, email or fax (there is an extra fee for this), or in person - although the embassy officials say that it's better not to as the queues can be long.
Always send everything by special delivery as you it is more secure. It is more expensive, but worth it.

More information on:
http://www.vietnamembassy.org.uk/#VISA

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