What visa do I need, should I apply for one?

The visa situation for Vietnam is quite complex and the answer depends sometimes, on who you ask and ultimately on the person in the consulate office when you ask. Luckily, we’ve learned a lot through the years and consider ourselves well versed on this issue.

There are many types of visas in Vietnam.  The most common are:

  • Tourist visa:  this allows a person to visit the country for 1-12 months with single or multiple entries


  • 5-year visaThis can be issued to a US citizen of Vietnamese origin or descent and their spouses and children. This visa is good for 5 years with multiple entries for the purpose of visiting the country or family


  • Business visaThis allows a person to work or conduct various businesses in Vietnam during the length of the validity period of the visa, usually involving financial transactions


  • Other Purpose Visa: This allows a person to perform volunteer work which doesn’t fit exactly in the above categories: (Viet Rieng–VR)  “private” work visa.

As volunteers in a medical mission, EVERYONE will need to have a work visa because charitable work in Vietnam is considered work and not tourist activity.

For the medical mission, this is a summary of our visa processes:

  • When you register for the medical mission, please upload a QUALITY COLOR COPY of your valid passport.

  • Once you’ve been accepted, VnHOPE will send all volunteers’ passport copies to Titan Travel Agency.  Titan Travel will apply for our group’s Work Visa:

    • Non Vietnamese volunteers– 1-month single entry WORK VISA dated usually 1 week prior to the start of each mission and ending in one month period

    • Vietnamese descendant volunteers (surname, first, middle or birthplace is Vietnamese on the passports)–3 month single entry WORK VISA  dated June 15th through September 15th each year

The difference in the validity period  is solely per the visa application process and determined by the Vietnamese Government.

  • Once we receive the work visas, we will be e-mailing a scanned copy of your completed visa to you.  Please check to make sure all your information on the visa including your name, birth date, gender and passport number are correct.

  • Directly alert Titan Travel via email at or phone at (714) 531-1883 immediately of any mistake to obtain revisions prior to our departure.

  • A few weeks prior to the summer medical mission, the WORK VISA will be mailed to you via US Postal Service. Be sure to enter your accurate mailing address on your application form.   If you live in Southern California and can attend the last pre-mission meeting, you can also pick it up personally.

  • Of note: if your travel dates fall outside of the visa validity dates or if you plan to have multiple entries into Vietnam, your visa should reflect this.  You will need to apply for the appropriate visa directly with Titan Travel.

    Ms. Cathy Phuong Ngo

    10495 Bolsa Ave #107

    Westminster, CA 92683



  •  I have a 5-years visa; do I need to apply for a work visa?

    •  YES

  • I have a tourist visa; do I need to apply for a work visa?

    •  YES

  • I plan to arrive before the mission and stay in Vietnam for some time after the mission, do I have to apply for a separate tourist visa? 

    • YES, please contact Titan Travel directly to arrange for a separate tourist or multiple entry visa and pay the separate cost directly to Titan Travel if your travel exceeds the visa validity dates per above.

  • I will travel with my family and they are not part of the medical mission, do they need to get a work visa?

    • NO, you are the only one who will need to.

  • What if I don’t have a work visa, only a tourist or a 5-years visa when I arrive to the medical mission?

    • You might not be allowed to work and render patient care, you can still participate in other activities such as going on field trips or listening to presentations.

  • I am of Vietnamese descent or I have a Vietnamese spouse. I qualify for a 5 yrs visa. Should I apply for it?

    • You can look into applying for a 5 yrs visa on your own.  You would still need a work visa to work in the clinics during our medical mission.

Compiled by our fearless leaders–Dr Ho and Dr Truong

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