Visas for Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia

We, members of European Union and Schengen area, are often surprised and annoyed by the visa procedures. For us it's more or less normal to go to another country just like that. We take our ID card and off we go. But it's not the case all over the world! Because of my work for IAESTE I'm quite well informed how annoying and time consuming it is to apply for visa. Those poor students, who were accepted for an internship in Slovenia have to prepare millions of documents, translate them all, verify them all ... And sometimes the have to travel travel to another country just to get to the embassy! Yes, we are lucky to live in Europe!
Here you can see, where Slovenians can travel without visa. I guess we should go to Americas :)
Taken from Wikipedia. 

But even we can't go everywhere without visa. Asia is one such place. But luckily there is an option of visa on arrival, which means that you only show up at the airport immigration office and you get visa there. No previous visits to the embassies.

Ok, so let's start at the beginning. First country that we visited was Vietnam. And we needed a visa. I read many forums about this topic and found this solution: if a person is entering Vietnam at one of the international airports in  Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang or Hanoi, you can get visa on arrival. If you are entering overland or at any other airport, you need to have a visa in advance. 
So, we had flight tickets to Ho Chi Minh ... problem solved then. But before the arrival you have to apply for a sort of invitation letter or letter of approval issued by the Ministry of immigration. Reliable website for this is Here you enter your personal data: name and passport number. At the end you pay a small fee and in a couple of days, you receive this letter of approval by email. Simple!

Attention! We don't recommend this for people, who are concerned about personal data protection!

This approval letter contains personal information (name, family name, number of your passport) of up to 9 people, who applied for the same type of Vietnamese visa at approximately the same time!

Ok, to continue ... we arrived at the airport with approval letter in our hands. We found the office for VISA ON ARRIVAL and patiently waited in the queue. I just wanted to check the documents one more time: we have passports in our hands, approval letter in a folder in my backpack, but where are the photos?! Rok put them in our checked baggage! And of course without the visa we are not allowed to walk any further in the airport and we can't get to our baggage! Now what? We politely asked the officer, if we can get the visa also without the photos. His answer: "You pay 5$ fee and I will take a photo of you" Okay, so we handed out our documents, payed 70$ (instead 65$) per person and waited there to be called in for photography. After 15 minutes, we heard our names and they gave us our passports with visas in them! No photo shooting! :D I guess the officers bought themselves lunch that day with our additional fee for photos :)

Vietnamese visa on arrival office
Our next destination was Thailand. And we didn't need a visa for this country! Slovenian citizens can stay in Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa! But you have to have a proof, that you are returning home or leaving the country. So we just showed our return tickets (although we were flying home from Vietnam). And that was it. No big deal! I guess Thailand is used to tourists :)

It was really hot at Thai-Cambodian border
There are many discussions on different forums about Cambodian visa. Why? It's not hard to get visa on arrival, the problem is that you usually have to bribe the officers at overland borders to get visa in a reasonable time. Otherwise you can wait up to 5 hours there. If you fly into Cambodia, you can avoid all those troubles - that's what we've heard.

Since we traveled overland from Thailand to Cambodia we could have get visa on arrival. But just a month before our trip the prices for Cambodian visas increased from 20$ to 30$. So we decided to apply for e-visa when it was still 20$. Although we had to pay processing fee of 7$, it was faster, cheaper and hassle free. E-visa can be obtained from the website of Cambodian ministry for foreign affairs After you fill out the application and pay the fee, you will receive the visa in about a week.



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