Procedure for a Vietnamese visa has become more and more straightforward. Tourists now have 2 options:
Apply for Vietnam visa at Vietnamese Embassy in country of resident or apply “visa on arrival”. The phrase “Vietnam visa on arrival” sounds so simple, however, it is actually strange and confusing process for tourists, especially those comes from countries of privilege, leading to the misunderstanding for many travelers to Vietnam.
Visa on arrival is only possible when you arrive Vietnam by plane. But it is not simply buy a ticket, take the flight, and get a visa at customs window in the airport. Instead, you must obtain “official letter of approval” before your departure. This paperwork is not a full visa but it is the legitimate document to prove that you are allowed to immigrate into Vietnam. Then, when you land, you will need to present the letter at the VOA counter in order to get the visa stamped on your passport. Be aware that “stamping fee” will be charged at this counter. Once issued, this visa is exactly the same as a visa issued by any Vietnamese embassy. This service is better to be called a “pre-arranged visa” instead of “visa on arrival”. The letter of approval can be facilitated through several Vietnamese travel agents (getvisavietnam.com, vietnamvisa.org.vn, vietnamvisa.pro, etc). Certainly, you will have to pay some dollars when using service of a travel agent like this. It is recommended that you should choose the agent that processes payment via Paypal since you can avoid the risk of being stolen credit card numbers from unreliable foreign websites.
Good luck for your Vietnam visa and your trip.