A valid passport and a visa are required of all foreigners visiting Vietnam. With very few exceptions, there is no such thing as a “visa on arrival.” Visas are issued by Vietnamese embassies and consulates. Some overseas offices of Vietnam tourism are able to issue tourist visas. Entry to Vietnam may be refused if your passport has less than six months validity.
You should apply for tourist visas at least for the duration of your project in Vietnam. It will be difficult for short term volunteers to extend your visas when you have arrived, do not presume it will be cheaper to extend your visa when you are in Vietnam as this will not be the case! Do not complete your visa application until your travel plans are certain. You are required to state your intended ports of arrival and departure (for example, arriving in Hanoi and departing from Ho Chi Minh City). Changing either of these upon or after your arrival could result in a mountain of red tape and extra expense. Submit your application along with two standard passport photos, your passport and the required fee.
Usually you don’t need invitation letter from us, apply for tourist visa ONLY.
Don’t start to explain that you come here to be a volunteer, to help the poor children, etc. Except if you want to spend three days of explanation at the embassy and not receive your visa for “national security reasons”. Apply for your visa at least three weeks before your trip to be completely sure to get it in time! Make at least three photocopies of your passport and visa and put them in different places. Give one photocopy to your workcamp leader. Keep the other photocopies for yourself, they can be very useful if you lose your papers. If you lose your passport or have over-stayed you will need to apply for a new visa from the Immigration authorities in order to leave the country. This can only be done during working hours and usually takes three to five working days. For further information, check with your nearest Vietnamese Embassy.