Clearing Immigration in Hanoi, Vietnam – paperless & quickBack to Forum
I arrived in to Hanoi, Vietnam this afternoon and what a breeze for us Brits. No visa on arrival, but more interestingly, no landing card, i.e. no need to hand write onto a piece of paper the details contained on our passports and boarding cards.
Forgetting EU / Schengen travel, there are very few countries (that I visit) where there are no landing cards required. Well don’t Vietnam for negating the need to complete useless pieces of paper on arrival. it took all of 10 minutes to get through… well done Hanoi…
Returning to Bangkok tomorrow, I will have to complete a landing and departure form… every piece of information (except the hotel where I am staying) is contained in my passport the authorities will scan on arrival and departure…5 May 2017
I arrived at Dakar last night. Also no landing cards required. Just fingerprints and eye images taken, and passport is stamped free of charge. The only question I was asked was where I was staying.6 May 2017
Martyn – I find 8 times out of 10 it’s good, especially as Stevescoots says if you are flying Skyteam / VN Airlines and the express lane is open.
Last time I came through I was on Qatar and only 3 lane were open for foreign visitors and it took maybe 45 minutes or so to get through
The new international terminal has made a big difference in a positive way.
A few years ago you used to have to fill in a customs card which they stamped when you arrived, and then re-stamped again when you left – I never understood why as you kept hold of the card when you left the country.6 May 2017
The only slight inconvenience was on arrival into BKK. I keep a stock of the brown fast track immigration vouchers.
For the first time in 12 years I was sent out of Fast Track as I had presented a QF stamped Fast Track pass and the immigration officer firmly pointed out my arrival card states Vietnam Airlines who do not issue the Fast Track passes…7 May 2017
Martyn. The exact same thing happened to me for the first time last week in BKK also – sounds like the border agents have received a new memo on the topic…..don’t quite understand the huge sensitivity though, as presumably the airport charges the airlines for the fast track passes, and more fast track usage = more money.
On a related note, if you want to stock up on the fast track passes (albeit there may be less “alternative” use for them now than before…) there is a way to do so when departing (as opposed to arriving) BKK. When you enter the departure fast track area, you are required to show your brown fast track pass to come in, but you get to keep the pass. You then go through the security scans. When you approach the passport control agents, you “forget” to give them the fast track pass along with your passport and boarding pass. Since they know that you have had to show the fast track pass to enter the area (ie you are already “pre-cleared”) they usually forget to ask for the fast track pass. That way you get to keep it for next time. In my experience this works 4 out of 5 times. Hope this is helpful for those who use BKK a lot on various airlines and a mix of travelling classes.7 May 2017
I was there for the first time last week and, what a surprise!, visa on arrival was well organized, clean and quite fast. I always had to go to hcmc and therefore was expecting the same horrible long, confused, unpleasant experience.
Than son nhat airport has to learn a lot from the capital one.7 May 2017
@ASEANTraveller – thanks for the tip re trying to keep the fast track pass when leaving BKK. I did try it for the sheer heck of it. I did get through and retained the pass, only to be called back with the Immigration officer going through my papers eagerly looking for the pass. I did note though that I would not have been able to use it again, because for the first time, CX had completed the pass with my name, flight number and date.
I did ask my hotel’s airport rep, who looks after me at the airport and he did confirm that there has been a clamp down on the passes as there is a big market printing and selling them!! Vietnam Airlines flights to not issue or have access to fast track passes and that’s why I was turned away. I could have put CX on my arrival card, when flying on VN, but honestly, get caught & I guess the airport authorities could take me to that dark and damp downstairs, windowless room, never to be seen again :)))8 May 2017
Martyn, I hope you stayed at the Sheraton in Hanoi when you were there? The Amnesty for UK Passport holders coming into Vietnam, is supposed to be for this year only, and will revert again in 2018!
Even when I needed a visa, the pre booking service is excellent albeit a little slow, the whole process within the airport is first class and the shared lounge when leaving the airport offers good food and drinks ..10 May 2017
The visa exemption for British (and some other) nationals was first introduced on July 1 2015 for a one year period. When that period expired it was extended from July 1 2016 until June 30 2017. No announcement has yet been made as to whether it will still apply after June this year.10 May 2017
K1ngston – on this occasion I stayed at the Hilton Opera which was nearer to my meetings. I was looked after very well by the Hotel and my worry about access to the exec floor (I am only Gold) was resolved by the AM who had granted access prior to arrival.
I was denied access to the lounge at HAN. Was in Y on VN and was told Priority Pass was not valid in HAN only Ho Chi…
All in all though, I really enjoyed HAN – it seems to get more Westernised each trip I make but I hope it doesn’t change completely, otherwise its just like going to any city centre, with the same restaurants and shops…10 May 2017
Thats odd Martyn, I have used my PP at Hanoi, however its not worth it, better to sit outside the lounge and eat/work. I Also stay at the opera.
I ended up applying for a 6 month business multi Visa as I have been going there every 3 weeks or so and the current waiver scheme is you cannot re-enter for 30 days. Thats caused some confusion both at airport check in and on arrival in the past when explianing why I have a Visa but UK residents do not need one. I did my business visa on arrival rather than through the embassy in london. I used an official agency and it was about 120 USD. It too about 40 minutes including filling the forms, woudl have been shorter too if i had paid an extra 20 USD for the agency to meet me and do it all.11 May 2017
There’s no Priority Pass lounge listed in Hanoi in their lounge directory. I remember looking for one there in June 2016 and there wasn’t one then. I don’t know if there might have been one sometime in the past before the new terminal building opened. The only airport in Vietnam that Priority Pass have lounge access is in Ho Chi Minh.11 May 2017
@steve, to be honest, we only had an hour and you are absolutely right about sitting outside. Very quiet and very pleasant.
2 additional points about this trip..
1. If I need car transportation from an airport to city I always go outside and get a local taxi. On this occasion, my colleague went to change some money first and he was sort of coerced into buying a car service which he paid for on a return journey basis. I have to say, it was well worth the extra 5 or 6 dollars over a taxi, that it cost. We got an executive style car going top the city and on the return a van with an interior like a private jet. Best of all though was the free wifi, which allowed email gathering and also sufficient bandwidth to make a couple of WhatsApp phone calls. All in all, very very worthwhile for minimal extra cost.
2. The lounge access mentioned above (Hilton grant Gold’s lounge access at the hotels discretion) was resolved by a superb AM, who emailed me before arrival. Not sure what level status you are Steve, but I am happy to let you have the AM’s name (who was superb) – can send this through our mutual TC.. I incidentally said to him that there was no need to upgrade my room, I was only after the lounge access. He kindly upgraded both our rooms…11 May 2017
Hi Martyn – Glad you got good service. I spend quite a bit of time at the HO and I have nothing but praise for all the staff – be it the room service team who always make sure I have plenty of water, the restaurant staff though to the management. A number of the staff have been there quite a while and have seen them grow from humble beginnings into more senior roles.
There are better hotels in Hanoi, t’s a little tired, but to me it’s “home” when I’m in Hanoi11 May 2017