on-line visa application - legitimate?

I'm new to this post, so please forgive me if this is an idiotic question.  My husband and I are travelling to Hanoi early next year with the goal of eventually finding work and converting to a business visa.  However, initially we want to enter on a tourist visa.  We will be travelling from Melbourne, Australia. I will travel on a British passport and he will use his US passport.  There is no Vietnamese consulate or embassy in Melbourne, so I am considering mailing my passport to the consulate in Sydney.  However, I'm worried because this passport has my Aussie work visa in it.  Please can anyone tell me if the on-line Vietnamese visa application sites are legitimate.  I found a couple (moderated: no ads)
Are these bogus or for real?  They claim that they will issue you a document that will enable you to get your passport stamped on entry.  Sounds suspiscious.  Does anyone have experience of this or any comments that would assist me in deciding whether to risk mailing my passport or arriving in Hanoi with a piece of paper as visa application?  Thanks.

Hi,

I just wanted to let u know that the Vietnam visa on arrival worked out fine for my companion and I when we arrived in Saigon by air a couple weeks ago .After seeking the same type of information about Vietnam visas a friend told me about an online site that he and his girlfriend used in December 2009. I used this online service in July 2010 for pre-approval of a multiple entry visa. It would have cost me more money in lost work time, a night's hotel and train tickets than to pay the $25 for this online service. Note that it is much cheaper if you simply want a single entry visa.

My approval letter came back within two days, I took it and two passport sized photos, paid $50 cash USD and received my multiple entry visa. (I needed multiple entry so that I could leave for Cambodia and return again into Vietnam).

Hi there I used the same group for my visa and got my confirmation letter 2 days later, no probs whatsoever. perfect transaction and would use them again.

They ARE legit.

Thanks, Phil and Ryan.  This is great news.  It will certainly simplify the visa process to use the online service and I appreciate the feedback.

Getting a VN visa from Embassy in Sydney cost me $120 and passport was returned to me within 24 hours.
Visa on arrival arranged through [Moderated: No free advert] worked out fine. You apply online, make online payment through their payment system, once receipt of payment is confirmed (about 4-5 hours) they will action application. Often there are many travelers arriving on the same day, so the visa authorisation letter they send you will normally have your name along with numerous others. Don't worry, this is normal. You pay about $45 for this service. When you get to Hanoi or HCMC airport, there is special office before immigration. Show letter, provide passport type photo, fill in another form, pay $50 visa fee and you get 3 months visa. Once in country I recommend using a proper visa agent rather than a travel agency. The agents seem to know the ins & outs of any recent changes and are generally cheaper than the travel agencies. Most charge $85-90 USD for 3 mth business visa which includes the standard $50 visa charge. I have been through this process 5 times in past 2 years without any problems at all.

PS: By using a proper visa agent for your 3 mth visa, you can get atleast one 3 mth renewal when your first visa runs out, without have to leave the country. Officially you can only renew once, giving you total of 6 mths, but agents I have spoken to recently say there seems to be no problem getting 2nd or even third renewal. Saves having to do visa runs to Cambodia every 3 months!

PPS: Just rang a couple of travel agents in HCMC. They are currently charging from $110 to $180 to arrange a 3 mth visa. Since the standard official visa charge is $50 USD, these prices seem exhorbitant! $50 visa fee plus $45 agents fee (only $90 total) is the current fee charged by proper visa agent.

Im on my 3rd 3mth visa, never a problem. Wether they like it or not they NEED westerners spending $$$, so just keep applying every 2mths and 20 days for another extension..

Thanks Phil and greengecko.  I now have a clear understanding of how to obtain the visa and renew it.  Two times three-month visas should get us through unless we fall in love with Hanoi which is entirely possible!  Thanks again for the great advice.

my friend has a british passport and he also had no issues with it :)

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