How to stay longer with a 5 year visa exemption

I have a 5 year visa exemption sticker on my passport which says I am allowed to stay in vietnam for up to 180 days. I was wondering if I were to leave the country for maybe 1-2 days and say go to Thailand or Hong Kong and get a stamp saying a left the country , would this reset my 180 days and I could theoretically stay another 180 days in Vietnam?


I heard for tourist visa's you need to do something called a visa run and get a new tourist visa but I am wondering in my case, does simply exiting the country and then returning shortly reset the 180 days or would I need to get an extension or something?

Have you read the sticky thread https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=369913  It is a bit long but I am sure that if you wade through it you will find the answer to your question.

Yes, the 180-day stay definitely resets every time you return from another country.

Ciambella :

Yes, the 180-day stay definitely resets every time you return from another country.

Thanks a lot for your help! Guess I'm gonna be staying there for a bit longer then haha

I'll have a look

thunder_god :

Thanks a lot for your help! Guess I'm gonna be staying there for a bit longer then haha

You're not really "staying longer".   No matter what you do, you're allowed to stay for a maximum of 180 days each time until the expiration date on your VEC. 

For example, 5 years from now (Jan 18, 2023) when your VEC expires, you don't get another 180 days (or even one day) beyond that date just because you return from a trip to Thailand on Jan 15, 2023.  Unless the law changes between now and then, you must leave the country when your VEC expires.  You can apply for a new VEC from your home country (as per the current law) but you have to leave first.

Why do I feel that the government is trying to force those who are eligible into the newer 3 yr TRC?  Remember that the rules changes from 90 days easily renewable within the country to 6 months with exit required occurred close to the time the 3 yr TRC came out.

thunder_god :

... would this reset my 180 days and I could theoretically stay another 180 days in Vietnam?

When you enter and exit, immigration puts small stamps in your passport. Leaving in 179 days for the purpose of keeping your VEC legal is a 'visa run'. Leaving for another reason is 'traveling'.

If you qualify for TRC (job, marriage, etc) that's better than VEC, and I think obsoletes it because TRC sez:

"The card holder is permitted to stay in Viet Nam within the card validity and exempted from a Vietnamese visa"

If the TRC exempts me, I don't see a reason to renew the VEC. Is that right, long-timers?

In my case, I got the VEC in country. I subsequently got a 5 year TRC in 2016.

gobot :
thunder_god :

... would this reset my 180 days and I could theoretically stay another 180 days in Vietnam?

When you enter and exit, immigration puts small stamps in your passport. Leaving in 179 days for the purpose of keeping your VEC legal is a 'visa run'. Leaving for another reason is 'traveling'.

If you qualify for TRC (job, marriage, etc) that's better than VEC, and I think obsoletes it because TRC sez:

"The card holder is permitted to stay in Viet Nam within the card validity and exempted from a Vietnamese visa"

If the TRC exempts me, I don't see a reason to renew the VEC. Is that right, long-timers?

In my case, I got the VEC in country. I subsequently got a 5 year TRC in 2016.

I don't think I qualify for the TRC. I suppose I could always try and get back my citizenship since I was born in vietnam but I don't think I want to be subjected to the same obligations as the local citizens here just so I could live a few extra months or years here. So I'm guessing there ain't any rules that specify how long you can stay in the country per a calendar year unlike in the EU which stays x number of days per x number of days in the year. If this is the case, then I case I'm gonna be making a visa run lol.

Now I have another question, could it cause me any trouble if I only booked a one way ticket to vietnam instead of roundtrip? Since I will be doing a visa run, I'm not sure how long I will be staying in vietnam, I would prefer not to pay for the return ticket and then later have to pay an extra fee to change the date of my return flight if possible.

thunder_god :

...

Now I have another question, could it cause me any trouble if I only booked a one way ticket to vietnam instead of roundtrip? Since I will be doing a visa run, I'm not sure how long I will be staying in vietnam, I would prefer not to pay for the return ticket and then later have to pay an extra fee to change the date of my return flight if possible.

The airline might deny you boarding. I have read of a couple ways to get around this issue

1. Purchase a bus ticket on-line to the nearest neighboring country (e.g. Cambodia, Lao) as proof of onward travel, or
2. Purchase a fully refundable one-way ticket out of Vietnam, then cancel the ticket as soon as you arrive

I don't know whether the Vietnamese immigration will take issue with your one-way ticket or not.

Hopefully other expats will chime in with their experience.

My experience is that the airline and not the government is the possible obstacle.  However, they should let you know if they will not allow a one way at the point of sale, not at the boarding gate.  Their reticence is based on international treaties that may require them to fly you out of the country if you become indigent.  If your passport shows repeated entries and exits, you may be able to show that to them to justify a one way ticket.

thx. useful news

Since the VEC is for 5 years, you may not need RT ticket.  AA and JAL confirmed this when I checked with them before buying our tickets.  When we checked in at the airport, the agent looked at the expiration on the VEC twice, and that's that.

However, don't take my word for it, check with more than one airline staff and get the answer for yourself.

Immigration didn't ask to see my ticket so they didn't  even know whether it's OW or RT.  The man did ask how long I *actually* planned to stay.  My reply, "Not sure.  If my husband likes the country, then we'll stay for 5 years or even longer."  He didn't react to my response, just told me to get a new stamp at least 5 days before the end of every stay.  I asked him,   "Should I go to Cambodia?"  He immediately stopped stamping my passport, looked up at me strangely:  "Why? It costs a lot more money that way.  Do you want to go to Cambodia every 6 months for 5 years?" 

With the way we travel, we haven't needed to make a visa run yet, and we don't expect to do that at all.

It's the same like a visa run. You go outside say Cambodia for 1 or 2 days, after returning you have a new 180 day remittance to stay. I have a 5 yr exemption, too.
The other way is going to the immigration office and get a stamp there, but they charge you.

Lutz26 :

The other way is going to the immigration office and get a stamp there, but they charge you.

When the VEC went from a 90 day to 180 day stamping period, many people wrote on this forum that one now could no longer renew within the country but had to do a visa run.  Lately a few people, in addition to Lutz26, have asserted that you can still get a renewal at the immigration office.  I have no idea which is correct.   Is there anyone out there with first hand experience who can definitively say that they have renewed their 180 day stamp without leaving the country?

THIGV :
Lutz26 :

The other way is going to the immigration office and get a stamp there, but they charge you.

When the VEC went from a 90 day to 180 day stamping period, many people wrote on this forum that one now could no longer renew within the country but had to do a visa run.  Lately a few people, in addition to Lutz26, have asserted that you can still get a renewal at the immigration office.  I have no idea which is correct.   Is there anyone out there with first hand experience who can definitively say that they have renewed their 180 day stamp without leaving the country?

Down here in the Delta, Hau Giang Immigration was still giving the 90 day's without leaving Country, as they had been doing for the past ten years for us. That was up till about 14 month ago. I received a PRC then and there has been no requirement for me to do an extension on my VEC of course. They said back then that the 180 day renewal was available if you left VN and returned, there was no change to they 90 day in-country extension. I thought I posted this  information last year when the same questions kept coming up on the 90 or 180 days.
Rick

THIGV :

Is there anyone out there with first hand experience who can definitively say that they have renewed their 180 day stamp without leaving the country?

Not first hand experience, but according to the Immigration officer who gave me the address to renew, it's simple, less expensive, less time, and less taxing on the body than running to Cambodia.

Can anyone give me contact to extend 180 days (on a 5 year visa) without leaving Vietnam and how much it cost?

This is exactly what I plan to do this month. I have to go back to EU for a week, then return to VN and hoping that the new stamp will give me another 180 days.
As from a friends experience, he had his 180 days finished going back to the US for 12 days  then returning for another 180 days.
In the country I am not sure they give you 180 days at the immigration. As far as I’ve heard, they just give you 90 days.
And don’t forget to show up at your local police station to sign up for your residential address.

MummyJane :

Can anyone give me contact to extend 180 days (on a 5 year visa) without leaving Vietnam and how much it cost?

It all comes down to where you live. Each provence seems to have its own rules, best to ask at your local immigratiin office to get the correct answer.

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