Can I exit Vietnam airport during long layovers? This is a question that we receive from consumers much too frequently; nevertheless, there are many people working in the travel industry who do not have an accurate solution that is satisfactory to this query. The quickest and easiest response to this question is “No,” which is also the correct response. Nevertheless, nobody would talk about it any more. As someone who works in the travel industry, I was particularly interested in finding a quick and definitive solution to this question, so I attempted connecting with airlines but they suggested me to contact embassy. When I contacted the Embassy, they wanted me to connect with Vietnam embassy. There was no satisfactory answer that could be confirmed by Vietnam embassy too.To get the answer “can i exit Vietnam airport during long layover” i decided to Book my flight from Bali, DPS to Mumbai with a 19 hours layover in Hanoi.
Can I exit Vietnam airport during layover ?
In this ticket, i am having an exact layover of 18 hours and 55 minutes in Hanoi. The sectors from Bali to Hanoi and Hanoi to Mumbai are under the same PNR (Which is always the right way to book connecting flights). This meant that my checkin baggage from Bali will be with airlines and i will get the bags directly in Mumbai. When at the counter i asked Vietjet airlines staff, if i can leave airport during my layover in Hanoi ? She immediately said “No”. I again replied that i am also having Vietnam e-visa, she got irritated and said “Sir you will be submitting your baggage with Airlines, this is the reason you wont be allowed to go out”. As a travel professional i was not convinced and realised even the industry basics of Vietjet counter staff was not clear.
I said”Ok mam, got it” and went ahead for my flight journey :).
Following a five-hour flight, I realized that Vinay and Anishini, another couple, were attempting to solve the same problem. They obtained a visa after being misled by their agent, who claimed that they would require visa even for a passage of this length of time via Vietnam. They also asked the same question during checkin process and they were also answered with “No”. The couple then decided to be at Hanoi airport only for 19 hours. But after having a discussion with me, they decided to give it a try to get out of the Hanoi airport during layover.
This time instead of discussing with airlines staff, we decided to directly visit immigration counter with our Visa’s and passports. It was a long Queue and during those 30 minutes we were hoping to get the results in favour of us. I decided to lead and went to the immigration counter before the couple. To my surprise there was no questions asked. Office just saw my Visa and stamped my passport. Similarly that couple came out and we successfully exited Hanoi airport during our layover, keeping our bags with the airlines. I have my travel team organising trips of clients in Vietnam, i just gave the a call to pick us up from Airport and make all necessary last minute arrangements like hotel booking and food.
After, spending the night at Hanoi city airport and enjoying the Hanoi city tour of 5 hours, i was dropped back to Hanoi Airport by my team. I entered the airport, went strait to Immigration counter and took my flight to Mumbai without any hassle. I am answering few important frequently asked questions for the users below, to have more clarity on the issue.
Frequently asked Questions on Exiting Airport in Vietnam during a Long layover –
Yes, I applied for Vietnam tourism visa to come out of the airport during my long layover in Vietnam.Visa process takes 3-5 working days.
Yes, my checkin Luggage with Airlines, when i exited Hanoi airport during my Layover. Still they allowed me to go outside and leave Hanoi airport.
No, there was no need to reach to the airlines counter. I just went directly to the immigration.
Yes, if you have Vietnam visa, the cities does not matter . You can exit from Ho chi Minh also during your long layover in Vietnam.
If you are having a layover of less than 24 hours, then you dont need visa to transit via Vietnam airport. You only need visa if you want to go out of the airport.
No, there is no transit hotel inside Hanoi terminal. All hotel are built outside. You would need visa to exit airport and reach these hotels.
No, if you entered once and then exited the country, then you again need to apply Vietnam visa to enter.