Teaching and Touring Vietnam

by Julian

I am interested in moving to Vietnam to teach English. I am British born, and of course fluent in English.

I am wondering what is the longest visa available? I would be very interested in touring the country for up to 6 months prior to taking the required TEFL course. Is this a possibility?



Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com

Yes, this is possible. For some people I would say it's easy and yet for other people there is little more than a 20% chance. More on that later.

You're first issue will be visa related. Here is a list of every visa and the going price in Canadian dollars.

(Prices are highly subjective and vary depending on length of stay, where you obtain the Vietnam Visa and whether it is a tourist (Single-Entry) or Business Visa (Multiple Entry).)

For Example: As of November. 1/2011, The 1 Month Single Entry Visa Might be $90.00USD at a Vietnam Embassy in Europe or the US and Canada but you can buy that same visa at a travel agent in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for $33USD.

1 Month Single Entry $90.00 CAD
3 Months Single Entry $130.00 CAD
6 Months Single Entry $190.00 CAD
1 Month Multiple Entry $140.00 CAD
3 Months Multiple Entry $190.00 CAD
6 Months Multiple Entry $240.00 CAD

You cannot fly into Vietnam without a visa. If you plan on going through Thailand or Cambodia before the trip to Vietnam then I recommend you get a 1 month visa from any travel agent in Bangkok or Phnom Penh for best prices.

A one month visa to Vietnam bought in Cambodia goes for $35USD. Once you get to Vietnam it is possible to purchase a visa for 6 months without any hassle, documents or forms to fill out. Just one passport photo and currently $165USD (6 Month multiple entry visa).

Done. Go on your happy trails. Make sure to get the multiple entry visa if you plan a trip over to Laos and back to Vietnam.

If you are flying directly into the airport in Vietnam then you'll need to get a visa from a Consular office or Embassy.

Here is a list of every Vietnam Embassy in the Entire World.

You'll have to send them:

Your original Passport valid for 6 months longer than the length of the visa you want. (Check your Passport!)

One completed application form for entry-exit visa to Vietnam (you can download it on our Vietnam Visa page).

One photo (4 x 6 cm or passport-sized; color or black & white) no older than 6 months.

Include the fee for visa in the same envelope. You can pay by Money Order or Certified cheque only, made payable to "THE EMBASSY OF VIETNAM".

Send it to the Vietnam Embassy in your home country.

The processing requires five (05) business days if the Embassy receives the correct documents and correct information and payment.

Be careful and FEDEX it priority. Don't forget to write down your waybill number so you can track it and make sure they don't lose it.

It is a different story if you want to apply for a 6 month visa or even a 3 month.

If you obtain your visa in an overseas Vietnamese embassy then it's possible to apply for up to 6 months. The 6 month visa is a pain in the butt to get though.

You will have to submit all of the documents above as well as your entire itinerary, what work you will be doing. If you tell them you will be looking for work, you'll be in a deep hole. They will ask you to supply them with a company sponsorship.

Avoid the 6 month visa. Tell them that you are visiting for 2 weeks, get the 1 month visa without a problem and extend it to 6 months without any hassle once in Vietnam.

Getting work and the TEFL course

I have one worry about you. You mention that you are British-Born. In my experience that means you are not a typical Englishman with blue eyes and light hair. I am embarrassed to even tell you this.

If you are not the typical European-looking person and are of an ethnicity of dark skin then you will have a very hard time finding work in Vietnam.

They will take your money and put you through the TEFL course. They may even guarantee you a job of some sort at the completion of the course.

But you will have a very hard time getting work of any significant hours. At least in Vietnam it is Possible for you because in Thailand it would be impossible for a black man or person of Arabian ethnicity to get work.

That is the way it is in Asia. I have seen guys of various cultural backgrounds denied over and over again. Some of those blokes had thick English accents and were perhaps as English as they get. And well educated as well.

At the end of the day they hire a guy with an alcohol problem and an odor problem because he has light hair and hazel eyes. Even the Viet Kieu are treated pretty poorly.

I'm sorry to tell you this because I think you should go anyway. The 6 month tour would be as good as ever and you stand a good chance of getting work if you talk to the right people in the school where you will take your TEFL classes.

You will have to do 'demo classes' with real students as part of your "In-Class" training. Talk to the other teachers and get yourself informed. I have seen a few people overcome all odds in Vietnam.

The Head Teacher at Cleverlearn (Good School) in Saigon is a gay black man from the US. But he did work very hard to get where he is and deserves his post.

Good luck to everyone out there.


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