I just landed in Vietnam on my 4th e-visa. I visit for a few weeks every few months and so far I've had no issue entering Vietnam until this last time. I suspect it's because I applied for a 30-day e-visa right before the launch of the new 90-day e-visa.
I could not print out my e-visa for Vietnam. Totally weird and this had never happened before. The problem was that I clicked on the "click here to print" icon and it reloaded the portal instead of directing me to a PDF of my visa.
The problem? Without that printout in hand, the airline is going to give you a hard time on boarding the plane. They could outright deny you altogether.
What I had to do was convince the airline to let me board the plane and sign a liability release form just in case I was denied entry.
Then at the airport in Saigon, head to the immigration desk (not the counters that process you into the country) and tell them I could not print out the visa. I had to show them my phone, log into the portal using the confirmation code and show them that I had been granted a visa.
They printed out the visa for me, and I entered Vietnam like normal. A bit stressful because I did not know if I would even board the plan or not.
How it's supposed to work
As an American, you're supposed to apply online for an e-visa and submit payment via a credit card. Once accepted you'll get a follow-up email a few business days later that will tell you to log into the e-visa website to check the status of your visa.
It will say "visa granted" click here to print it out. You print out that visa and show it at both the airport and at immigration.
How it actually works
There is always some slight problem I've encounted trying to obtain a visa via the online system they have set up. So here are some potential visa technical problems entring Vietnam.
Potential visa problems entering Vietnam
"e-visa payment failed error"
Don't stress out, start over again and submit the payment. It typically takes me 2-3 tries to fill out the application and attempt to submit payment. Yes, that means you must fill out the application multiple times and submit payment multiple times with your credit card.
If the payment fails, your card is not charged, so don't worry about being unfairly charged multiple times.
Can't print out your e-visa
If for some reason you can't print out your e-visa but you're logging in using the confirmation code and it says "visa granted" then you do have a visa.
Make sure you get to the airport early because they won't like you not having a visa paper to show. Show them proof that your visa was granted and that you'll sign a liability waiver if you're denied entry for whatever reason.
This may take an added hour as the staff at the airport will most likely have to talk to their manager on how to move forward. Regardless, hold your grown and show them that your visa was granted.
Go to the immigration desk at the airport
At immigration, you'll need to go to the main office and tell them you can't print out your visa. They will look up your information and then print out the e-visa for you. Then process in like normal.
Don't do what I did and line up to process in without that piece of paper because the officer won't process you in without that visa paper.
Overall, I really like the e-visa system when it works. Fast, easy and done.
I do wish Vietnam allowed visa on arrival for Americans, or at a minimum follow a process similar to Indonesia that allows you to pay for a visa on arrival at the airport.
But no big deal. It's good to be back in Vietnam! I love this country.