Visa & insurance guidance...

So, you have confirmed your battered, old passport is in a usable condition. That’s good. What’s next on your ‘To do’ list? Certainly finalising a visa to enter the country where you’ll complete your TESOL/TEFL programme at AVSE and organising insurance warrant your early attention and at some point, you’ll need to consider a work visa in Vietnam or Cambodia but we’ll come to that later.

Regardless of where you complete the TESOL/TEFL programme with AVSE – Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Phnom Penh – the visa process for eligible people who plan to work in Vietnam or Cambodia after the course typically involves two steps:

Step One. Obtain a visa to enter your country of choice (Vietnam or Cambodia) in the first instance.

          Let’s have a look at Step One as it applies to Vietnam:

If you decide to complete the TESOL/TEFL programme in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, obtaining the right visa to enter Vietnam in the first instance is paramount. As it happens, AVSE-TESOL (Vietnam) has partnered with – the Vietnam visa on arrival experts – to cut through the red tape, simplifying the entire process for our TESOL/TEFL trainees in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The partnership between AVSE-TESOL and means our TESOL/TEFL trainees can now apply for a visa to enter Vietnam from the comfort of their own living room by simply clicking the link in the banner under this paragraph. Note, our Vietnam visa partners suggest that a 3-month Tourist Visa is all you need to enter the country and have adequate coverage while you’re completing the TESOL/TEFL course at AVSE and the immediate period thereafter.

          Now, let’s have a look at Step One as it applies to Cambodia:

Obtaining the right visa to enter Cambodia in the first place is a tad more complicated than Vietnam. The T Class (Tourist) visa to enter Cambodia and remain for a period of 30 days, enough for the TESOL/TEFL course only, can be finalised in advance with a simple online application. It is also possible for most nationalities to obtain a T Class visa at a port of entry, Phnom Penh International Airport for example. Rather than just fronting up with your passport at Phnom Penh Airport, it’s wise to confirm beforehand that your country has the tick on approval from the Cambodian Government for the visa on arrival option. It’s important to note that The T Class visa only provides for a 30-day stay and single entry, but it can be renewed once for a further stay of 30 days. If this type of visa for Cambodia will meet your needs, you can apply here.

If you plan to teach in Cambodia after the TESOL/TEFL course, it’s highly likely you’ll be better placed with what’s called an ‘Ordinary Visa’ (E Class). Why? It can be extended more than once and it’s easier to convert to a Work Visa in Cambodia. The Ordinary Visa (E Class) is not available online. It can only be obtained at a port of entry, which may be problematic for people who hold a passport that hasn’t been given the tick of approval by the Cambodian Government. If you’re unsure, seek advice from AVSE staff before you travel.

Step Two. Transitioning to a Work Visa in Vietnam or Cambodia (it’s actually called a Work Permit in both countries) when you’ve secured a teaching job, post TESOL/TEFL course.

          Work Visa in Vietnam:

What’s typically called a Work Visa in Vietnam requires sponsorship from an employer, a school in our line of work. In a technical sense, to be eligible for a Work Visa in Vietnam you need a two-year (minimum) university or college qualification, a clean criminal record (background check), internationally recognised TESOL/TEFL Certification and clean bill of health. Having said this, like everything in Vietnam there are exceptions. For instance, people who can show 5 years of relevant work experience may also be eligible for a Work Visa.

Importantly, not having a Work Visa in Vietnam doesn’t automatically mean you cannot work. It may mean the school that employs you will need to make a plan with the local authority, such is the demand for TESOL, TEFL or CELTA qualified people to teach English the length and breadth of Vietnam.

Make sure you bring the original version of any degrees or diplomas you hold and the original version of your background check – photocopies are insufficient. Your background check should be no more than 6 months old when it’s presented for the purpose of a Work Visa in Vietnam.

Lastly, all of your documents should be notarised and legalised in your home country. You should not assume that you can complete the required notarising and legalising in Vietnam, with one exception – your TESOL Certificate can be notarised at the Australian mission in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City and subsequently legalised by the Vietnamese Government.

          Work Visa in Cambodia:

The process and documentation for a Work Visa in Cambodia (again, it’s actually called a Work Permit) are similar to what’s required for a Work Visa in Vietnam – two-year (minimum) university or college qualification, a clean background check (no more than 6 months old) and internationally recognised TESOL/TEFL, Certification, all documents need to be the original version and appropriately notarised and legalised in your home country with the exception of your TESOL/TEFL Certificate. If it happens that you don’t have a two year (minimum) qualification from a university or college, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re out of contention. AVSE staff will advise you accordingly.

Remember, if you wish to obtain a Work Visa in Cambodia post TESOL/TEFL course, it’s wise to enter the country, in the first instance, with what’s called an ‘Ordinary Visa (E class)’.


We all think we are infallible. The reality is we are not. Travel insurance with decent medical coverage is imperative when taking an overseas adventure. There are many horror stories on the internet about folks who were hospitalised due to illness or injury when travelling abroad, with the end result being huge medical bills. This kind of financial burden can be avoided by taking out a quality Travel Insurance policy before you leave home. It’s true that Travel Insurance represents yet another cost factor when planning your trip overseas, but, the risks associated with not having coverage are huge. On a related point, it’s unwise to assume that having a Work Visa in Vietnam or Cambodia automatically means you’ll be covered by insurance. The reality is, in most cases you won’t be, unless it’s part of a negotiated employment package.

AVSE-TESOL and have joined together to offer travel insurance packages to meet the needs of adventurous people – young & more mature alike – who are pursuing their dream of teaching English in Vietnam, Cambodia and other exotic destinations.

Key points – insurance with World Nomads

  • Backed by specialist insurers and global assistance partners
  • Buy online, even if you’ve already left home
  • Extend and claim online while travelling
  • Covers a range of adventure sports and activities

The partnership between AVSE-TESOL and means our TESOL/TEFL trainees can obtain the travel insurance they need with a minimum of fuss by applying online. You can buy, extend and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from is available to people from over 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

Now you know about your initial entry visa and work visa in Vietnam and Cambodia – and the importance of good quality travel insurance – what are you waiting for – start your TESOL journey today!

Exotic Vietnam