Time at Vietnam (UTC+07:00) 07:22:55 PM, Sunday, 21 April 2024

Vietnam Explores Expanding Visa Exemption

The Ministry of Public Security is currently studying proposals to broaden the scope of visa exemptions for citizens of select countries, aligning with current circumstances and bilateral cooperation, as directed by the Prime Minister.

In a directive issued on February 15th to prioritize key tasks post-Tet holiday, the Prime Minister urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promptly assess the implementation of unilateral visa exemption policies for citizens from 13 countries in recent times. Both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security are tasked with proposing an extension of visa exemptions to more countries whose citizens are unilaterally exempted from visas when visiting Vietnam.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has been assigned to guide tourism businesses in ensuring the safety of tourists and locals alike. Hotels and restaurants are encouraged to promote responsible alcohol consumption among tourists to prevent drunk driving incidents. In February, the Ministry submitted a report to the Prime Minister on the progress of the State Steering Committee for Tourism.

Vietnam currently grants visa exemptions to citizens of 25 countries, including 13 countries unilaterally exempted from visas such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland), Russia, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Belarus.

Meanwhile, several countries in the Asian region are intensifying efforts to attract tourists through visa exemption policies. For instance, Malaysia and Singapore have waived visa requirements for citizens of 162 countries and the Philippines for 157. Japan exempts visas for 68 countries, South Korea for 66, and Thailand for 64.

Since mid-August, Vietnam has been issuing electronic visas to citizens of all countries, extending the duration from 30 to 90 days with unlimited entries. Vietnamese citizens unilaterally exempted from visas have seen their temporary residence period extended from 15 to 45 days, with visa issuance and extension being considered according to regulations. 

The idea of expanding visa exemptions to boost tourism has been proposed multiple times by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. At the tourism development conference in November 2023, Minister Nguyen Van Hung suggested that the Government extend unilateral visa exemptions to visitors from countries with higher development levels compared to Vietnam, including those with significant spending power such as Australia, Canada, the United States, and other EU countries. Additionally, Vietnam should consider granting short-term visa exemptions to visitors from large, potential markets such as China and India to stimulate tourism demand.

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