HANOI, 29 May 2015: Vietnam’s government has simplified immigration requirements for international visitors in the wake of tour operator complaints that claimed procedures were driving away tourists.
Local media reported Deputy Prime Minister, Vu Duc Dam, who said he recently approved a plan to remove hindrances in the issue of visas for foreign travellers.
International travellers entitled to visa exemption for a 15-day stay in Vietnam will be allowed to stay for up to 30 days if they can fulfil certain conditions. They need to show a valid roundtrip air-ticket and a package tour schedules. Their extension must be guaranteed by the travel agency handling their travel itinerary.
Foreign tourists from countries that enjoy visa waivers can ask for landing visas if they enter Vietnam and then exit to visit a third country and return to Vietnam in less than 30 days from the first entry.
The decision will help ease paperwork and streamline travel for international tourists who visit more than one country in the region, but use Vietnam as the gateway destination.
Anh Duong Tourist Company chairwoman, Hoang Thi Phong Thu, said it was not much of an improvement as tourists still need to pay fees for permits.
“The new decision does not clarify whether foreign tourists will have to pay for their stay extension. At present, those who want to stay in Vietnam longer must register with immigration agencies and pay USD45 each,” she said.
APEX Tourist Co general director, Nguyen Van Tran, said the granting of on-arrival visas for foreign travellers who visit a third country and then return to Vietnam would help remove some difficulties related to time and procedures.
“They must pay charges when applying for visas…they are not free. It would be more convenient for travellers if they did not have to pay so many fees,” he said.
Vietnam already allows nationals of 17 countries to enter the country without a visa. The length of stay differs.
Citizens of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Kyrgyzstan get a visa-free stay of up to 30 days. Citizens of the Philippines get 21 days.
Citizens of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Japan, and South Korea get 15 days.
Citizens of Brunei and Myanmar 14 days.
All travellers can visit Phu Quoc for 30 days without a visa, but they must, either enter through the island’s seaport, or through its airport after transiting through Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City’s international airports.