HANOI, 11 April 2016: Vietnam’s National Assembly is expected to pass a new rule that will extend the validity of temporary visas for US visitors to one year, instead of the current three months.
A Tuoi Tre News report claimed newly-elected President, Tran Dai Quang, proposed the change when speaking to legislators, last Monday.
US tourists, or business travellers, can only apply for a three-month, single-entry visa and the American business community in Vietnam has repeatedly pushed for the term to be extended.
The recommendation was based on the fact that Vietnamese citizens can apply for a multi-entry, 12-month visa to the US. The American business community argued that Vietnam should do the same on the basis of reciprocity.
The National Assembly deputy chairwoman, Tong Thi Phong, who chaired the event, was quoted saying that the legislative body “agrees to grant one-year visas” for US citizens to enter Vietnam.
“The Standing Committee of the National Assembly will prepare a resolution to officially ratify the diplomatic note as proposed by the President and Foreign Minister,” she said.
The extension should boost economic and trade ties and attract more US travellers. The US is one of the top source markets for tourism with 491,249 travellers visiting Vietnam, last year, up 10.7% from 2014.
Effective, 1 July last year, citizens from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy were granted visa exemptions to visit Vietnam for up to 15 days. That particular waiver applies for one year.
Vietnam also offers visa-free travel to seven countries; Japan, South Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia.
It also has a visa-free policy for nine ASEAN countries; Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines.
The country allows foreigners married to Vietnamese resident in the country, or overseas, visa-free entry that was effective 15 November last year.