Foreign Tourists Anticipate Official Guidelines for Vietnam's New Visa Policy
Despite the government’s approval of tourist visa extensions starting from August 15, many foreigners are eagerly waiting for official guidelines on the implementation of the new policy. Questions regarding the application process through the online tool, pricing for single entry and multiple entry three-month visas, and the potential expansion of the list of countries eligible for e-visas remain unanswered. Eric Warnken, a German tourist, expressed his curiosity about the frequency of e-visa applications and the number of times one can receive an e-visa in a year.
On June 24, the National Assembly approved the extension of tourist visas from 30 to 90 days and prolonged visa-free periods for selected countries to 45 days, with the changes set to take effect from August 15. However, as of now, the Vietnam Immigration Portal website does not contain any new announcements related to the visa policy change.
Many foreign tourists, like Sharman from the UK, who plans to visit Vietnam for a month, have learned about the new visa extension policy through the media but are unable to obtain specific details. Currently, Sharman can only enter Vietnam for up to 15 days without a visa, as the UK is one of the 25 countries that already receive visa waivers. To stay longer, Sharman would need to leave Vietnam and reenter, a common practice among foreign tourists who visit neighboring countries like Thailand and Cambodia before returning to Vietnam.
Under the new visa policy, Sharman would be eligible to stay up to 45 days and could be considered for visa issuance and temporary residence extension. Many travel firms specializing in the inbound market are eagerly awaiting official guidelines from authorities regarding the new visa extension policy. The lack of official documentation has left them uncertain about crucial details, such as which countries will benefit from the e-visa period extension and the increased duration of unilateral visa-free stays.
The tourism industry is keen to receive early information to plan for the peak international tourism season from October to April. While the Vietnamese government’s efforts to ease visa requirements have been appreciated by partners in the industry, they are awaiting official documentation to fully believe and implement the new policies. Travel companies, such as Lux Group and BenThanh Tourist, have been in contact with their partners, but without detailed instructions, they are unable to design new tourism products or conduct effective marketing activities.
Despite the anticipation surrounding the new visa policy, Vietnam has already seen a significant number of foreign arrivals, with 6.6 million recorded in the first seven months of this year, equivalent to 83% of the full-year target of 8 million. Long-haul travelers from Europe and America have started making plans for extended holidays in Vietnam following the visa extension announcement, as reported by online travel platform Agoda.