US citizens offered one-year visas to Vietnam

By    April 4, 2016 | 01:23 am PT
U.S. citizens will soon be able to enter Vietnam on a one-year visa rather than a three-month visa after Vietnamese legislators agreed to extend the validity of temporary visas for American citizens at a meeting this morning.

“The National Assembly has reached a consensus on granting U.S. citizens one-year visas to Vietnam,” said legislature vice chairwoman Tong Thi Phong.

U.S. citizens are currently allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of three months at a time, according to Vietnam’s 2014 immigration law.

The U.S. has asked the Vietnamese government to extend visas for its citizens as it has done the same for Vietnamese passport holders.

Vietnam is the only one country among the 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership members that only offers three-month visas to U.S. citizens, according to U.S. diplomatic officials.

The new visa policy is expected to boost economic and trade ties between the two countries and draw U.S. tourists to Vietnam, said Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh at a meeting with the Standing Committee of the National Assembly late last year.

The number of U.S. tourists arriving in Vietnam annually is expected to rise to one million next year, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Vietnam attracted nearly 500,000 U.S. travelers in 2015, 10 percent higher than the year before, and welcomed about 170,000 U.S. arrivals during the first three months of this year, data from the General Statistics Office shows.

Since tourism revenue contributes around six percent to Vietnam’s gross domestic product, the government has offered visa exemptions for single-entry visits to citizens of certain countries including Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

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