Foreign tourists get hopes up as lawmakers set to discuss easing of visa rules

By Hoang Vu   May 10, 2023 | 04:07 pm PT
Foreign tourists get hopes up as lawmakers set to discuss easing of visa rules
Foreign tourists walk in Hoi An ancient town, April 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phong
As the National Assembly prepares to discuss liberalizing tourist visa rules on Friday, many foreigners said they are hoping for "good news" from legislators.

"We and many of our friends who are also pensioners now hope that the National Assembly will pass new visa laws that will make it easier for us to spend the coming winter in Vietnam as long-term tourists," German national Peter Zimmermann told VnExpress International.

"Leaving the country every 30 days is an unnecessary burden for older people."

The government has submitted proposals to the National Assembly to increase the visa period for foreigners from the current 30 days to three months and triple the duration of visa-free stays to 45 days for visitors from certain countries.

Zimmermann, a frequent visitor to Vietnam during winters before Covid, said he is tired of having to make visa runs every month, which also cost him and his wife a lot of money.

"We have waited very long for Vietnam's three-month visa policy."

Australian Ken Rafter, whose family recently visited Vietnam, is also waiting for the verdict.

He hoped Vietnam would offer longer visas and waives visas for Australians.

"It is such a great country to visit, and it won't be long before I again plan another trip to other parts of Vietnam.

"If visas are relaxed, it will be very good."

Indian Pritesh Meta said if he has the option to stay longer than a month or does not need a visa, he would definitely stay longer in Vietnam.

He visited last February and spent most of his time riding a motorbike from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

But due to the restrictive visa, he did not have much time to travel further north to explore ethnic minority areas.

He plans to return to Vietnam later this year or early next year, and hoped the visa polices are more convenient then.

Vietnam received over 3.6 million foreign visitors in January-April, equivalent to 62% of pre-pandemic numbers and nearly half of this year's eight-million target.

However, the number of foreign tourists Vietnam receives remains far less than its Southeast Asian neighbors like Thailand, which received 8.4 million in the same period.

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