Foreigners pleased as Vietnam extends e-visa validity to 90 days

By Hoang Phong   June 26, 2023 | 03:23 pm PT
Foreigners pleased as Vietnam extends e-visa validity to 90 days
Foreign tourists pose for the photographer as they watch a street art performance in Hue, April 29, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh
Many foreigners are happy and preparing plans to return to Vietnam after Vietnamese legislators finally agreed to extend the validity of tourist e-visas to 90 days and allow multiple entries.

"[The extension] is indeed very good news," said American Michael Burger.

He said allowing visitors to make multiple entries was "the most valuable" as he could travel to other ASEAN nations from Hanoi and HCMC, without having to apply for a new visa each time he returns to Vietnam.

"It's so great and I am planning to return to Vietnam this August," Burger added.

After months of eagerly waiting, the National Assembly approved on Saturday a government proposal to extend the validity of tourist e-visas from 30 to 90 days and allow visitors multiple entries, effective from August 15.

Pawel Dejmek from Poland plans to return to Vietnam in September or October and stay there for a long time after hearing that Vietnam had resumed its three-month e-visa policy.

"Before the pandemic, the e-visa was valid for 90 days already and it could be extended three times. So, I did 'visa run' once a year, not every month," he said.

Since Vietnam reopened its borders to foreign tourists in March 2022 and only allowed 30-day e-visa, many of his friends moved to Thailand because of being tired of border runs every month that cost them much time and money.

During his upcoming trip to Vietnam, Dejmek plans to stay in Mui Ne, famous for beach adventure activities along the central coast. He said he will look for a place for rent as he wants to open a bar and conduct other business activities.

"It's really good news. We've waited very long for Vietnam's three-month visa policy," he said.

Indian Pritesh Meta said a three-month visa would be perfect for those wishing to explore rural parts of northern Vietnam that are famous for the diverse culture of different ethnic minorities.

Meta visited Vietnam earlier this year and spent 28 days riding a motorbike from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Due to the restrictive visa, he had not been able to travel further north to areas where he wanted to learn more about ethnic minority groups with their distinctive culture.

However, many foreigners felt disappointed that Vietnam has not given visa exemptions to more countries.

Australian retiree Ken Rafter said he hopes Australia will be added to the list of countries eligible for a visa exemption soon as the number of Australian visitors to Vietnam has been rising sharply against pre-pandemic levels, driven by budget airfares.

Almost 82,000 Australians have taken trips to Vietnam in the first quarter of 2023, up 14.4% compared to 2019, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Burger also said he was upset American citizens were yet eligible for visa exemption, and hoped the Vietnamese government would expand the list of countries eligible for visa-free entry.

Dejmek felt "a little surprised" that Polish citizens had not yet been given visa-free entry and continues to wait for "new changes."

Earlier, the government announced Vietnam would consider unilaterally offering visa-free stays to citizens from more countries to attract international tourists, but no official decision has been made.

Vietnam now allows visa waivers for 25 countries, while Malaysia and Singapore allow 162 countries, the Philippines 157 countries and Thailand 65.

In the first five months of this year Vietnam received 4.6 million foreign visitors, more than half of the year's target of eight million but still only 63% of pre-pandemic levels.

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