International tourists at Phu Quoc Island, off the southern province of Kien Giang
Nguyen Quy Phuong, head of the Travel Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), told The Saigon Times that the Government had recently issued Decree 17/2019 amending and supplementing some articles of Decree 07/2017 on the pilot issuance of e-visas to foreigners entering Vietnam.
He added that the new decree listed 34 additional countries whose citizens are eligible for tourist e-visas to Vietnam, and named new border gates and seaports where tourists can enter or exit with this type of visa.
“China has already been mentioned on a previous list. (The new decree) just adds those nationals with the passports of Hong Kong and Macao – two territories of this country. As such, the Government has increased the number of countries eligible for e-visas to 80 countries,” he said.
These countries are Austria, Iceland, Belgium, Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Qatar, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Croatia, Estonia, Fiji, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Macedonia, Micronesia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, San Marino, Cyprus, Switzerland, China (applicable for Hong Kong and Macao passport holders and inapplicable for Chinese e-passport holders), Vanuatu, Western Samoa, Serbia and Slovenia.
The added border gates are Tay Trang in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien, Na Meo, in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa and La Lay in the central province of Quang Tri, and the two new sea ports are Chan May Port in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and Duong Dong Port in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.
Under the decree, eligible visitors can apply online for a 30-day, single-entry e-visa and pay a US$25 fee.
Applicants are required to complete a form, available for download from the Immigration Department’s website at www.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn in Vietnamese or www.immigration.gov.vn in English.
They will receive an application code and will be asked to pay a non-refundable fee online. It takes three working days to receive a notification of whether their applications are approved.
The Government enabled foreign tourists to apply online for the first time in February 2017, starting with 40 countries.
The countries were Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brunei, Bulgaria, Chile, China (not applicable to Chinese e-passport holders), Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Myanmar, Norway, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Timor Leste, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
In December that year, six more countries were added to the list: Australia, India, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.
Since the pilot phase of the e-visa scheme ended recently, the Government approved a two-year extension until 2021.
The liberal policy will create favorable conditions for the tourism sector to fulfill its target of attracting 18 million international tourists to Vietnam this year, according to Phuong.
Data from VNAT shows that the country saw roughly 15.5 million international tourist arrivals in 2018, a 19.9% rise over the previous year.