Vietnam Plans to Expand Visa Exemption Policy

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In a strategic move to rejuvenate its tourism sector post-pandemic, Vietnam is considering extending visa exemption to more countries.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has ordered the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security to evaluate the addition of 13 countries to the visa-exemption policy based on bilateral cooperation.

The move is expected to target the potential inclusion of countries with high tourism spending and long-duration stay, such as Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Other likely candidates include Middle Eastern nations such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, and close neighbors such as China, India, and Taiwan.

EU countries not already on the visa-exempt list, such as Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, could also be included.

Vietnam has already made it easier to enter the country for tourism with the recent introduction of the Vietnam E-visa, which is available to all foreign visitors.

However, it seems as though this online visa may soon no longer be required for the nationalities mentioned above.

Vietnam Plans to Expand Visa Exemption Policy

Countries Currently Granted Visa-Exemption for Vietnam

The Vietnam Visa Policy currently grants visa exemption to around 25 nationalities.

In August 2023, the country decided to extend the period of visa-free stay from 15 to 45 days for citizens of the following 13 countries: 

  • Belarus
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • The United Kingdom

Citizens of Chile and Panama are granted visa-free entry to Vietnam for up to 90 days. Nationals of the Philippines and Brunei can also enter without a visa for up to 21 and 14 days, respectively.

Furthermore, visa exemption for a 30-day stay applies to the following:

  •  Cambodia
  •  Indonesia
  •  Kyrgyzstan
  •  Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • Thailand

Additionally, Mongolia is already set to be added to the 30-day visa-exempt list on 7 March 2024.

Why Vietnam Is Expanding its Visa-Exemption Policy

Vietnam’s decision to broaden its visa exemption list is driven by the need to stimulate tourism demand and accelerate recovery in the post-COVID era.

The number of countries to which Vietnam currently grants visa exemption is quite low compared to other Southeast Asian nations.

For example, Malaysia and Singapore grant visa-free entry to 162 nationalities, while the Philippines extends visa exemption to 157 countries.

And it seems that Vietnam is hoping to follow Thailand’s example. The country recently extended visa exemption to China and Taiwan, with plans to include even more countries in the near future.

Vietnam’s tourism sector has already shown a remarkable recovery since the pandemic. International visitor numbers reached almost 12.6 million in 2023, nearly 3.5 times the figure in 2022.

However, the Vietnam tourism industry is aiming to attract between 17 and 18 million international visitors in 2024. Therefore, easing visa policies is seen as a crucial step towards achieving this goal.

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