The government of Vietnam has extended visa-free access to the country for 8 nationalities for the next 3 years, in an effort to boost the growth of the country’s tourist industry.
Citizens of Japan, Russia, South Korea, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Belarus will able to continue to enjoy visa-exempt travel to the country until December 31st, 2022.
The Vietnam visa exemption program for these 8 countries was launched in 2015 and was due to come to an end in December of this year.
However, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has confirmed that passport holders of the above countries will continue to be eligible for a visa waiver which permits a maximum stay of up to 15 days in the southeast Asian country.
The new 3-year visa exemption for 8 nationalites is expected to help the tourism industry in Vietnam to develop long-term plans.
However, many businesses in the country have called for the period of visa exemption to be increased from 15 days to 30 days, to take into account long travel times for European tourists coming to Vietnam.
Visa-Free Travel to Vietnam Boosting Tourist Arrivals
The Vietnamese visa exempt scheme has already greatly boosted the number of tourist arrivals from eligible passport holders.
In 2018, arrivals from Japan, Russia, and South Korea alone made up around one third of all tourist travel to the country.
Around 3.5 million South Koreans visited Vietnam in 2018, accounting for 22 percent of all foreign arrivals. This is an increase of around 44 per cent from the previous year, making South Koreans the second-largest market for tourist arrivals after China.
Meanwhile, Japan is now the third-largest market for tourism to Vietnam with 800,000 arrivals in 2018, a rise of 3.6 percent from 2017, and Russian tourists broke a new record with 606,000 visitors in 2018.
The other countries added to the visa exemption list, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Belarus are considered emerging tourist markets by many Vietnamese citizens. Citizens of these countries are prized potential visitors because of the comparatively large overall spend of Western Europeans on holiday.
A record 16.3 million foreign tourists have already visited Vietnam in the first 11 months of 2019, an increase of 15.3 percent over the same period last year. Government officials are confident that they can meet the target of 18 million visitors for 2019 by the end of the year.
Vietnam Visa-Exempt Citizens Can Stay Longer with eVisa
The 8 countries announced for the visa exemption extension are among only 24 nations in the Vietnam visa waiver program, which also includes the other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
A visa waiver for Vietnam only allows the traveler to spend a maximum of 15 days in the country. However, many of the visa-exempt nationalities are also eligible to apply for the Vietnam eVisa, which permits the holder to spend up to 30 consecutive days.
Eligible foreign citizens can apply for the online visa for Vietnam through a simple application which can be completed in a few minutes. Applications are usually processed within 3 working days, and the traveler will receive an approved tourist visa for Vietnam sent via email.
Visit onlinevisa.com to check visa requirements for every country in the world.