E-visa policy facilitates foreigners travelling to Vietnam
  • | VNS | September 11, 2023 10:01 AM

The new e-visa application, which came into force on August 15 at more than a dozen of land border gates across Vietnam, has facilitated the arrival of more foreigners.

Foreign visitors at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi. VNA/VNS Photo

More foreign citizens, particularly Chinese, have used e-visas to enter Vietnam via the Hữu Nghị International Border Gate, according to authorities at the border gate in the northern province of Lạng Sơn.

Hữu Nghị is among the 16 land border gates across Vietnam that have allowed foreigners to enter and exit the country with e-visas since August 15, 2023, following the Government’s resolution on the application of e-visa issuance for citizens of countries and territories, under which e-visas are issued to citizens of all countries and territories.

The list of international border gates allowing foreigners to enter and exit with e-visas include 13 air, 16 land, and 13 sea border gates.

Since August 15, border guards of the Hữu Nghị International Border Gate have carried out e-visa procedures for over 440 foreign citizens, mostly Chinese.

Personnel and equipment have been added to ensure the procedures are processed quickly and smoothly.

Captain Trịnh Văn Bác, deputy head of the Border Guard Station of the Hữu Nghị International Border Gate, said officers and soldiers at the unit are strictly implementing instructions relating to the use of e-visa.

They have also received training to properly deal with e-visa applications.

According to this Border Guard Station, since the beginning of 2023, the unit has processed about 310,000 migration applications including nearly 164,000 for exit and over 146,000 for entering Vietnam. The applications from Chinese citizens account for the majority with about 248,000.

At Lao Bảo International Border Gate in central Quảng Trị Province, from August 15 to September 5, authorities carried out entry and exit procedures for 2,161 visitors of different nationalities, including 846 people under the e-visa policy.

Major Nguyễn Hồng Trung, head of Lao Bảo International Border Gate Control Station, said all nationals entering Vietnam can apply for visas through electronic devices.

Procedures at the border gate have been reduced by 30 per cent compared to the previous normal process, he said.

The process of doing e-visa procedures at La Lay International Border Gate, Quảng Trị Province is also easier and more convenient than before.

Colonel Phan Thanh Hoàng, head of La Lay International Border Gate Border Guard Station, said the border gate has issued electronic visas for citizens from countries like Russia, Belgium and Slovakia. However, the border gate has mainly carried out procedures for shipping transport through customs clearance and people doing business in Laos and vice versa.

There have not been many tourists, so the number of e-visa applications is still low. Most travelers use traditional methods to apply for entry and exit, he said.

Foreign arrival hike

Đỗ Văn Hào, deputy chief of police at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City, said the e-visa policy is expected to help Vietnam attract more international visitors in the autumn-winter tourist season of 2023.

According to Hào, the resolution issued by the Government on August 14 on granting e-visas to citizens of all countries and territories represents a breakthrough and reaffirms the Vietnamese Government's commitment to continue the policy of openness to foreigners, creating favourable conditions in terms of visa, and entry and exit procedures for them, especially those visiting Vietnam for the purposes of working, investment, and tourism.

The number of foreign visitors, especially those from Europe and the Americas, is projected to increase sharply after the Autumn-Winter tourist season starts (from late September to early October), Hào said.

Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport put automatic entry systems (Autogate) into operation in early August, helping reduce the time for security checks to about 30-40 seconds per passenger, the official noted.

However, director of the municipal Department of Tourism Nguyễn Thị Ánh Hoa said a survey conducted by the agency at travel agencies found that there hasn't been a significant change in tourist numbers to Việt Nam following the implementation of the new e-visa policy.

Statistics reported by local hotels show that the number of room reservations for September reached around 70 per cent of total capacity.

Strong growth is expected in both international and domestic visitors during September and towards the end of the year, Hoa said.

Sharing Hoa’s opinion, General Director of Việt Tourism Communication JSC Phạm Phương Anh predicted that the new e-visa policy may increase the number of international tourism arrivals to Vietnam served by the company by 2-25 per cent per year.

Visa policy hailed by other countries

Israeli people and businesses have welcomed and highly valued Vietnam’s new visa policy, affirming that the country is taking steps to reform its procedures in order to make it easier for foreigners to vacation and do business in the Southeast Asian nation.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Tel Aviv, respondents said that instead of having to physically stamp visas onto passports, applying for e-visas will be more convenient, faster, and cost-effective.

Eran Laufman, a resident of Yavne city, said six months ago he traveled to Vietnam and was impressed by famous destinations like Hạ Long Bay and Sa Pa. He had heard of these destinations during his previous trip to Southeast Asia but couldn't apply for a visa to Vietnam at that time because he hadn't planned it in advance.

Buta Doron, founder and CEO of Doron - Vietnam Travel, said e-visas will undoubtedly provide more convenient experiences for Israeli tourists as the application process can be performed entirely online.

The visa reforms hold even more significance in the context that the Vietnam – Israel Free Trade Agreement (VIFTA) has just been inked, and direct flights between the two countries are set to be launched soon.

Doron said these positive developments will contribute to promoting bilateral relations, particularly in tourism and trade. He expressed a hope that direct flights would make round-trip airfare between Israel and Vietnam more attractive, thus stimulating the travel demand of Israeli citizens to Vietnam.

Việt Fạm, CEO of Vietfood Group, which specializes in importing farm produce and processed foods from Vietnam, said some of his friends have successfully registered e-visas and headed to Vietnam immediately after the new regulations came into effect.

With the e-visa validity period reaching up to three months, visitors have the opportunity to explore all the beautiful destinations of Vietnam, he said, adding that this fantastic policy provides convenience for holiday-makers and opens up opportunities for travel and airline enterprises.

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