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Vietnam on March 15 fully reopened for international tourism after almost two years. However, when the date arrived, there was confusion as entry procedures, visa requirements, etc were not released by the relevant government agencies.
Nevertheless, more details were subsequently released.
The Ministry of Health late on March 15 released Official Dispatch No 1265/BYT-DP on the entry procedures for foreign arrivals to Vietnam. As per the document, foreign arrivals are required to:
- Take a COVID-19 negative test using the RT-PCR method 72 hours before entering Vietnam OR a rapid Antigen test (no self-test) 24 hours before entering Vietnam. This does not apply to children under 2 years of age; the test must be done by a competent health authority.
- Make a health declaration before entry and download the PC-COVID app;
- In case a COVID-19 test is not taken prior to departure, a test will be taken within 24 hours after arriving in Vietnam. If negative, travelers can travel anywhere within Vietnam without the need to quarantine; and
- While no quarantine is required, travelers should self-monitor their health for 10 days and report to local health authorities if they experience pandemic symptoms.
Travelers are also asked to follow all pandemic protocols such as wearing face masks and disinfecting their hands.
The easing of entry procedures is a significant development compared to countries in Southeast Asia like Thailand, which maintain tougher entry restrictions and quarantine for foreign tourists.
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh has also asked relevant government agencies to restore immigration and visa procedures as before the pandemic. This also means that citizens from 80 countries can now apply for an e-visa for a stay of up to 30 days. The government’s e-visa website is open for visa submissions. The government also reiterated its stance to treat foreign and domestic tourists as the same.
In addition, businesses visas for business travelers has also resumed without the need for prior approval from the local people’s committee.
Prior to this, the government issued visa exemption for citizens of 13 countries including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Denmark, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Finland, Belarus, and Sweden.
The news is welcoming particularly for tour operators who have suffered significant losses. Vietnam received more than 18 million visitors in 2019 compared to just 157,000 foreign arrivals in 2021 due to border closures.
Vietnam has also resumed direct flights to several destinations such as the US, Singapore, Thailand, the UK, and Australia which will help boost the economy and people to people ties. The easing of entry procedures and visas will allow businesses and tour companies to plan trips and will further contribute to Vietnam’s growing economy.
Source: Asia Briefing