Unlocking Tourism Potential: 90-day e-visa, 45-day visa-free stay bill submitted to parliament.

HA NOI — A bill to extend e-visas to 90 days and visa-free stays to 45 days has been submitted to the National Assembly for consideration on May 27.

Minister of Public Security To Lam officially presented the draft amendments to the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners in Viet Nam and the Law on Entry and Exit of Vietnamese Citizens to the National Assembly for review.

Under the new proposed changes, the validity of e-visas will be extended from 30 days to 90 days (three months) for both single and multiple entries, and the number of countries and territories from which citizens will be eligible to apply for e-visas will be expanded (the list will be decided by the Government).

The temporary residence period will also be raised from 15 days to 45 days for citizens of countries unilaterally exempted from visas by Viet Nam, and for those whose visa applications or temporary residence extensions are being considered under other provisions of the law.

Regarding the residence of foreigners in Viet Nam, in order to ensure national security and social order, safety, the draft law also seeks to add in the responsibilities of accommodation providers as well as the obligation of foreigners to present their passports and valid residence documents in Việt Nam to the accommodation providers for temporary residence declaration in accordance with regulations.

The committee agreed with the proposal to extend the validity of temporary residence certificates at border gates for unilateral visa-exempted foreigners from 15 days to 45 days, which is in line with the current situation as the demand for long-term stays in Viet Nam increases, especially for foreigners who seek to invest in the country, work with agencies, businesses, other organizations, travel, or carry out other activities.

"The 45-day period is about the average duration that other countries in the region are implementing," Tới noted, adding that some NA deputies even suggested increasing the temporary residence period to a maximum of 60 days for more flexibility in the issuance of temporary residence certificates.

Some opinions suggested that Viet Nam's unilateral visa exemption policy with a limited validity for citizens of 25 countries was much lower than other countries in the region, so they proposed to expand the scope and conditions of unilateral visa exemption for citizens of various countries and territories, Tới said.

The proposed revisions are welcomed by industry insiders and foreign tourists alike, and they are expected to paint Viet Nam as a much more attractive destination amid fierce competition from other countries in the region.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son at the discussions at the parliament backed the proposed changes, saying that the extension of duration of stay for foreign tourists would help to boost tourism industry and would be totally in line with the global trends.

According to the previous regulations, Vietnamese representative agencies abroad were only allowed to grant visas in special cases under the authorisation of the Immigration Department, but the scope was very limited and the procedures required the endorsement of the foreign affairs ministry of the host country, Son noted.

The Minister suggested that the amendment to the law this time needed to be more flexible and open as Viet Nam is expanding its international relations.

( Source ; Vietnam News ) 

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