The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam has put forward a proposal to extend its policy of exempting visas for citizens from five western European nations for a period of five years, with stays being allowed to be prolonged from 15 to 30 days.
Travellers from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK can stay in Vietnam without a visa for 15 days as per a Government Order introduced on July 1, 2015, which was supposed to expire on June 30 this year.
Tuoi Tre News quoted the ministry as recommending that the visa waiver policy should be extended for five more years, with the actual period of stay being allowed up to 30 days.
This move came following a feedback from the tourism industry, which felt that a 15-day tour was too cramped for European tourists, who normally spend around 20 to 30 days in Southeast Asia during a visit. They also felt that a 15-day period was not adequate for visiting the top destinations in the country, which had two major tourist hubs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
As of now, Vietnam is already offering visa-free travel for tourists from Russia, Japan, Denmark, Norway, South Korea, Finland, Sweden and Russia, besides the nine ASEAN nations of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.
Foreigners married to Vietnam citizens, who are staying in the country, or abroad, are also entitled to visa-free entry into Vietnam. This rule came into effect starting November 15, 2015.
On the anvil is also a new ruling that would extend temporary visas validity for the citizens of the United States to one year, an increase from the current period of three months, subject to the approval of National Assembly of Vietnam.