Business group slams Vietnam visa regime

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air-port-fast-trackThe Vietnam Business Forum, a consortium of international and local business associations and chambers of commerce,is criticising the government for its failure to act on its rhetoric about simplifying its visa procedures, including those relating to visa-on-arrival. This will see the country fall further behind its neighbors in wooing visitors, the forum said.

“It has been noted the ‘visa-on-arrival’ area at the airport provides no clear information on the necessary forms, policies, or fees; little English is spoken; and there is no queuing/numbering system in place,” the forum said in its annual report. This was in contrast to most other Southeast Asian countries, which have efficient visa-on-arrival systems that make it easy for tourists to plan their trips.

For Vietnam, tourists have to apply for their visas weeks in advance, send their passports to the Vietnamese embassies or go online for letters to confirm their visas will be issued on arrival, and then end up waiting for a long time after arriving in the country.

“With the exception of Myanmar, Vietnam is the only country in Southeast Asia where visitors from major tourist nations … still have to go through a pre-approval process before traveling,” the report said.

Tourists also complain that when they go to Cambodia or Laos, they can simply turn up and pay $25 on arrival while Vietnam charges almost double at $45 for a 30-day or 90-day single entry visa, the most expensive in the region.

At a biannual meeting with the forum in June 2013, Vietnamese officials had promised several major improvements to the visa system.

“This issue has been proposed by donors to the government and the process is already underway,” Huynh Vinh Ai, deputy tourism minister, had said.

The authorities promised to introduce an online visa system that would enable registration for visa-on-arrival. They also revealed plans to work with neighbouring countries to hammer out a single-visa policy that would enable tourists to travel freely across Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. But all these plans have remained “in progress”.

The only commitment the Vietnamese government has honored is the continued visa waiver for single-entry visits of up to 15 days for Danish, Finnish, Japanese, Norwegian, Russian, South Korean, and Swedish nationals. ASEAN citizens do not need a visa to enter Vietnam.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Vietnam Business Forum, a consortium of international and local business associations and chambers of commerce,is criticising the government for its failure to act on its rhetoric about simplifying its visa procedures, including those relating to visa-on-arrival. This will see the country fall further behind its neighbors in wooing visitors, the forum said.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

air-port-fast-trackThe Vietnam Business Forum, a consortium of international and local business associations and chambers of commerce,is criticising the government for its failure to act on its rhetoric about simplifying its visa procedures, including those relating to visa-on-arrival. This will see the country fall further behind its neighbors in wooing visitors, the forum said.

“It has been noted the ‘visa-on-arrival’ area at the airport provides no clear information on the necessary forms, policies, or fees; little English is spoken; and there is no queuing/numbering system in place,” the forum said in its annual report. This was in contrast to most other Southeast Asian countries, which have efficient visa-on-arrival systems that make it easy for tourists to plan their trips.

For Vietnam, tourists have to apply for their visas weeks in advance, send their passports to the Vietnamese embassies or go online for letters to confirm their visas will be issued on arrival, and then end up waiting for a long time after arriving in the country.

“With the exception of Myanmar, Vietnam is the only country in Southeast Asia where visitors from major tourist nations … still have to go through a pre-approval process before traveling,” the report said.

Tourists also complain that when they go to Cambodia or Laos, they can simply turn up and pay $25 on arrival while Vietnam charges almost double at $45 for a 30-day or 90-day single entry visa, the most expensive in the region.

At a biannual meeting with the forum in June 2013, Vietnamese officials had promised several major improvements to the visa system.

“This issue has been proposed by donors to the government and the process is already underway,” Huynh Vinh Ai, deputy tourism minister, had said.

The authorities promised to introduce an online visa system that would enable registration for visa-on-arrival. They also revealed plans to work with neighbouring countries to hammer out a single-visa policy that would enable tourists to travel freely across Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. But all these plans have remained “in progress”.

The only commitment the Vietnamese government has honored is the continued visa waiver for single-entry visits of up to 15 days for Danish, Finnish, Japanese, Norwegian, Russian, South Korean, and Swedish nationals. ASEAN citizens do not need a visa to enter Vietnam.

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