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Vietnam opens e-visa to all countries

Foreign tourists are surprised and delighted at the openness of Vietnam's visa policy, but commented that there are still points to be overcome with the visa application website.

From August 15, the Government issued electronic visas (e-visas) to citizens of all countries and territories in the world instead of only 80 countries and territories as before. The e-visa's temporary stay period is also increased from 30 days to 90 days. In addition, the temporary stay period is also increased from 15 days to 45 days for citizens of 13 countries in Vietnam unilaterally exempting from visa.

Many international tourists highly appreciate Vietnam's newly revised visa policy. These changes promise to promote a large number of international visitors to Vietnam in the future.

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Shiela Zobel, a German tourist, said that allowing citizens of all countries and territories to apply for an e-visa will make it easier for them to decide to come to Vietnam. Germany is on the list of unilaterally exempted visas by Vietnam, so Zobel can stay in Vietnam for up to 45 days or 90 days if applying for an e-visa. She commented that the 30-day period as before is too little and that tourists like her are "tired of having to go to Moc Bai border gate" every month to reapply for a visa.

"It's a waste of time, we also need to save money. With the current change, I think many foreign tourists will benefit and decide to stay longer in Vietnam," Zobel said. I know I will come to Vietnam on August 21.

Reg Boling, an American, has great affection for the people, landscape and culture and cuisine of Vietnam. He said he had been to Vietnam several times since March and commented that the 30-day stay as the old policy was only enough for tourists to "see a very small part of the country". Boling is now retired and sees Vietnam as a potential destination for business investment. Extending the temporary stay for foreigners not only helps people like him to travel more, but also increases the likelihood of finding investment opportunities in Vietnam.

However, Boling said Vietnam should also consider adding visa exemptions for many other countries and introduce a preferential visa policy for retirees with good economic status. According to Boling, a number of Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore have done so and this brings economic benefits to both sides.

Sharing the same opinion as Zobel and Boling, Sue Schein, an American tourist, said that she had been to Vietnam many times since 2015 and was one of the first to return to tourism after the pandemic. She has been waiting for a change in visa policy for a long time. Schein plans to visit Vietnam in October and stay for two months to travel to Hanoi, Sa Pa (Lao Cai) and possibly Laos.

"I hope Vietnam can expand its visa policy further in the future. Honestly, I'm a bit envious of those who are exempt from visas," she said.

Right on August 15, Schein tried to apply for an e-visa to Vietnam but encountered some problems with the visa application website. Female tourists commented that the new e-visa application website interface looks more modern and detailed than the old version. However, the website still has many errors, especially in the payment step. At dawn on August 17 (Vietnam time), Schein still could not complete the application for an e-visa due to lack of payment.

Schein is not the only tourist experiencing this situation when applying for an e-visa on the Public Service Portal website of the Ministry of Public Security. Joel, an American tourist, said he had some problems downloading photos and paying for it. In addition, Joel found it a bit annoying to have to answer some questions.

For example, at the online application step, visitors must answer the question, have you been to Vietnam within the past one year? Joel thinks this question is quite redundant because the authorities already know this information. In addition, visitors also have to answer the question of where to stay when coming to Vietnam. According to Joel, this is a common but annoying question in that visitors have to specify the district and ward where they will stay. He said most tourists are not able to grasp this information.

"I think Vietnam should simplify things to make it easier for tourists to come to you. Those little troubles will make many people choose Thailand over Vietnam," he said.

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