The Vietnamese foreign ministry is in negotiations with 15 countries to mutually exempt visas for citizens as the Southeast Asian nation seeks to lure more international arrivals amid fierce regional competition.

In addition, talks are ongoing with 80 countries on reciprocal visa exemptions for holders of diplomatic and official passports to facilitate overseas business travel, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said at a parliamentary hearing on Monday.

Son did not elaborate on the list of counterparts that Vietnam is negotiating with.

Vietnam welcomed 12.6 million foreign tourists last year, up 3.4 times from 2022, but still much lower than the record of 18 million set in 2019 before the pandemic.

The country is aiming for 17-18 million international guests this year, and visa relaxations are much needed as neighboring countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines require no visas for citizens from over 150 countries and territories. Regional peers are now vying for Chinese and Indian tourists.

Vietnam currently grants visa exemptions for citizens from 13 developed and high-spending countries, namely Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Belarus. They can stay for 45 days from the date of entry, regardless of passport type and entry purpose.

Son noted that his ministry was coordinating with relevant authorities to simplify entry procedures.

The National Assembly passed the revised editions of the Law on Exit and Entry of Vietnamese Citizens and the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam in June 2023, relaxing considerably visa requirements and expanding tourist stays, Son added.

Source: theinvestor


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