The Vietnamese government has announced that they will extend visa-free travel for eight countries. These are Russia, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Belarus. This means that travellers from these countries won’t need a Vietnam visa to travel to Vietnam for the coming years. This extension is set to last until 31 December 2022.
Travelling to Vietnam without a visa
During the most recent gathering of the Vietnamese government in November, a resolution was accepted which states that travellers from these eight countries won’t need to apply for a Vietnam visa, provided their stay doesn’t last longer than 15 days. Generally speaking, all travellers headed to Vietnam need a visa. To stimulate the tourist sector, the government experimented with visa-free travel for a select few countries. This measure was implemented in 2015, and was set to expire at the end of this year. Now, it has been decided to extend it by three more years. In total, 13 non-asian countries fall under this measure. What the situation is for the remaining five countries not listed here is unknown.
Largest suppliers of tourists
These new measures from the Vietnam government won’t come as a surprise to many. Russia, Japan and South Korea are among the largest sources of income for the Vietnamese tourist sector. The only country that contributes more is China. Tourism from South Korea has especially grown substantially over the past few years, to nearly 3.5 million tourists a year, a rise of 45 percent compared to last year. Japan provided some 80000 tourists, a rise of almost 4 percent. In total, Russia, Japan and South Korea make up about one third of the total number of foreign tourist coming to Vietnam.
All visa on arrival desks at the Vietnamese airports will be closed. After 27 October 2018, you are required to apply for a visa online. The application procedure only takes about five minutes, and it’s cheaper than applying for a visa on arrival at the airport.
Strict visa policy
The efforts of the Vietnamese government to strengthen tourism in the country has clearly borne fruit. In the first 11 months of this Vietnam received over 16 million foreign tourists, a rise of 15.5 percent compared to last year. With the end of the year in sight, Vietnam is well on its way to reach its goal of 18 million foreign visitors. This makes the country very appealing for investments by travel bureaus, airlines and other investors.
However, Vietnam remains a country with one of the strictest visa rules in Asia. Visa free travel is currently only available to 24 countries, of which the majority are from Southeast Asia. In comparison, Indonesia has made visa free travel available to 169 countries. Furthermore, the non-Asian countries that can travel without a visa can’t stay in the country for longer than 15 days. This is a sore point for a lot of travel bureaus. They call on Vietnam to extend this period to 30 days, in part due to the long travel time from Europe to Vietnam.
Travelling to Vietnam
British travellers that want to travel to Vietnam require a visa to do if they plan on staying for longer than 15 days. However, they have access to the so-called Vietnam e-visa. This digital variant of the Vietnam visa can be applied for entirely online, and makes it so travellers can stay in the country for up to 30 days. As opposed to the visa free travel system, this system is available to 81 countries. In part due to this fast and efficient system, Vietnam remains a popular holiday destination in the West.