Tourists in My Son, central Vietnam. Photo by Ha Phuoc Thanh/VnExpress Photo Contest
The Vietnamese government has announced a two-year pilot plan to launch an electronic visa system for foreign tourists visiting the country.
Under a government directive released in late January, citizens from 40 countries will be eligible to apply for the e-visas starting on February 1. Included on the list are China, Japan, South Korea, the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Sweden, all major target markets for Vietnam’s tourism sector. For the full list of eligible nationalities, click here.
To apply for e-visas, foreign citizens can access the websites http://www.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn or http://www.immigration.gov.vn.
Applicants are required to complete a form available on two separate websites (one in Vietnamese and the other in English) run by the Ministry of Public Security. They will receive an application code and will be asked to pay a non-refundable fee online.
It will take three working days for tourists to find out if their applications have been approved or not, according to the directive.
Successful applicants will be able to print off their e-visas to present when they arrive.
Visitors can touch down at any of Vietnam's eight international airports, including Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, Noi Bai in Hanoi and Da Nang in the central region. They can also arrive via land at 13 international border gates, and via sea at seven ports across the country.
In November last year, Vietnam's National Assembly overwhelmingly approved the plan to allow foreign visitors to apply online for 30-day, single-entry e-visas.
Apart from visa exemptions for tourists from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam offers 15-day visa exemptions for visitors from the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Belarus.
Tourism authorities are expecting to receive 11.5 million foreign arrivals this year, up 15 percent from 2016.