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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Vietnam seeks bilateral visa exemption deals with 15 nations

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in talks with 15 countries over bilateral visa exemption deals while weighing a visa waiver for an additional 80 countries to official passport holders.

During a Q&A session held yesterday by the National Assembly Standing Committee, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son said the ministry has been working hard to streamline immigration procedures given the increasing demand of local residents and foreigners for leisure and business travel.

In addition to the 13 countries already enjoying Vietnam’s unilateral visa waiver, Vietnam is in negotiations over bilateral visa exemptions with 15 other nations, he said. If the effort pays off, Vietnamese citizens and international visitors could easily travel among these countries.

Discussions with 80 countries are ongoing to extend bilateral visa exemptions to official passport holders, facilitating trips for leaders of ministries, departments, and local authorities.

A National Assembly deputy said that if the visa waiver negotiations with these 15 countries are successful, the total number of countries whose citizens are exempt from the Vietnamese visa requirement would increase to 28.

However, this number remains modest compared to other countries in the region. For instance, Thailand offers a visa waiver for citizens of 164 countries, Malaysia 162 and the Philippines 157.

Since August 2023, Vietnam has taken several measures to relax visa policy, including the issuance of e-visas for citizens of all countries and territories, extending visa validity to 90 days with multiple entries. Citizens from the countries eligible for the unilateral visa waiver can now extend their temporary residence from 15 to 45 days.

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