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This Trendy Asian Destination Will Extend Their Tourist Visa To 3 Months

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Proving it is ready to enter a new era where tourism is allowed restriction-free and bureaucracy is a thing of the past, Vietnam looks set to increase its tourist visa limit from a mere 30 days to up to 3 months, bringing its border rules in line with other major travel destinations.

Female Tourist Wearing A Traditional Vietnamese Hat Sailing Around Halong Bay, In The North Of Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Home to breathtaking nature, a whopping 2,030-mile-long coastline lined with sandy beaches and gorgeous swimming spots, and a fascinating culture, it is one of the trendiest spots in Southeast Asia, and it definitely should not be missed on your next trip to the subcontinent.

Soon enough, Americans will no longer be required to restrict their time in Vietnam to only a number of weeks or do complicated visa runs monthly to renew their entry permit:

Understanding Vietnam's Visa Policy

Visa application

Vietnam's visa policy has been criticized by tourism authorities for years now.

While a majority of countries grant foreigners at least a 3-month stay upon crossing the border, Vietnamese authorities never issue tourist visas that are longer than 30 days.

According to Chris Farewell, member of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board (TAB), in order to attract more foreign tourists at this time of recovery, following two years of COVID and the removal of all health regulations, it is ‘key' that the country changes its visa policy.

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Row Of Vietnamese Flags, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Vietnam is one of the last remaining communist states, and much like Russia or Cuba, it has not entirely overcome its Cold War-era divides and bureaucracy.

Very few foreigners can enter Vietnam visa-free, though when they are eligible, they cannot remain in the national territory for longer than 15 days.

That is the case with certain European nationals and a handful of other Asian travelers, but not Americans, Canadians, and most Westerners: prior to boarding their flight to Vietnam, they must apply for an e-Visa in advance, which is an entry permit issued online.

A Woman Holding Up A Passport As She Types On Her Computer

Costing USD$25.00 to apply, it makes Vietnam one of five hugely popular countries that require Americans to pay an entry fee.

The visa application process is pretty straightforward, with the submission of the online form and payment of the visa fee generally not taking longer than 10 minutes.

The only major downside?

The e-Visas are limited to 30 days of usage, and renewing them from inside Vietnam or taking a day trip to a neighboring country such as Laos or Cambodia in order to reapply to enter can be a grueling experience, to say the very least.

View Of The East Gate Hien Nhon In Hue, An Imperial City In Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia

This is extremely frustrating for some visitors, taking into account the sheer size of Vietnam and its endless supply of world wonders.

With one month, you are barely able to scratch the surface, and many are forced to leave on the agreed date without having ticked off all the items on their bucket list.

Fortunately, this will be changing soon, potentially as soon as May.

New Visa Rules Could Be Unveiled As Soon As May

The Vietnamese Government announced this week that, as part of a plan to boost tourism, they would propose to the National Assembly, one of the leading legislative bodies in Vietnam, that the e-Visa duration is prolonged from 30 days to a maximum of three months.

The meeting will be held in May.

Young Woman Walking The Golden Bridge, A Famous Bridge Supported By Two Giant Hands Close To Da Nang, In Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia

According to the Government Office, the revamped e-Visa will be valid for single or multiple entries, unlike the existing one, which often comes in the single-entry form and cannot be reutilized for further visits.

Nationals of 80 countries are currently eligible for an e-Visa traveling to Vietnam, including Americans, Australians, and Brits.

The Government has also suggested that issuance of e-Visas should be universal: in other words, all countries could soon be included in their e-Visa program, eliminating the need for pre-issued, Consulate-approved physical visas, a bureaucratic process that had been keeping tourists from developing countries from visiting.

Boats with colorful lights floating alongside a promenade in Hoi An, Vietnam

Countries that have signed a visa-waver agreement with Vietnam, such as select European countries, Japan, and South Korea, could see the 15-day e-Visa exemption extended to 30, though this policy, in particular, does not apply to the United States or Canada.

Regardless, increasing the e-Visa limit to three months is great news for travelers hoping to explore Vietnam at a much slower pace.

Slow travel and the digital nomad lifestyle are powerful travel trends in the post-pandemic scene, after all, and they require far more lax visa rules than those Vietnam imposes currently.

When Will The New e-Visa Be Released?

Aerial view of Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The three-month e-Visas will likely begin being issued once the Government gets approval from the National Assembly in May and the new policy is written into law.

No official date has been set yet, though Vietnamese lawmakers are being encouraged to act fast:

Despite the fact that it was one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to drop border curbs, Vietnam is still lagging behind Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and other Asian powers in tourism numbers, having hosted a moderate 3.6 million foreigners in 2022, or 20% of pre-pandemic levels.

Asian-woman-wearing-Vietnam-culture-traditional-in-Rice-terrace-at-Mu-cang-chai-Vietnam

For 2023, they expect to welcome 8 million tourists, and the e-Visa relaxation is one of many measures aimed at achieving that goal.

Until the new e-Visa is released, which will happen at a later date, American and Canadian passport holders will still be allowed only 30 days in Vietnam.

Applications can be made here, and they are advised to apply at least a couple of weeks in advance, as visa processing can take up to five days.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.