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VIETNAM – Entry Visas Waived for Five European Countries

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The Vietnamese government has passed a law, effective 1 July 2015, waiving entry visa requirements for nationals of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

How Does the Waiver Work?

  • The new visa waiver will allow entry and stay in Vietnam of up to 15 days, with no pre-approval;
  • The interval between the last exit date from Vietnam and the new entry date must be 30 days or more;
  • The interval between the last exit date from Vietnam and the new entry date must be 30 days or more; Foreigners who enter Vietnam on a visa waiver must have a passport that is valid for 6 months, cannot extend their stay and ?must exit the country after 15 days;
  • The law is set to expire on 30 June 2016, at which time the government will ?consider extending it.

What is the Impact for Business Travellers?

This law has been primarily implemented to increase tourism to Vietnam and is not intended to relax business visa or foreign labour laws.

Article 2 of the law states that the waiver applies for all kinds of passports and all purposes. As it is written, there is no distinction in the law between tourist and business purposes. However, it is recommended that the visa waiver be sparingly used for short term, business meetings only and not for hands-on work. The law itself is lacking details at this point and it is unclear in practice what is allowable under a waiver or how various local authorities will interpret this law beyond tourism.

Action Items

  • Qualifying nationals should consider using the visa waiver for business trips, but should check with a Vietnamese consulate in their home country to determine whether the visa waiver is appropriate in their situation;
  • Qualifying nationals intending to secure a work permit will still need to enter the country on a business visa sponsored by the Vietnam entity and obtained at an overseas Vietnamese consulate. This will allow them to convert later to long-term temporary residence cards. Visa waivers cannot be converted.