Guidelines were introduced by Decree 07/2017/ND-CP to begin implementation on February 1, 2017, of a new 30-day e-visa pilot program for business and tourist travel to Vietnam. Although not fully implemented and explained by regulation at this time, the Vietnam government’s online portal was recently opened and has begun accepting applications. The e-visa application process is similar to the online Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) visa applications for travel by certain nationals to Australia or Canada. Foreign nationals from 40 countries will be able to apply online and obtain a Vietnamese visa without having to apply through a consulate as was required in the past. The e-visas should be valid for a single entry up to 30 days, and it will be possible to extend the e-visa post-arrival to Vietnam for an additional 30 days.
Additional official guidance will be necessary to clarify the extent of permitted activities on the e-visa. The stated goal of this pilot program is to make entry to Vietnam easier and less costly in an effort to increase tourism and business. However, the application provides a field for the applicant to indicate several different purposes, including “study” and “employment”. Despite the options provided on the online application, it is unclear at this time whether the e-visa is appropriate for, or may be converted post-arrival for, business activities, short-term work, or any activities other than tourism and business.
Foster will continue to monitor changes to Vietnamese immigration laws impacting work assignments of foreign nationals and will make information about further developments available in future Immigration Updates© and on our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.