The National Assembly of Vietnam on Monday voted for amendments to the immigration law, for the first time allowing visitors to change their visa status and prolong their stays in Vietnam without having to fly out of the country.
The amendment was approved by an overwhelming 83.6 percent for the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners.
The law will come into effect on July 1 next year, allowing visitors to apply to change their visas under a number of circumstances.
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Visitors who can prove they are investors or representatives of foreign organizations that make legal investments in Vietnam will be allowed to have their purpose of visit switched during their stay in the country. Family members of invitees will also enjoy the same advantage.
Foreign workers who receive job offers in Vietnam or enter the country on e-visas will be able to change their visa status as long as they have a work permit or confirmation they are exempt from a work permit.
These amendments mark a huge change in policy, as foreign guests currently have to fly out of the country if they want to renew their visas.
Chairman of the National Assembly Committee on National Defense and Security, Vo Trọng Viet said the amendments would make it easier for foreigners to stay in Vietnam to learn about the market, and look for jobs and investment opportunities without wasting time and money on immigration procedures.
“The regulation is open but also strict about monitoring foreigners living in Vietnam. Not all tourists that visit Vietnam can apply for a change of purpose given the particular conditions (for a visa switch),” he told the National Assembly.