The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee decided on October 16 to extend the pilot e-visa programme for foreign visitors to Vietnam by another two years.
On November 22, 2016, the NA issued Resolution No.30/2016/QH14 on the pilot programme, which was scheduled to last until February 1, 2019.
According to a report at the 28th sitting of the NA Standing Committee, between February 2017 and August 31, 2018, Vietnam approved 298,113 e-visas for foreigners, of which 298,507 were self-submitted and 8,606 done by sponsoring organisations. As of August 31, there had been 241,875 e-visa holders entering Vietnam.
Presenting the Government’s report on the implementation of the pilot programme, Deputy Minister of Public Security Le Quy Vuong said the outcomes showed that the policy has contributed to attracting foreigners to Vietnam for tourism and investment, forming a driving force behind the tourism sector.
Many diplomatic agencies of foreign countries in Vietnam applauded the policy, saying it facilitates the nation’s external diplomacy amid global integration, Vuong added.
He proposed that the pilot scheme should be continued to provide the basis for a more complete assessment of the policy’s impacts on local socio-economy, defence, security, and foreign diplomacy.
The official pointed to some existing shortcomings, which include the low number of e-visa holders entering Vietnam due to ineffective work on popularising the policy, and the high number of countries yet to be subject to the policy.
According to Vuong, the extension of the pilot plan will help complete regulations on e-visa issuance when amending the law on the entry, exit, transit, and residence of foreigners in Vietnam.
At the session, the NA’s Defence and Security Committee requested that the Government direct the Ministry of Public Security and relevant agencies to review and assess the implementation of the law on the entry, exit, transit, and residence of foreigners in Vietnam, with a view to adding the law to the NA’s law building programme for 2019.
Concluding the function, NA Vice Chairman Do Ba Ty announced a decision on the two-year extension of the pilot programme, saying that during this period, the Government is required to prepare amendments to the immigration law for submission to the NA.