Vietnam gov’t asks to cut visa fee to US$5 despite new visa rule
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked relevant state agencies to reduce the fees for offering visa to foreign tourists entering Vietnam by sea from US$45 per visa under the new rule to US$5, according to a document recently issued by the Office of Government.
The document, sent to relevant state agencies on Saturday, informed the conclusion of the Prime Minister on removing some of the difficulties and problems arisen in applying new rule in receiving foreign tourists to Vietnam .
Specifically, according to the document, the Prime Minister asked the Ministry of Public Security to work with the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and other relevant authorities to create the most favorable conditions for foreign tourists to Vietnam by sea.
The aforementioned state agencies should ensure diplomatic security, avoid congestion and difficulties at transfer points, and ensure simplification of procedures in receiving foreign tourists to Vietnam, according to the document.
For visa fees, the Prime Minister asked the Ministry of Finance to coordinate with the concerned state agencies to urgently amend the provisions of the visa fees.
However, while no amendments has been made, the visa fees for tourists entering Vietnam by sea will be collected at the rate of $5 per person, equivalent to the fee for a sightseeing permit, which is applied in accordance with the rates defined in a circular issued by Ministry of Finance in March 2009.
In addition, the Prime Minister also asked the concerned ministries and agencies to urgently complete and submit the documents detailing and guiding the implementation of the new law on immigration, emigration, transit, and residence of foreigners in Vietnam in the first quarter of this year.
Tuoi Tre reported the news on the rise in visa fees and the complex in the new visa process under the new immigration procedure, which requires as many as seven stamps, instead of one as before, to be fixed on their passports and visa form on January 7, 2015.
One day later, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam joined a meeting with relevant agencies to promptly find solutions for the problem to submit to the Prime Minister for conclusions.
Talking to Tuoi Tre, local tour operators said it was very good news, especially the Prime Minister’s requirement on the simplification of procedures to create the most favorable conditions for international tourists to Vietnam.
Le Dinh Tuan, director of the Ho Chi Minh City branch of Tan Hong Tourism Co, said in addition to the visa fee reduction which will encourage tourists to travel by sea, simple procedures, facilitating favorable conditions for foreign visitors, will be a good motivation for local tourism businesses.
The Vietnamese government on December 29, 2014 issued a resolution on waiving visas applied to citizens from Russia, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Tourists from those countries whose temporary stay in Vietnam does not exceed 15 days are eligible for the visa waiver irrespective of the kind of passport they are holding and the purpose of their trip.
The waiver is applied to tourists from the said countries within five years, from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2019, before renewal is considered.