The move marks an important first step in preparations to welcome international travelers back to the country later this year.
According to the online news portal VnExpress, a recent government resolution on the amended Law on Immigration has signaled that Vietnam will start issuing e-visas for tourists from 80 countries on July 1. As many as 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific region—such as Australia, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), India, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and New Zealand—are covered under the updated visa policy.
The same privilege will be extended to all 27 member states of the European Union, along with the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland. Although the Americas are now the latest global coronavirus hot spot, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina have been added to the list of eligible countries in anticipation of future demand. Travelers with e-visas will be allowed to enter Vietnam via eight airports (including those at Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Cam Ranh, and the island of Phu Quoc) as well as 29 land border gates and seaports.
However, authorities have yet to provide a timeframe for lifting the current ban on international flights, which was first imposed on March 25. And no foreign nationals have been permitted to enter Vietnam since March 22 except under special circumstances. At a meeting last Thursday, the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control discussed reopening borders to tourists from countries and territories where there have been no new coronavirus cases for at least 30 days. The committee is now considering a pilot plan to allow international travelers to visit certain islands with strict safety measures in place. A leading candidate for the scheme is the up-and-coming destination of Phu Quoc, which welcomed more than five million tourists last year, including more than 540,000 foreign visitors.