In the 90s, the Vietnam Government started establishing agreements of visa exemption with several neighboring countries. Since then, Vietnam has continued with many other nations around the world.
The visa exemption policy not only gives Vietnam the benefit of diplomacy but also boosts the economy of Vietnam through foreign investments. This article will provide you with up to date insights about Vietnam Visa Exemption.
What is Vietnam Visa Exemption?
Vietnam visa exemption, also known as the 5-year Vietnam visa exemption, allows you to enter Vietnam without a visa for a certain period of time. While the visa exemption period is still valid, you are not required to pay for the visa application fee.
All Vietnamese residing abroad, and foreigners who are spouses and children of Vietnamese overseas, or citizens of Vietnam are eligible for a Vietnam visa exemption.
When you enter Vietnam under visa exemption, you can stay for a specific period of time per entry. However, your temporary duration can be extended.
- If you enter Vietnam under visa exemption, you are allowed to stay for a maximum of 180 days (6 months) per visit.
- If you wish to stay longer than 180 days, you can extend the duration of stay in Vietnam for a maximum period of another 180 days.
Conditions for Vietnam Visa Exemption
To be eligible for Vietnam Visa Exemption, you are required to:
- Hold a passport or equivalent travel document that is valid for at least 1 year up to the date of entry into Vietnam.
- Have documents proving you are a Vietnamese residing abroad, or a spouse or a child of Vietnamese overseas, or Vietnamese citizens.
- Not fall into one of the specified cases in Article 21 or Article 28 of the Law on entry, exit, transits residence of foreigners in Vietnam.
Which foreign citizens can enter Vietnam without a visa?
Currently, the Vietnam Government has agreed to let citizens from 88 countries be exempted from visas when entering Vietnam. However, not all passport holders from those countries are exempted from the Vietnam visa. The exemption will be based on the type of passport.
For example, if you are from India, you must hold an Indian diplomatic/official passport to be exempted from Vietnam Visas. As for regular passport holders, Vietnam has only made the visa exemption agreement with 24 countries. For more details, check out this list.
To be eligible for the Vietnam visa exemption, you are required to apply for a Certificate of Vietnam Visa Exemption. There are two cases of Vietnam Visa Exemption Certificate:
- People who are not required to have a certificate of Vietnam Visa Exemption.
- People who need one to enter Vietnam under visa exemption.
If your nationality is listed in the 88 countries that are exempted from a Vietnam visa, and you hold a diplomatic passport, then you will fall into the first case.
In case of being required to own a Vietnam Visa Exemption certificate, you have to either be:
- A Vietnamese residing abroad.
- A wife/husband/daughter/son of a Vietnamese residing abroad, or a Vietnamese citizen.
What cases cannot enter Vietnam on visa exemption?
According to Article 21 of the Law on Immigration and Residence of foreigners in Vietnam, to enter Vietnam under visa exemption, you must not fall into one of the following cases of being banned or suspended from entering Vietnam:
- Not meeting the regulations of Article 20, Section 1 of the Law on Immigration and Residence of foreigners in Vietnam.
- Children under 14 years old entering Vietnam without parents or legal guardians.
- Forging documents, and giving misleading information when applying for visas.
- Persons suffering from mental illnesses or infectious diseases that endanger public health.
- Expelled from Vietnam less than 3 years since the effective date of the expulsion decision made by Vietnam authorities.
- Forced to exit Vietnam less than 6 months since the effective date of the decision.
- Due to the prevention and control of a pandemic.
- Due to natural disaster reasons.
- Due to national defense, social security, and special safety reasons.
What is the maximum validity period of the Vietnam Visa Exemption Certificate?
As stated in Article 4 of the Law on Immigration and Residence of foreigners in Vietnam, the maximum validity period of the Vietnam Visa Exemption Certificate is 5 years.
However, the Vietnam Visa Exemption Certificate is valid for 6 months less than the expiration date of your passport/travel document, if your passport/travel document’s validity is less than 5 years by the submission time for Vietnam visa exemption. Having said that, you can still apply for a 5-year Vietnam Visa Exemption Certificate but only for special prescribed cases.
What are the official forms of the Vietnam Visa Exemption certificate?
The Vietnam Government has officially issued 2 forms of the visa exemption certificate:
1) The stamped certificate which is sticked on the holder’s passport. This visa exemption form is granted to Vietnamese overseas and foreigners entering Vietnam.
2) The separate certificate in booklet form about the size of a passport. This visa exemption form is granted to Vietnamese overseas with permanent residence issued by the foreign country of residence, and citizens from nations that don’t establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam.
What are the required documents to apply for a Vietnam Visa Exemption Certificate?
In order to apply for a Vietnam visa exemption, you have to go to one of the Vietnam Embassies to apply for one or send the required documents to the Vietnam Immigration Department in Vietnam. You need to prepare one set of the following documents:
To Vietnamese that is living overseas:
- Your valid passport or equivalent travel paper or residence permit issued by the authorities of your country of residence.
- A Vietnam Visa Exemption application form.
- Two 2×2 inches or 4×6 cm photos taken recently.
- Documents issued by the Vietnam Government proving that you are eligible for a Vietnam Visa Exemption Certificate. (Article 6 of the Law on Immigration and Residence of foreigners in Vietnam).
- One certified copy or original version of one of these following papers:
- Birth certification
- Proof of abandonment of Vietnamese citizenship
- Certificate of loss Vietnamese citizenship
- Proof of Vietnamese origin or valid documents proving your previous Vietnamese nationality
To the spouse or child of a Vietnamese who is living overseas or a citizen of Vietnam:
- Your valid passport or equivalent travel paper.
- A Vietnam Visa Exemption application form.
- Two 2×2 inches (or 4×6 cm) photos taken recently.
- Documents proving you are a foreign spouse or child of Vietnamese overseas or Vietnamese citizens.
How to extend the temporary for foreign citizens who have the Vietnam Visa Exemption Certificate?
If you are eligible for the Vietnam visa exemption but fall into one of the cases that need a Vietnam Visa Exemption certificate, the temporary duration is stated on the certificate. The duration can be extended for 6 more months. To extend the temporary duration, you must prepare a set of the following required documents:
- A valid passport or equivalent document.
- A temporary residence extension application form.
- The Vietnam Visa Exemption Certificate.
If you have any concern regarding the extension procedures, you can contact directly to the Vietnam Immigration Department to ask for guidance:
- Headquarter of The Vietnam Immigration Department in Hanoi:
- 02438260922 (For overseas Vietnamese).
- 02438264026 (For other foreigners).
- Representative office of The Vietnam Immigration Department in Ho Chi Minh City
- 0839201701 (For overseas Vietnamese).
- 039200365 (For other foreigners).
What are the required documents to apply for the Vietnam Visa Exemption Renewal?
If your Vietnam Visa Exemption Certificate is lost, ruined, expired, or required adjustment, you can apply for a Vietnam Visa Exemption Renewal.
In case of renewing the certificate at the same place where you first applied (the same Vietnam Embassy or Vietnam Immigration Department), you just need to fill in an application form. There is no need to submit any other documents because your information has been stored from last time.
For renewing at a different embassy or a different Vietnam Immigration Department in Vietnam, you must prepare a new set of documents according to Article 9, Section 2 of the Law on Immigration and Residence of foreigners in Vietnam. Make sure to prepare the following documents:
- A valid passport or equivalent traveling papers.
- An application form for renewing the visa exemption certificate plus two 2×2 inches (4×6 cm) photos.
- The visa exemption certificate or a legal paper to prove that you have lost the certificate.
- If you want to change some information on the visa exemption certificate, you must have a certified copy of legal papers in which stated the changing information (you can bring along the original legal papers).
Automatic extension of temporary residence in Vietnam under visa exemption during the COVID-19 pandemic
In 2020, during the first outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnam Government has limited foreigners entering Vietnam. Those who had entered Vietnam before and on March 1st, 2020 were automatically allowed to continue to stay in Vietnam until June 30th, 2020. During this time, the temporary duration was “automatically extended”, and foreigners only had to report their stay and medical condition.
There hasn’t been any announcement about extending the duration of temporary residence in Vietnam during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. As long as there are updates, we will inform you immediately. Visit Visa2Asia to not miss a thing.
What to know more about Vietnam Visa Exemption?
- Holders of British National Oversea (BNO) passports are not exempted from any Vietnam visa. In this case, you must obtain a valid visa to enter Vietnam.
- If you own a valid foreign passport, you can enter Phu Quoc island under visa exemption for a maximum of 30 days. This is also applicable to the case where you have to transit through other international airports in Vietnam before entering Phu Quoc island.
- If you are from the 13 countries that only have the unilateral visa exemption agreement with Vietnam, you are exempted from visa requirements upon entry into Vietnam for a duration of stay not exceeding 15 days per entry.
- If you hold an ABTC (APEC Business Travel Card), you are allowed to stay in Vietnam without a valid visa for a maximum duration of 90 days per entry.
What to do if you aren’t exempted from Vietnam Visas?
Not qualified for the Vietnam visa exemption? Visa2Asia is here to help you get a Vietnam visa easily and quickly in accordance with your traveling purpose. We also offer visa on arrival (VOA) services so that you can get your visa at the arrival airport. Contact us and apply now!