Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh has reported to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly (NA) on negotiations on visa granting between the Vietnamese and U.S. governments.
According to the Vietnamese government, the U.S. government has asked the Vietnamese side to grant one-year validity, multiple-entry visas to American citizens, aligning with the U.S. visa policy for Vietnamese citizens.
The U.S. side has repeatedly raised the issue that Vietnam’s current visa policy has caused difficulties for U.S. citizens who seek to enter Vietnam, particular after Vietnam’s revised Immigration Law became effective on January 1, 2015.
According to some provisions, U.S. citizens will receive Vietnam visas that have a three-month validity, and a single entry, while Vietnamese citizens receive U.S. visas with multiple-entry, one year validity.
Sherry Boger, chairwoman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham), said in a document prepared for the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) on December 1 that the issue was raised in the mid-term VBF in June, but nothing has been done so far.
“If the Government of Vietnam does not align its process with the multiple entry 12-month temporary business/tourism visa provided by the U.S. to Vietnamese citizens, then in the near future, based on reciprocity, U.S. visas for Vietnamese citizens that are temporary visitors could be reduced to match the one entry, three-month visas currently provided to U.S. citizens,” she added.
The NA’s Standing Committee backed the government’s proposal on loosening the visa policy for U.S. citizens, but such a recommendation will have to be subjected to NA approval. The NA is scheduled to hold the next sitting in March after the 12th Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam.
Besides AmCham, other foreign business associations such as the Japan Business Association in Vietnam (JBAV) and the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) have raised the same visa issue.
In July, the ministry exempted visas for travelers from five European countries namely Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK. However, the waiver is valid for 15-day visas only.