According to a Ministry of Finance circular, effective November 23, the fee for the single-entry visa will be cut to $25 from the current $45 while the fee for the multiple-entry visa with validity of less than three months will be slashed to $50 from $95.
The cost for the multi-entry visa with validity between three and six months, and that between six months and a year was kept unchanged at $95 and $135, respectively. Meanwhile, the fee for a visa with validity of between one and two years will be raised to $145 from $100, and from two to five years, $155.
The visa fee adjustments aim to spur tourism, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper cited a finance ministry official as saying.
Local travel operators have welcomed the reductions in visa fees, saying the change is more convenient for international tourists who travel to Laos and Cambodia after touring Vietnam, but return home via Vietnam, which is now connected to more international flights than the other two countries.
“This is positive news for the local tourism industry. This opener policy will help us attract more customers,” Nguyen Thi Khanh, vice president of the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Association, told the Saigon Times newspaper.
Large tourist groups, especially MICE travelers, have complained of Vietnam’s high visa fees, which coupled with over visa procedures have pushed up tour prices.
Vietnam currently applies a one-sided free-visa policy to eight countries, including Japan, South Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, and Belarus, according to the newspaper. In addition, Vietnam also waives visa for travelers from the other nine Southeast Asian countries.
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.
Vietnam welcomed 626,324 international visitors in September, up 8.3% from the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office. Foreign tourist arrivals totaled 5.7 million in the nine months through September, down 5.9% year-on-year.