Vietnam Visa Free Travel for Some European Countries

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In this article, we take you through details on travelling to Vietnam where citizens of Belarus, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom now enjoy visa free travel since 1 July 2015.

Background

Citizens of Belarus, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom are now be able to travel to Vietnam for up to 15 days without applying for a visa in proposals signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. The scheme began on 1 July 2015 and will end on 30 June 2016, after which time it will be reviewed by the Vietnamese government.

It is hoped that extending short term Vietnam visa free travel to countries within Europe will encourage tourism.

Those citizens wishing to travel to Vietnam for over 15 days will need to apply for a visa in advance of their planned travel. A visa will also apply for those seeking multiple entry.

Up until 1 July 2015, citizens of Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia and Finland enjoyed visa free travel for up to 15 days with Brunei and Myanmar enjoying visa free travel for up to 14 days only.

Updated List of Vietnam Visa Exemption

United Kingdom – 15 Days
France – 15 Days
Italy – 15 Days
Spain – 15 Days
Germany – 15 Days
Belarus – 15 Days
Japan – 15 Days
South Korea – 15 Days
Sweden – 15 Days
Norway – 15 Days
Denmark – 15 Days
Russia – 15 Days
Finland – 15 Days
Cambodia – 30 Days
Thailand – 30 Days
Malaysia – 30 Days
Singapore – 30 Days
Indonesia – 30 Days
Laos – 30 Days
Philippines – 21 Days
Brunei – 14 Days
Myanmar – 14 Days

What will citizens need to do if they are travelling to Vietnam for over 15 days?

Citizens travelling to Vietnam for over 15 days, including those from Belarus, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom will need to apply for a visa.

Citizens will need to provide:

• A current original passport with a least 6 months validity and with one black page
• Evidence of sufficient funds
• Return travel of airline tickets
• Proof of accommodation and onward journey

Citizens of Belarus, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom as well as those listed above that wish to enter Vietnam visa free will need to wait for 30 days from the departure of their last travel to Vietnam before they can re-enter Vietnam under this scheme.

Will visas on arrival still be available?

A visa on arrival is still available for non-Vietnamese citizens. Those intending to travel must first apply for the visa online. Within 24-48 hours of submission of the online application, the Vietnamese immigration authorities will issue a letter, via email, to the applicant to advise that they may collect their visa from one of the international airports in Vietnam. That is:

• Tan Son Nhat airport (Ho Chi Minh or Saigon city)
• Noi Bai airport (Ha Noi city)
• Da Nang airport (Da Nang city)
• Cam Ranh airport (Nha Trang city)

The letter will need to be printed and kept in hand luggage for inspection before collecting the visa on arrival to Vietnam.

What constitutes business travel?

Citizens travelling to Vietnam may travel for tourism purposes or undertake permitted business activities. Such activities include:

• Attending business meetings
• Attending conferences
• Negotiating contracts and terms and conditions

However, what constitutes business activities in one country may not be the same for other countries. DavidsonMorris can advise on whether a work permit is appropriate.

What are citizens not permitted to do?

Citizens of the 5 European countries in addition to those listed above will be forbidden from undertaking paid activities or work during their time in Vietnam. Those intending to take up employment in Vietnam must apply for the appropriate work permit/ authorisation.

Can non-citizens living in Belarus, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom benefit from the scheme?

Overseas nationals legally residing in Belarus, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom but who are not citizens of those countries, and are listed above, will need to obtain a visa prior to their travel to Vietnam regardless of if their travel is for 15 days or less. Such residents will be unlikely to benefit from the visa waiver.

However, citizens of Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei and Myanmar can enter and exit Vietnam visa free multiple times for a specific amount of time.

Will visa free travel be extended to other countries?

The Vietnamese authorities are keen to encourage tourism to Vietnam and will review the scheme very closely. There is an expectation that the scheme will be rolled out to other countries in future.

For assistance with securing a visa or work permit to Vietnam, please contact our Global Visas Team on 020 7494 0118 or via email at info@davidsonmorris.com.

Author

Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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